Secretary Norman Mineta, who has run the U.S. Department of Transportation
from a hospital bed for most of the last six weeks, will undergo
major back surgery next week to relieve chronic pain, The Associated
The Jan. 24
surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center will last up to 18 hours.
Mineta will be in intensive care for up to a week and is not expected
to leave the hospital until at least mid-February.
Michael Jackson and senior staff members will run the department
while Mineta recovers, agency spokesman Leonardo Alcivar told AP.
problems lead to speculation he might leave President Bush's Cabinet.
However, Mineta told department officials he didn’t plan to quit.
“I'll be back,'' Mineta said, impersonating Arnold Schwarzenegger's
is the only Democrat in the Cabinet. The former 10-term House member
from San Jose, CA, became the first Asian-American Cabinet secretary
in 2000, when then-President Clinton tapped him to head the Commerce
had various health problems since joining the Cabinet. He spent
four days in the hospital in October 2001 because of a nosebleed
and resulting low blood pressure and had a hip replaced a year ago.