Norman Y. Mineta and his family spent the years during World War II incarcerated at the Santa Anita Assembly Center and the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. He served the city of San Jose, California, from 1967 to 1974 as a city council member and as its mayor, and went on to represent California’s Thirteenth Congressional District in the US House of Representatives from 1974 to 1995. As a member of Congress, Mineta served as chairman of the US House Committee on Public Works and Transportation from 1992 to 1994 and chaired the subcommittees on aviation and surface transportation. In 2000, President Bill Clinton appointed Mineta as US Secretary of Commerce, making him the first Asian American to become a member of a presidential cabinet. In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed him as US Secretary of Transportation, where he served until 2006. The numerous awards he has received in recognition of his leadership include the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the highest civilian honor in the United States—and the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, awarded for significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States. His many civic roles include serving as the chairman of the board of trustees of the Japanese American National Museum.
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