Norman Mineta, First Asian-American Cabinet Secretary, Dies

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Norman Mineta, who broke radical barriers for Asian Americans serving successful high-profile authorities posts and ordered commercialized flights grounded aft the 9/11 panic attacks arsenic the nation’s national proscription secretary, died Tuesday. He was 90.

John Flaherty, Mineta’s erstwhile main of staff, said Mineta died peacefully astatine his location surrounded by household successful Edgewater, Maryland.

“His origin of decease was a bosom ailment,” Flaherty added. “He was an bonzer nationalist servant and a precise beloved friend.”

Mineta broke radical barriers for Asian Americans successful becoming politician of San Jose, California. He besides was the archetypal Asian American to go a national Cabinet secretary, serving nether some Democratic President Bill Clinton and Republican George W. Bush.

Bush went connected to grant Mineta the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In a statement, the erstwhile president said Mineta was “a fantastic American communicative astir idiosyncratic who overcame hardship and prejudice to service successful the United States Army, Congress, and the Cabinet of 2 Presidents.”

“As my Secretary of Transportation, helium showed large enactment successful helping forestall further attacks connected and aft 9/11. As I said erstwhile presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Norm has fixed his state a beingness of service, and he’s fixed his chap citizens an illustration of leadership, devotion to duty, and idiosyncratic character,” the erstwhile president added.

The lad of Japanese immigrants who spent 2 years of his puerility astatine a World War II internment camp, Mineta began his governmental vocation starring his hometown of San Jose earlier joining the Clinton medication arsenic commerce caput and past crossing enactment lines to service successful Bush’s Cabinet.

As Bush’s proscription secretary, Mineta led the section during the situation of Sept. 11, 2001, arsenic hijacked commercialized airliners barreled toward U.S. landmarks. After a 2nd level crashed into the World Trade Center, Mineta ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to crushed each civilian craft — much than 4,500 successful formation astatine the time. It was the archetypal specified bid fixed successful the past of U .S. aviation.

It was Mineta who was subsequently charged with restoring assurance successful aerial question successful the aftermath of the panic attacks. He oversaw the hasty instauration of the Transportation Security Administration, which took implicit work for aviation information from the airlines.

Within a year, the TSA had hired tens of thousands of airdrome screeners, enactment aerial marshals connected commercialized flights and installed high-tech instrumentality to surface aerial travelers and their luggage for bombs.

The effort was derided astatine the clip for wasteful spending and causing agelong lines astatine airports. But Mineta, wide liked and respected successful Washington for his heavy cognition of proscription issues, managed to flight the brunt of that criticism.

In 2006, helium resigned astatine property 74 aft 5 and 1/2 years successful his post, making him the longest-serving proscription caput since the bureau was created successful 1967.

Born connected Nov. 12, 1931, Norman Yoshio Mineta was 10 and wearing his Cub Scouts azygous erstwhile helium and his parents were sent to the Heart Mountain internment campy successful Wyoming aft Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

He went connected to postgraduate from the University of California, Berkeley, with a bachelor’s grade successful concern medication and service arsenic an Army quality serviceman successful Korea and Japan. After 3 years with the military, helium returned to San Jose to tally his father’s Mineta Insurance Agency.

Mineta’s foray into authorities came successful 1967, erstwhile San Jose’s politician tapped him to capable a vacant spot connected the metropolis council. He won re-election and served 4 much years connected the assembly earlier winning the city’s apical spot successful 1971, making him the archetypal Asian-American politician of a large city, which present has an airdrome that bears his name.

Mineta was elected to Congress successful 1974 and served 10 presumption representing Silicon Valley. During his tenure, helium pushed for much backing for the FAA and co-authored a landmark instrumentality that gave authorities and section governments power implicit road and wide transit decisions.

The co-founder of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus besides scored a idiosyncratic triumph erstwhile helium helped triumph transition of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which required the U.S. authorities to apologize to the 120,000 Japanese Americans forced to unrecorded successful wartime internment camps. Former internees besides received reparations of $20,000 each.

In 1993, Mineta became president of the House Public Works and Transportation Committee — different archetypal — but helium rapidly mislaid the occupation aft Republicans won power of the House successful 1994.

Mineta resigned from Congress successful 1995 to articulation Lockheed Martin Corp. arsenic elder vice president of its proscription division, which built and operated physics toll postulation systems.

But Washington came calling again 5 years aboriginal erstwhile Clinton, successful the last months of his presidency, appointed him to regenerate William Daley arsenic commerce secretary.

Mineta past became the archetypal furniture caput to marque the power straight from a Democratic to Republican administration. He was the lone Democrat successful Bush’s cabinet.

As proscription secretary, Mineta successfully promoted backstage concern successful roads and bridges specified arsenic the Chicago Skyway and Indiana Toll Road and helped unafraid transition of a $286 cardinal road spending program aft astir 2 years of wrangling with Congress.

After overseeing the accelerated motorboat of the TSA, Mineta had his section downsized by astir two-thirds erstwhile the TSA and Coast Guard were moved to the Department of Homeland Security successful 2003 successful the biggest authorities reorganization successful astir six decades.

After retiring from nationalist service, helium joined the nationalist relations steadfast Hill & Knowlton arsenic vice president and settled with his wife, Danealia, successful Maryland adjacent the Cheasapeake Bay.

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