Asian-American Gets Cabinet Nod

cbs mineta commerce sec. norman mineta 000629
President Clinton has nominated former Democratic California congressman Norman Mineta to be Secretary of Commerce, reports CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller.

If confirmed by the Senate, Mineta would succeed William Daley, who is leaving to become full-time chairman of the Gore Presidential Campaign.

CBS News White House Correspondent Peter Maer points out that, if confirmed, Mineta would be the first Asian-American Cabinet Secretary. He left Congress in 1995 after 21 years, and Knoller reports the White House believes that will guarantee his confirmation.

Since 1995, Mineta has been a senior vice president at defense contractor Lockheed Martin.

Maer reports he's seen as someone who can help Al Gore and the Democrats in the fall.

Mineta is the son of an immigrant Japanese farmer who started an insurance business in San Jose. His family was among 120,000 Japanese-Americans interned during World War II.

He became chairman of the House Public Works and Transportation Committee in 1993 but lost the position after Republicans gained control of the House in 1994. His district, with an office in San Jose, included most of Silicon Valley.

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