Secretary Statements & Remarks

Remarks by Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen at the Denver Mint

As prepared for delivery

It’s a true pleasure to be here at the Denver Mint, and I’m excited to be able to spotlight this facility with the Second Gentleman.

I also want to thank Deputy Director Gibson, who has been such an effective leader of the Mint through a challenging time. 

Of course, it’s also great to be here with all of you, too. Ever since the first Mint facility opened up in 1792, it has been a critical part of our country’s economy. This facility began minting coins a little over a century later and has been a backbone of the Mint’s production ever since. 

The work each of you do is crucial. And despite the pandemic and the related currency shortage, you all have continued to show up – through your critical work here, you’ve helped keep our nation’s economy running.  

March, of course, is also Women’s History Month. And I was very grateful that the Mint honored this in a historic way by the placing of Maya Angelou on the quarter. 

What does it mean to have Maya Angelou on our currency? 

In the 232 years since the Treasury Department’s founding, we’ve chosen people to appear on our currency because their ideas have been central to how we think about running an economy. Many of these people – and they’ve almost exclusively been men – have made incredible contributions to this country – people like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson

Yet something has been missing from this body of ideas: The remarkable achievements of women leaders, scholars, poets, and entrepreneurs who we have not honored. In choosing Maya Angelou – and the other women featured through the American Women Quarters program – we are not only lifting up these incredible individuals, we are making a statement about how our society has progressed and about what we value.

Making this happen wasn’t easy. I know that the American Women Quarters are produced here in Denver and that behind each coin are so many difficult decisions. There are a lot of steps to turn a concept into reality – from the image selection, to the design, to the production, to the distribution. I’m grateful to each of you for being such effective partners in that work. Whether it is your work distributing coins, designing medals, producing bullion coins, or any of the other amazing things the Mint does, thank you for your efforts.

And I’m excited to work with Deputy Director Gibson—and all of you—to make the Mint even stronger in the coming months. With all of the important work you do to make our country a better and more inclusive place, I know that there is still work to be done to make the Mint a more equitable institution. 

Thank you for having me, and thanks for the work that you are doing.