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Mineta to quit as Transportation Secretary

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060623/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/mineta_resigns Mineta to quit as Transportation Secretary By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer 52
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 23, 2006
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      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060623/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/mineta_resigns

      Mineta to quit as Transportation Secretary

      By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer 52 minutes
      ago

      WASHINGTON - Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta,
      the only Democrat in President Bush's Cabinet, will
      step down next month.

      Mineta's resignation is effective July 7, White House
      press secretary Tony Snow said Friday.

      Mineta, 74, was plagued with back problems during his
      tenure as transportation secretary and spent months
      working from home and the hospital. But he has since
      recovered.

      Asked why Mineta resigned, Snow said: "Because he
      wanted to."

      "He was not being pushed out," he said. "As a matter
      of fact, the president and the vice president and
      others were happy with him. He put in five and half
      years — that's enough time."

      Mineta spokesman Robert Johnson said he is "moving on
      to pursue other challenges."

      Mineta's tenure included a major security buildup in
      response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by terrorist
      hijackers. Snow credited Mineta with establishing the
      Transportation Security Agency, cutting regulations
      and red tape to liberalize the commercial aviation
      market, helping shape the legislation that finances
      the nation's highways, and injecting "sound economic
      principles" into the nation's passenger rail system.

      Snow paid tribute to Mineta's long history in public
      life: his service in the Army, his elections to local
      positions in California, his 20 years representing
      California in the U.S. House, and his tours in two
      Cabinet positions, as Commerce secretary under former
      President Clinton and now under Bush.

      Mineta is one of only three people who have served in
      Bush's Cabinet from the beginning of his presidency.
      The others are Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld
      and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.

      There had been speculation for years that Mineta was
      on the verge of resigning, partly because of his
      health and partly because of Cabinet shake-ups.

      One of Mineta's main achievements was the passage of a
      six-year, $286.4 billion highway spending plan in
      July, after nearly two years of wrangling. The plan
      has since been criticized for containing too many
      "earmarks," special projects sought by lawmakers.

      The son of Japanese immigrants, Mineta's career has
      been a series of firsts for Asian-Americans: first to
      serve as a Cabinet secretary when Clinton appointed
      him to the Commerce Department in 2000; first to serve
      as mayor of a major city — his native San Jose,
      Calif., where the airport bears his name; and first to
      chair a congressional committee, the House
      Transportation Committee.

      After the Sept. 11 attacks, Mineta oversaw the
      creation of the new agency to improve transportation
      security. The TSA put thousands of air marshals on
      commercial flights, installed high-tech equipment to
      check baggage at airports and hired tens of thousands
      of workers to screen air travelers and their baggage.

      The TSA became part of the Homeland Security
      Department in March 2003.

      One of Mineta's signature accomplishments during 20
      years in the House was passage of the Civil Liberties
      Act of 1988, through which the United States
      apologized for sending Mineta and 120,000 other
      Japanese-Americans to internment camps and paid
      reparations of $20,000 to each survivor.

      Mineta was 10 when he was herded to a camp in Wyoming
      with his family after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in
      December 1941.
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