Campus: CSU Los Angeles -- May 7, 2004

U.S. Secretary of Transportation to Speak to Cal State L.A.'s Class of 2004 on Saturday, June 12

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta will address the Class of 2004 for the Undergraduate Commencement exercises at California State University, Los Angeles, on Saturday, June 12. The graduation ceremony will take place at 8:00 a.m. in the University Athletic Stadium, located at the southeast corner of the campus.

Norman Y. Mineta became the 14th U.S. Secretary of Transportation on January 25, 2001. As Secretary of Transportation, Mineta oversees an agency with 100,000 employees and a $58.7 billion budget. Created in 1967, the U.S. Department of Transportation brought under one umbrella air, maritime and surface transportation missions. The U.S. transportation system includes 3.9 million miles of public roads and 2 million miles of oil and natural gas pipelines. There are networks consisting of 120,000 miles of major railroads, more than 25,000 miles of commercially navigable waterways and more than 5,000 public-use airports.

Prior to joining President Bush’s administration as Secretary of Transportation, Mineta served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Clinton, becoming the first Asian Pacific American to serve in the cabinet. He is the first Secretary of Transportation to have previously served in a cabinet position. Prior to joining the Commerce Department, he was a vice president at Lockheed Martin Corporation.

From 1975 to 1995, he served as a member of U.S. House of Representatives, representing the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. He co-founded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and served as its first chair. Mineta served as chairman of the House Public Works and Transportation Committee between 1992 and 1994. He chaired the committee’s aviation subcommittee between 1981 and 1988, and chaired its Surface Transportation Subcommittee from 1989 to 1991. After leaving the Congress, Mineta chaired the National Civil Aviation Review Commission, which in 1997 issued recommendations on reducing traffic congestion and reducing the aviation accident rate.

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 UC Berkeley, Mineta joined the Army in 1953 and served as an intelligence officer in Japan and Korea. He joined his father in the Mineta Insurance Agency before entering politics in San Jose, serving as a member of its City Council from 1967 to 1971 and mayor from 1971 to 1974, becoming the first Asian Pacific American mayor of a major U.S. city.

While in Congress, Mineta was the driving force behind passage of H.R. 442, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which officially apologized for and redressed the injustices endured by Japanese Americans during the War. In 1995, George Washington University awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Medal to Mineta for his contributions to the field of civil rights.

Mineta is married to Danealia (Deni) Mineta. He has two sons, David and Stuart Mineta, and two stepsons, Robert and Mark Brantner.


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