In 2000, President Bill Clinton appointed Norman Mineta as commence secretary, making him the first Asian American to serve in the Cabinet. (Courtesy Mineta Family Archives)

Former President Bill Clinton issued the following statement on May 3:

“Hillary and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Norm Mineta, an extratordinary public servant, American patriot, and good and honorable man.

“After spending part of his childhood in an internment camp, Norm spent a lifetime in public service working to make positive change and to ensure that our government would not wrong future generations as it had wronged his family.

“From his time as councilman and mayor of San Jose, to his two decades in Congress, to his two Cabinet posts under presidents of different parties, Norm made our union more perfect. He was a staunch defender of civil liberties and civil rigths, an important voice for science and technology, and a champion of infrastructure and public transit.

“I will always be proud to have nominated him as secretary of commerce, making him the first Asian American Cabinet member in our nation’s history. I’m grateful for his fine service and his friendship, and glad President George W. Bush kept him on, giving him the chance to again make history as America’s longest-serving transportation secretary.

“Norm’s legacy will endure through all the people whose lives he touched and inspired with his service. Hillary and I send our thoughts and prayers to Deni, his children and grandchildren, and all the people who loved him.”

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