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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