US Coins

Acting Mint director Gibson appears at Senate hearing

Ventris Gibson, left, appeared before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee April 6. Gibson is nominated by President Joe Biden for a five-year term as Mint director.

All images courtesy of U.S. Senate.

The United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs met April 6 to consider the Biden administration nominations of Ventris Gibson as director of the Mint and Paul Rosen as assistant secretary of the Treasury for Investment Security.

Each candidate provided opening remarks to familiarize committee members with their credentials. Gibson detailed a career in public service that has spanned four decades and that started right out of high school with her enlistment in the United States Navy. “My time as a Navy air traffic controller in Tennessee, Sicily and Cuba was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and proved to be the defining moments for me relative to my values.”

Her remarks concluded with her experience at the U.S. Mint, where she was named deputy director: “I would consider it a privilege and an honor and another defining moment of my life if confirmed to be the Director. If confirmed, I am ready to lead a workforce dedicated to connecting America through coins. I will focus on people, as they are key to the Mint’s success, on our programs, from commemorative medals to collectible coins to circulating coins, and on our performance, one that is highly valued and highly thought of.”

Questioning from ranking member Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., focused on the recent announcement that the Mint would not issue 2022 Morgan and Peace dollars after a successful program in 2021. “I’ve been approached by stakeholders who are very concerned that if we skip a year’s production in 2022 and wait until 2023, it will have an adverse negative impact on the attractiveness of the series and its value,” said Toomey.

Gibson responded by informing the committee, “For 2022, we thought about how we can go about ensuring that we will have enough coinage, Morgan and Peace specifically, for the customers, especially since we sold out in 2021 and could not meet that customer demand. I pulled together a team of experts from manufacturing, sales and marketing, legal and the chief fiscal officer to make sure that going forward, we could produce the Morgan and Peace in 2022, given the fact we also have to balance our silver supply chain with our bullion program, which is Congressionally mandated. Thus, we made the decision that we would bypass 2022, and in 2023 make the Morgan and Peace coin, and that way make enough, sufficient to satisfy customer demand.”

Toomey responded in his closing remarks that it would seem better to meet some demand and maintain continuity. “I would just ask respectfully to consider that possibility,” to which Gibson replied, “I surely will.”

Gibson also faced questions from Chairman Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, regarding an internal report that came to light prior to Gibson’s nomination that found a “culture problem” within the Mint, including implicit bias, unfair hiring practices and racial tension, which Brown labeled as “extremely troubling.”

“Since I joined the Mint in October of last year and having digested the report and used it as a pre-decisional document in action planning going forward, I put in place what I call ‘A Blueprint for Change’ and this is based on my values of fairness, integrity and trust. The ‘Blueprint for Change’ is actually a guide to how we address these unlawful perceptions by employees of discrimination, marginalization, insensitivity or, in fact, in some cases, workplace harassment.”

Brown also questioned Gibson about programs to increase coin circulation, while committee member Catherine Cortez-Masto, D-Nev., sought comments about women on coinage, including the current program on quarter dollars created by the passage of the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020.

Following the April 6 hearing, committee members had an opportunity to submit additional questions. Nominees were required to provide answers to the committee by April 18. Full Senate confirmation is required for appointment.

If Gibson is confirmed, she will be the 40th Mint director and the seventh woman in the position. She will be the first woman of color to attain the role in the history of the United States Mint.

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