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Norman Y. Mineta
U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Retired
Secretary Norman Y. Mineta founded the Mineta Transportation Institute, which is part of the Lucas Graduate School of Business at San José State University in San José, Calif. He is an internationally recognized expert in transportation policy, with many distinguished accomplishments in transportation and business. Currently he is vice chair of Hill & Knowlton Global Communications Consultancy.
Secretary Mineta was the 14th U.S. Secretary of Transportation, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001-2006. During his tenure, Secretary Mineta was responsible for the US DOT’s $61.6 billion annual budget and nearly 60,000 employees.
On September 11, 2001, Secretary Mineta responded decisively to the terrorist attacks, halting air traffic in the U.S. and possibly preventing further casualties. He oversaw the Coast Guard response that included developing the Sea Marshal Program, maritime safety and security teams, and expanding the number and mission of Coast Guard port security units. He also guided the creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
He also was U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton, becoming the first Asian American to serve in the Cabinet. Before joining the Commerce Department, he was vice president for special business initiatives at Lockheed Martin Corporation.
From 1975-1995, he represented California’s Silicon Valley in the U.S. House of Representatives. He also co-founded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and served as its first chair. Secretary Mineta is a former Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Public Works and Transportation, serving for more than 20 years.
During his Congressional career, the Secretary championed investment increases for transportation infrastructure and was a key author of the landmark Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) of 1991. This shifted decisions on highway and mass transit planning to state and local governments, led to major upsurges in mass transit ridership, and provided environmentally friendly transportation elements such as pedestrian and bicycle paths. He also oversaw the airline industry’s deregulation in the 1980s and pressed for more funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
After leaving Congress, Secretary Mineta chaired the National Civil Aviation Review Commission, which issued recommendations to reduce traffic congestion and the aviation accident rate. The Clinton administration adopted many of the commission's recommendations.
A native of San José, Calif., Secretary Mineta and his family were among the 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry forced from their homes and into internment camps during World War II. After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, he joined the Army in 1953 as an intelligence officer in Japan and Korea. He joined his father in the Mineta Insurance Agency before entering politics as a member of the San Jose City Council from 1967-1971 and as mayor from 1971-1974, becoming the first Asian American mayor of a major U.S. city.
While in Congress, Secretary Mineta was the driving force behind the passage of H.R. 442, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which officially apologized for and redressed the injustices endured by Japanese Americans during WW II. In 1995, George Washington University awarded him the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Medal for his contributions to civil rights.
The Secretary and his wife Danealia have four sons, David and Stuart Mineta, and Robert and Mark Brantner.