Former Rep. Norman Mineta, D-Calif., who served in two presidential Cabinets, died at age 90 at his Edgewater, Maryland, home Tuesday.
The former Commerce and Transportation Secretary served with former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and was the first Japanese American to serve in the presidential Cabinet.
Mineta was interned during World War II as a Japanese American, according to The New York Times.
Mineta’s former chief of staff John Flaherty told the Times the cause of death was a heart illness.
“A remarkable leader and good friend, Norm Mineta was a mayor, a congressman and served in the Cabinets of both Democratic and Republican presidents,” Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., wrote in a statement Tuesday night. “His experience, expertise and his devotion to our country will be deeply missed.
“A first-generation Japanese American, Mineta was held in an internment camp as a child during World War II. He went on to become the first Asian American elected mayor of a major city, his hometown of San Jose, before serving 11 terms in Congress. He was a champion of civil rights and led efforts to obtain an official apology for Japanese Americans forced into internment camps, among other notable accomplishments.
“Mineta was well-respected on both sides of the aisle, leading to his appointment to the Cabinets of both Presidents Clinton and Bush. On Sept. 11, 2001, then-Transportation Secretary Mineta made the courageous decision to ground all flights during the chaos following the terrorist attack on our country. He would go on to oversee the creation of the TSA to guard against similar attacks.
“California and our country lost a true statesman today. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”
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