05.03.22

Rep. Takano Statement on the Passing of Norman Mineta

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) released this statement on the passing of Norman Mineta.

“I first met Norm Mineta at a leadership development and candidate training conference in Los Angeles. He would be very supportive of my first and second runs for Congress in 1992 and 1994, respectively,” said Rep. Mark Takano.

“As chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he used the respect he commanded among his colleagues to help me garner support from such figures as Henry Waxman and Dianne Feinstein. 

“In 1994, his true character shone through, when he called me at the end of a very long day. Earlier that day, I was outed as gay on the front page, above-the-fold, of my hometown newspaper, which had amplified accusations by a right-wing state senator. “I have spoken to DCCC Chairman, Vic Fazio, who has assured me that it would not diminish its support. I remain steadfast behind you,” Norm said. Norm anticipated the fear I had about being abandoned.  

“In my third and ultimately successful run for the House of Representatives in 2012, Norm made sure that Senator Dan Inouye attended a Washington D.C. event before the election and conferred his support.  On January 3, 2013, I entered the House Chamber for the first time to take the oath of office. I felt a tap on my shoulder and behind me a voice said, “Mark, Norm Mineta.”

“Norm remained a friend and mentor all these years later. He had a profound impact on my life, and on the lives of so many others.

“He personally encouraged countless AAPIs to get involved with politics, generously giving of his time. He inspired so many Japanese Americans, especially Niseis, to understand how imperative political participation was to defend civil liberties for all Americans. He played a key role in the effort to pass HR 442 through the House, the Civil Liberties Act of 1987, which formally apologized to Japanese Americans interned during WWII, compensated them $20K each, and established an education fund to teach Americans about this chapter in history.

“An early supporter of LGBTQ equality, he used his moral stature to persuade the Japanese American Citizens League meeting in convention in 1994 to be the first non-LGBTQ civil rights organization to embrace same sex unions.

“As Transportation Secretary during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Norm not only gave orders to ground all commercial flights, but he is also credited by President George W. Bush for being a voice of restraint against any reprisals against Muslim Americans in cabinet level meetings.

“Norm channeled his own personal history into making America a better country. His public service career has left an important and enduring legacy on our nation.

“May he rest in peace.”

 

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