Two former members of Congress have had an enduring friendship. Republican Alan Simpson and Democrat Norm Mineta a Democrat and a Republican, established their across-the-aisle friendship many years ago when one boy—Norman Mineta—was incarcerated in Wyoming with his family in an internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II. The other boy, Alan Simpson, was part of a Wyoming Boy Scout troop that visited the camp to have a jamboree with the scouts who were imprisoned there. Norm Mineta and Alan Simpson were paired up for that one day in the camp.
The internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration in concentration camps in the western interior of the country of between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, most of whom lived on the Pacific coast. Sixty-two percent of the internees were United States citizens.
Many years later, when both men entered into the political arena, they met again; after they both were elected to Congress, they worked together to help pass the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. The act served as the United States government’s formal apology to the Japanese-Americans who were imprisoned during the war and paid them financial reparations. Mineta and Simpson’s friendship is featured in the upcoming PBS special Norman Mineta and His Legacy: An American Story, which airs on Monday, May 20th. In The Atlantic interview by Julie Beck, Mr. Simpson and Mr. Mineta discuss the atrocity that brought Mineta’s family to Wyoming, their Boy Scout antics, and why they think friendships across political parties are more difficult than they used to be.
Read the article in The Atlantic here:
JULIE BECK, a senior editor at The Atlantic, covers family and education.
Alan Simpson served in the U.S. Senate (R-Wyoming) from January 1979 to 1997, where he was the Assistant Republican Leader, 1984-1994; Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Refugee Policy of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 1980-1984; Nuclear Regulation Subcommittee of Environmental and Public Works, 1980-1984; Chairman of the Subcommittee on Social Security and member of the Committee on Aging; Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, 1980-1984. From 1994-1996, he was a member of the Finance Committee; 1965-1977, Wyoming State Legislature, 1965-1978, Assistant Majority Leader, Majority Leader, and Speaker Pro Tem.
Mr. Simpson served as Assistant Attorney General for the State of Wyoming in 1959, and was City Attorney of Cody, Wyoming, from 1959-1969. Partner: Simpson & Simpson (with father Milward L. Simpson who also served as Governor and U.S. Senator for Wyoming); Simpson Kepler & Simpson, 1960-1978. Additionally, Mr. Simpson served in the U.S. Army, 1st Lieutenant, 2nd Armored Division “Hell on the Wheels” and the 5th Division, U.S. Armed Forces, Germany.
Alan Simpson is currently with the Washington Speakers Bureau in Washington, D.C. He is a very popular speaker and travels the country and abroad to speak to a wide variety of groups and associations regarding current affairs and politics in remarks entitled “Politics is a Contact Sport”.