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Jimmy Panetta

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Jimmy Panetta
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from California
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded bySam Farr
Constituency20th district (2017–2023)
19th district (2023–present)
Personal details
James Varni Panetta

(1969-10-01) October 1, 1969 (age 54)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseCarrie McIntyre
RelativesLeon Panetta (father)
EducationMonterey Peninsula College
University of California, Davis (BA)
Santa Clara University (JD)
WebsiteHouse website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service2003–2011
UnitUnited States Navy Reserve
Battles/warsWar in Afghanistan
AwardsBronze Star

James Varni Panetta (/pəˈnɛtə/ pə-NEH-tə; born October 1, 1969) is an American lawyer, politician, and former Navy intelligence officer from the state of California. A member of the Democratic Party, he is the U.S. representative for California's 19th congressional district. Formerly his district was numbered the 20th congressional district. His current district includes southeast San Jose and much of California's Central Coast, including Monterey, Santa Cruz, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and Paso Robles to the south.[1] Panetta was first elected in 2016, after working as a deputy district attorney for Monterey County. He is the son of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and holds the same congressional seat his father once held.

Early life and career[edit]

Panetta graduated from Carmel High School in Carmel, California.[2] He then attended Monterey Peninsula College and the University of California, Davis, graduating with a bachelor's degree in international relations. He then interned at the United States Department of State. Panetta received his J.D. degree from Santa Clara University School of Law. He joined the United States Navy Reserve as an intelligence officer and completed a tour of duty in the War in Afghanistan in 2007 while attached to Joint Special Operations Command, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star.[3][4] Panetta worked in the Alameda County, California, prosecutor's office and as a deputy district attorney for the District Attorney's office of Monterey County, California.[5]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]



After incumbent U.S. Representative Sam Farr announced in November 2015 that he would not seek reelection, Panetta announced his candidacy to succeed Farr in the 2016 election.[5][6] His father had represented the district from 1977 to 1993.

Panetta defeated Republican Casey Lucius in the November general election.[7] Democrats, in the persons of the Panettas and Farr, have held the seat and its predecessors without interruption since 1977. It is one of California's most Democratic districts outside Los Angeles and the Bay Area; Republicans have only garnered as much as 40% of the vote twice since 1977.


Panetta was reelected, defeating an independent challenger with 81.4% of the vote.[8][9]


Panetta was reelected to a third term, defeating Republican challenger Jeff Gorman, a financial adviser,[10] with 76.8% of the vote.[11][12]


Panetta was sworn into office on January 3, 2017.[13][failed verification] House Democrats selected him to be a regional whip for Northern California, the Central Coast, Hawaii and the U.S. Pacific Islands.[14]

Twice, in 2018 and in 2019, Panetta introduced a bill commonly stylized as the KITTEN Act, a legislative proposal to curtail certain types of animal testing.[15][16]

As of October 2021, Panetta had voted in line with Joe Biden's stated position 100% of the time.[17]

In February 2023, during the Russo-Ukrainian War, Panetta signed a letter advocating for President Biden to give F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine.[18]

During May 2024, Panetta joined a bipartisan House delegation that traveled to Taiwan to signal support for the newly elected pro-Taiwanese independence government in the aftermath of Chinese military exercises that simulated a blockade of Taiwan.[19]

Committee assignments[edit]

For the 118th Congress:[20]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Political positions[edit]


As of 2020, Panetta has a 100% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America and a F rating from the Susan B. Anthony List for his abortion-related voting history.[28][29] He opposed the overturning of Roe v. Wade.[30]

Big Tech[edit]

In 2022, Panetta was one of 16 Democrats to vote against the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act of 2022, an antitrust package that would crack down on corporations for anti-competitive behavior.[31][32]

Personal life[edit]

Panetta is the youngest of the three sons of Leon Panetta, the former United States Secretary of Defense.[4] His wife, Carrie, is a judge on the Monterey County Superior Court. They have two daughters.[33]


  1. ^ "Final Maps". CA.gov. Retrieved October 8, 2023.
  2. ^ Larson, Amy (March 17, 2016). "Rep. Sam Farr endorses Jimmy Panetta for Congress". KSBW-TV. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  3. ^ Curry, Tom (March 24, 2017). "Jimmy Panetta Takes a Hard Line on Military Spending". Retrieved February 8, 2019 – via www.rollcall.com.
  4. ^ a b Hennessey, Virginia (July 30, 2013). "Jimmy Panetta following in father Leon's footsteps". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Election 2016: Jimmy Panetta launches his campaign for Congress". Monterey Herald. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  6. ^ Herrera, James (November 17, 2015). "Election 2016: Jimmy Panetta launches campaign for Congress". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  7. ^ Lesniewski, Niels (November 9, 2016). "New Member: Democrat Jimmy Panetta Elected in California's 20th District: Son of former Defense secretary Leon E. Panetta is heading to Congress". Roll Call. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  8. ^ "2018 California primary election results" (PDF). Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "2018 California general election results" (PDF). Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  10. ^ Szydlowski, Joe (October 15, 2019). "Watsonville man challenges Central Coast congressman Jimmy Panetta in primary election". The Californian. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  11. ^ "STATEMENT OF VOTE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION MARCH 3, 2020" (PDF). California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 17, 2020. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  12. ^ "November 3, 2020, General Election - United States Representative" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  13. ^ Herrera, James (January 3, 2017). "Freshman Congressman Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel Valley, sworn into office amid House ethics plan reversal". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  14. ^ Wire, Sarah D. (December 5, 2016). "This congressman will sleep in his office, and other tales from the incoming California freshmen". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  15. ^ "Rep. Jimmy Panetta honored for leadership in ending 'USDA kitten lab'". Monterey Herald. January 8, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  16. ^ "Paws off these cats: Bill seeks to stop gov't 'slaughter' of kittens". NBC News. March 7, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  17. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (October 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  18. ^ "Seven more lawmakers — including six Democrats — have signed on to a letter pushing Joe Biden to send F-16 jets to Ukraine". Politico. February 21, 2023. Retrieved February 24, 2023.
  19. ^ Ball, Molly. "U.S. Lawmakers Meet With New Taiwan President Amid Tensions With China". WSJ. Retrieved May 29, 2024.
  20. ^ "Jimmy Panetta". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. Retrieved April 25, 2023.
  21. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  22. ^ "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen´s Climate Lobby. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  23. ^ "Membership". Work for Warriors Caucus. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  24. ^ "Caucus Membrs". US House of Representatives. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  25. ^ "Panetta, Bipartisan For Country Caucus Endorse Legislation to Improve Benefits for Gold Star Families". Congressman Jimmy Panetta. May 15, 2019. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  26. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  27. ^ "Featured Members". Problem Solvers Caucus. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  28. ^ "Congressional Record". NARAL Pro-Choice America. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  29. ^ "Jimmy Panetta". SBA Pro-Life America. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  30. ^ Panetta, Jimmy (June 24, 2022). "Overturning Roe revokes the right to choose that women have relied on for 50 years. A majority of Americans support this right and are against this decision. The House passed the Women's Health Protection Act, but now all of us must fight to make our voices heard in November". Twitter. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  31. ^ "House passes antitrust bill that hikes M&A fees as larger efforts targeting tech have stalled". CNBC. September 29, 2022.
  32. ^ "H.R. 3843: Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act of 2022 -- House Vote #460 -- Sep 29, 2022".
  33. ^ "Carrie Panetta appointed to Monterey superior court bench". Monterey Herald. August 29, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2016.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 20th congressional district

Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 19th congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by