Bush to present Mineta with Medal of Freedom
By Jason Bennert, Bay City News Service
SAN JOSE (BCN) - Norman Mineta, who began his career as
a San Jose city councilman and later served as mayor, congressman
and U.S. Secretarys of Commerce and Transportation, will receive
the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, this
Mineta served as mayor of San Jose from 1970-74 before being
elected to Congress representing San Jose and western Santa Clara
County. He remained in Congress until 1995. He worked in the private
sector in Washington D.C. until 2000 when President Bill Clinton
appointed him Secretary of Commerce.
Mineta became the only Democrat in President George W. Bush's
cabinet when Bush appointed him Secretary of Transportation in
Mineta played a crucial role in the federal government's response
to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 when he ordered the Federal
Aviation Administration to ground all civilian aircraft that morning
following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"We're lucky to be sharing a moment in time with a person
who will have a whole chapter in history,'' Mineta Transportation
Institute Executive Director Rod Diridon said.
The Mineta Transportation Institute was created by Congress in
1991 and is affiliated with San Jose State University.
During his years in Congress, Mineta had a profound impact on
public transportation in the South Bay, according to Diridon.
"We would not have our airport. We would not have a significant
portion of our transit programs without him,'' Diridon said.
In November 2001, the San Jose City Council voted to rename the
city's airport the Mineta San Jose International Airport in Mineta's
Bush will present Mineta, and nine others including blues legend
B.B. King, with the Medal of Freedom on Friday at a White House
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