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 Home > News & Policies > February 2001

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 8, 2001

Remarks by the President at Swearing-In Ceremony for Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta
The Oval Office

1:30 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon to you all. Thank you all for coming. Norm, welcome back to the White House. Usually at events like this, a new Secretary is joining the Cabinet. This time a new Cabinet is joining the Secretary.

I'm pleased that you're back. I'm glad that your wife is with us. I'm going to welcome your family members to the Oval Office. Thank you all for coming.

For 21 years, Norm Mineta represented the Silicon Valley in the United States Congress. He understands the great challenges taking place in the economic life of our country. He has an understanding of the transportation needs of America. He knows that America relies more than ever on the soundness of our roads and rails, bridges and runways. And as our economy grows, so must our capacity to move people and goods quickly and efficiently.

This means investment in new infrastructure, as well as overdue repairs of the old. Working with state and local governments, we will work to meet the demands of our growing economy.

Americans are especially concerned about our aviation system. The results of economic expansion are clearly visible at our crowded airports. We must continue to reform and modernize the Federal Aviation Administration, and our Secretary of Transportation brings the talents necessary to address the problems and, more importantly, find the solutions.

Our new Secretary will also work with states and localities in planning new roads and alternative transportation, such as bus and light rail systems. From Los Angeles to Austin, to right here in Washington, the trials of commuting increase every year. It's going to take some clear thinking and creativity to accommodate our nation's increased travel demands. And Norm Mineta is the right man for the job.

It's a high honor to serve the two Cabinets, as the Vice President said. Norm has earned this honor. His life is a story of determination and courage and service. As a child, he lived in an internment camp. As a young man, he wore his country's uniform in Korea and Japan. From there, he went on to become a mayor, a congressman, and a Cabinet Secretary.

I thank him for accepting my invitation to serve again, and I'm honored to have him by my side.

Mr. Secretary.

SECRETARY MINETA: Thank you very, very much, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President. I would like to thank you for paying me this very high honor of inviting me to serve in your administration as Secretary of the Department of Transportation.

I would also like to thank the members of the United States Senate for their unanimous support in voting to confirm me for this very important position.

Mr. President, from the very first days of this administration, you have been reaching out across party lines to find solutions to the problems facing this great nation. And as I said to you as you announced my nomination, I can think of no more fertile ground for bipartisan consensus-building than in the field of transportation policy.

And so I look forward to working as part of your administration's effort to help build that consensus, because it is clear that we must work together to find solutions to the transportation challenges facing our country today.

In my career as a member of the city council, and mayor of San Jose, California, and as a member of Congress, and as a business person, and as a Cabinet member, I have, time and time again, seen the power of transportation to improve the economic outlook for neighborhoods and communities, and to improve the quality of life for all Americans.

Our economy depends on the ability to quickly and efficiently move people and goods to places that they need to go. The public depends upon us. The international community depends on us, and on our partners in state and local governments, as well as the private sector, to ensure that people and products reach their destinations quickly and safely.

Now, the work of meeting those needs lies at the heart of the mission of the Department of Transportation. It is a mission about which I know you, Mr. President, and Mr. Vice President, and I care deeply. And so I look forward to this opportunity to work with you, Mr. President, in carrying out that mission, and honored by your trust in inviting me to be a part of your administration. And I thank you very, very much.

END 1:35 P.M. EST