SEATTLE, WA – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement on the passing of Norman Mineta, former Democratic Congressman and the first Asian American Cabinet member in history.
“Yesterday, we lost Norman Mineta, a dedicated public servant, and a trailblazer for Asian Americans. Arising from the dark chapter of Japanese American internment, Mineta went on to serve the United States in countless ways. After serving in the U.S. Army, Mineta began his tenure in California State politics, eventually earning a seat in Congress, where he represented his district for 20 years. While in Congress, Mineta co-founded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Mineta later became the first Asian American to hold a Cabinet position when he was appointed as the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Afterwards, he became the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, during which he led our nation with courage and decisiveness in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. A defining point of his career, Mineta pioneered efforts to establish the Transportation Security Administration, making our nation safer and more secure. Mineta’s career is a story of tireless public service, and our country is surely better off because of his many contributions. As we mourn this tremendous loss, we remember a man of integrity, drive, and compassion. My thoughts are with his family and friends as they grieve his passing.”