From: The Honorable Michael M. Honda
Sent By:
alice.lin@mail.house.gov

Date: 9/20/2016

Dear Colleague,

We invite you to become an original cosponsor on a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Secretary Norman Yoshio Mineta. Secretary Mineta has a long career dedicated to public service, civic engagement, and civil rights.

In 1942, Secretary Mineta and his family were among 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry incarcerated during WWII. Despite this unjust internment, he went on to serve his country in the United States Army and throughout a lifetime of public service—as
Councilmember and Mayor of San Jose, California, as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the start of “Silicon Valley,” and as Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Transportation in Democratic and Republican Presidential Cabinets, respectively.

In the House of Representatives, Secretary Mineta had a strong record of working in a bipartisan manner on issues ranging from civil rights to transportation policy. For example, he worked with former Senator Alan Simpson to obtain a formal apology and redress
to Americans of Japanese ancestry imprisoned during WWII. This bill was signed into law by President Reagan as the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.

In 2000, he became the first Asian American to serve in a Presidential Cabinet, serving as Secretary of Commerce under President William J. Clinton. Due to his record of bipartisanship, Secretary Mineta was confirmed by the U.S. Senate 100-0 to continue
in President George W. Bush’s Cabinet as Secretary of Transportation.

Secretary Mineta was at the helm of the Department of Transportation on the day of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In the aftermath of the attacks and through the end of his tenure as Secretary of Transportation, he ushered in critical reforms
to the nation’s transportation and security screening networks.

Please find the full list of accomplishments detailed in the bill below.

To join us in recognizing the accomplishments and lifetime of service of Secretary Mineta, please contact Alice Lin (alice.lin@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Honda’s office or Shelley Su (Shelley.Su@mail.house.gov)
in Rep. Royce’s office.

Sincerely,

 

 

Michael M. Honda                                                      Edward R. Royce

Member of Congress                                                  Member of Congress

 

  1. Norman Yoshio Mineta was born November 12, 1931 in San Jose, California to immigrant parents, Kunisaku and Kane Mineta, from Shizouka prefecture in Japan.
  2. In 1942, Mineta and his family were forcibly relocated to the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming. They were among 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, two-thirds of whom were natural-born United States citizens, sent to internment camps by the
    U.S. government during the Second World War.
  3. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, Mineta served as an intelligence officer for the United States Army in Korea and Japan from 1953 to 1956. Mineta then joined his father’s insurance business located in San Jose’s Japantown.
  4. In 1966, Mineta accepted an appointment to the San Jose Housing Authority, believing community involvement to be essential to civic life and the full integration of Japanese Americans into his hometown. He became a City Councilmember one year later.
  5. Mineta was elected Mayor of San Jose in 1971, becoming the first Asian American mayor of a major American city in the continental U.S. As Mayor, he worked to economically develop San Jose as “Silicon Valley” was forming, and also strengthened community
    relations by engaging racial and ethnic minorities through San Jose City departments and agencies, including the San Jose Police Department.
  6. From 1975 to 1995, Mineta served as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the heart of Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley.  He served on numerous committees, including the Budget, Intelligence, and Science committees.  He served
    longest on the House Public Works and Transportation Committee, now known as the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, including as Committee Chairman.
  7. In 1978, Mineta, along with Representative Frank Horton (R-NY), introduced a bipartisan joint resolution authorizing and requesting the President to proclaim the 7-day period beginning on May 4, 1979, as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week”.  May is the
    month when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in the United States in 1843, and also when Chinese laborers completed the transcontinental railroad in 1869.  The resolution became public law that year, and was later expanded to recognize the month of May
    as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
  8. In 1987, Mineta had the honor of signing the Civil Liberties Act which offered an official apology and redress for the grave injustices committed against Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II, on behalf of the House of Representatives when
    acting as Speaker Pro Tempore. In a culmination of a ten-year bipartisan effort, President Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law as Public Law 100-383 on August 10, 1988.
  9. Throughout his tenure in the House of Representatives, Mineta was a strong advocate for transportation laws which made air travel safer and aviation and transit systems more accessible to Americans with disabilities. He also authored the Intermodal Surface
    Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, which gave local, state, and regional governments greater control over the use of Federal dollars in their communities.
  10. Mineta co-founded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies in 1994, which today continue to promote the well-being and full participation of these communities in American civic life.
  11. In 2000, Mineta became the first Asian American to serve in a Presidential Cabinet as the Secretary of Commerce under President William J. Clinton.
  12. In 2001, Mineta continued his dedication to public service and bipartisanship by serving as Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush.
  13. Mineta was at the helm of the Department of Transportation on the day of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In the aftermath of the attacks and through the end of his tenure as Secretary of Transportation, he ushered in critical reforms to the nation’s
    transportation and security screening networks.
  14. In 2001, the San Jose City Council announced that the City’s airport was to be renamed the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport.
  15. Mineta received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, in 2006 from President George W. Bush, and the Grand Cordon, Order of the Rising Sun, from the Government of Japan, which is the highest honor bestowed upon
    an individual outside of Japan.
  16. Having personally experienced the wrongful indignity of internment as a child by his own government, Normal Yoshio Mineta has dedicated his life to public service, to his community, and to his country, and has done so with exemplary dignity and integrity.