Jimmy Panetta

James Varni Panetta /pəˈnɛtə/ (born October 1, 1969) is an American lawyer and politician from the state of California. A member of the Democratic Party, he is a member of the United States House of Representatives for California's 20th congressional district. The district includes much of California's Central Coast, including Monterey, Salinas, Santa Cruz, and Carmel-by-the-Sea. 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.

Jimmy Panetta
Jimmy Panetta official portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 20th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded bySam Farr
Personal details
James Varni Panetta

(1969-10-01) October 1, 1969 (age 51)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Carrie McIntyre
ParentsLeon Panetta & Sylvia Varni
EducationMonterey Peninsula College
University of California, Davis (BA)
Santa Clara University (JD)
WebsiteHouse website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
UnitUnited States Navy Reserve
Battles/warsWar in Afghanistan
AwardsBronze Star Medal ribbon.svg Bronze Star

Early life and careerEdit

Panetta graduated from Carmel High School in Carmel, California.[1] He then attended Monterey Peninsula College and 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.[2][3] 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.[4]

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit



After incumbent Sam Farr announced in November 2015 that he would not seek reelection to the United States House of Representatives, Panetta announced his candidacy to succeed Farr in California's 20th congressional district in the 2016 election.[4][5] His father had represented the district from 1977 to 1993.

Panetta defeated Republican Casey Lucius in the November general election.[6] The 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 percent of the vote twice since 1977.


Panetta ran for reelection to a second term and defeated an independent challenger with 81.4% of the vote.[7][8]


Panetta ran for reelection to a third term and defeated Republican challenger Jeff Gorman, a financial adviser,[9] with 76.8% of the vote.[10][11]


Panetta was sworn into office on January 3, 2017.[12] House Democrats selected Panetta to be a regional whip for Northern California, the Central Coast, Hawaii and the U.S. Pacific Islands.[13]

Twice, in 2018 and in 2019, Congressman Panetta introduced a bill commonly stylized as the KITTEN Act, a legislative proposal to curtail certain types of animal testing.[14][15]

Committee assignmentsEdit


Caucus membershipsEdit

Personal lifeEdit

Panetta is the youngest of three sons born to Leon Panetta, the former United States Secretary of Defense.[3] His wife, Carrie, is a judge on the Monterey County Superior Court. They have two daughters.[24]


  1. ^ Larson, Amy (March 17, 2016). "Rep. Sam Farr endorses Jimmy Panetta for Congress". KSBW-TV. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  2. ^ Curry, Tom (March 24, 2017). "Jimmy Panetta Takes a Hard Line on Military Spending". Retrieved February 8, 2019 – via www.rollcall.com.
  3. ^ a b Hennessey, Virginia (July 30, 2013). "Jimmy Panetta following in father Leon's footsteps". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Election 2016: Jimmy Panetta launches his campaign for Congress". Monterey Herald. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  5. ^ Herrera, James (November 17, 2015). "Election 2016: Jimmy Panetta launches campaign for Congress". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "2018 California primary election results" (PDF). Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  8. ^ "2018 California general election results" (PDF). Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  9. ^ Szydlowski, Joe (October 15, 2019). "Watsonville man challenges Central Coast congressman Jimmy Panetta in primary election". The Californian. Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  10. ^ "STATEMENT OF VOTE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION MARCH 3, 2020" (PDF). California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  11. ^ "November 3, 2020, General Election - United States Representative" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved December 22, 2020.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Wire, Sarah D. (December 5, 2016). "This congressman will sleep in his office, and other tales from the incoming California freshmen". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  14. ^ "Rep. Jimmy Panetta honored for leadership in ending 'USDA kitten lab'". Monterey Herald. January 8, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  15. ^ "Paws off these cats: Bill seeks to stop gov't 'slaughter' of kittens". NBC News. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  16. ^ "Jimmy Panetta appointed to subcommittees". Santa Cruz Sentinel. January 24, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  17. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  18. ^ "90 Current Climate Solutions Caucus Members". Citizen´s Climate Lobby. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  19. ^ "Membership". Work for Warriors Caucus. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  20. ^ "Caucus Membrs". US House of Representatives. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  21. ^ "Panetta, Bipartisan For Country Caucus Endorse Legislation to Improve Benefits for Gold Star Families". Congressman Jimmy Panetta. May 15, 2019. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  22. ^ "Members". New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  23. ^ "Featured Members". Problem Solvers Caucus. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  24. ^ "Carrie Panetta appointed to Monterey superior court bench". Monterey Herald. August 29, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2016.

External linksEdit

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

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Tom O'Halleran
United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Jamie Raskin