TAKING THE OATH From left, Leon Panetta, Sylvia Panetta, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Siri and Gia Panetta, Jimmy Panetta, Carrie McIntyre Panetta, Elizabeth Panetta and Dr. Carmelo Panetta. Credit: U.S House of Representatives

Congressman Jimmy Panetta’s first week of his second term was a busy one, as the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives faced new responsibilities and a government shutdown.

Panetta and his Congressional colleagues were sworn in en masse Jan. 3 in the Capitol.

By week’s end, Panetta had joined a growing list of Democrats in co-sponsoring the first major Democratic legislative priority in the 116th Congress, H.R. 1, the For The People Act of 2019.

“The new House majority is dedicated to passing pro-democracy, anti-corruption reforms to support the American people,” said Panetta in a statement. “Empowerment, transparency, and accountability are bedrocks of democracy.  Unfortunately, these foundational principles have been eroded. The For the People Act will restore our democracy, strengthen the electorate, and expose fraud and deceit.”

Proponents of the For The People Act, which faces certain opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate, say it would:

  •   Strengthen Americans’ participation in democracy by implementing automatic voter registration, requiring early voting, bolstering absentee voting by members of the U.S. military and implementing redistricting reforms;
  •   Enhance election security by establishing election cybersecurity protocols, designating election infrastructure as critical and requiring a national strategy for protecting U.S. democratic institutions and countering threats;
  •   Promote campaign transparency by prohibiting foreign political spending, increasing transparency on dark money contributions and enhancing campaign finance rules;
  •   Increase ethical standards by requiring conflict of interest reports from the White House and Congress, mandating Executive Branch ethics waivers be made public and requiring the release of Presidential tax returns.

After his swearing in, attended by his wife, Superior Court Judge Carrie McIntyre Panetta, two daughters Siri and Gia, and his mother and father, Sylvia and former Congressman Leon Panetta, the congressman said, “I am honored and humbled to continue serving the people of the Central Coast of California and fighting for our values in Washington, D.C.

“As a member of the 116th Congress, I am committed to our constitutional responsibility to govern, and that includes ensuring that our government is properly funded and open,” Panetta continued. “I hope that we can come together to fully open the government and support the dedicated individuals who provide our nation with critical safety, security and emergency management services.

“As your representative,” he added, “ I look forward to continuing to work on important issues that affect our communities and country, from protecting voting rights to passing immigration reform, reducing gun violence, serving our veterans and combatting the causes and effects of climate change.  As always, I will work with a bipartisan collaborative spirit to get things done and move our nation forward.”

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