Hearing on Pending Nominations

Prepared Testimony of the Honorable Jay Johnson
United States Mint

2:00 p.m., Thursday, February 24, 2000

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Sarbanes and Members of the Committee. It is an honor to come before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs as the nominee to become the 36th Director of the U.S. Mint. I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to President Clinton and Treasury Secretary Summers for the nomination. I am grateful for this opportunity to continue my public service career following my service in Congress.

The year 2000 will be very important to the U.S. Mint, not just because of a new date on our coins. Thanks to the acts of recent Congresses, the Mint has, in addition to already adding six new state quarters, begun minting a new coin with a lot of fanfare, the new 'golden dollar.' I hope that I hope to add to the efforts of the Mint to not just produce and promote this coin, but also to make sure it is widely circulated and used.

Some other priorities I'd like to see at the Mint include: expanding the productive capacity; making use of new techniques for greater efficiencies; examining the use of trademarks for the U.S. Mint products; and limiting the amount of commemoratives coins as prescribed in recent laws.

For the first time in a long time, Americans are looking at the coins, the 'change' in their pockets, with a renewed interest. It's because of state designs we have already seen on the first six quarters representing Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Both schoolchildren and adults are learning some new historical facts about our country just from the change in their pockets. Interest in coin collecting…in United States coinage…in the histories of each of our states…has all increased, thanks to these quarters. Beyond the fact that our coinage is more interesting, the very fact that people are saving these quarters, means more dollars for the U.S. Treasury

This year, more Americans will pay new attention to their paper and metal money. Newly designed five and ten dollar bills will soon be appearing along with the promotional campaign for the Mint's 'golden dollar'. Under current projections, the Mint will be producing a billion 'golden dollars' in its first year of production. To meet this and expanding coin demands, I believe the Mint must have the latest, most efficient coin production facilities in the world. In asking your vote of support to run the Mint, I also ask for your input and guidance. With your help and that of all twenty-two hundred employees of the Mint, I am confident the United States Mint will continue to produce the most exciting 'change' we've ever seen.

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