Mineta, Norman Yoshio, 1931-, American government official, the first Asian American to be appointed to a cabinet post, b. San Jose, Calif. Of Japanese descent, he and his family were interned in a Wyoming "relocation camp" during World War II. A Democrat, Mineta was involved in local San Jose politics until his election (1974) to Congress. He chaired (1993-95) the Public Works and Transportation Committee and sponsored legislation (1988) to compensate to Japanese Americans interned during the war. He served until 1995, when he retired and became a business executive. In 2000, Mineta reentered government service as secretary of commerce, a post he held for six months (until the end of President Clinton's term). When George W. Bush became president (2001) he appointed Mineta secretary of transportation (2001-6).
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