Protecting Our Environment
Protecting the unique and pristine environment of the Central Coast of California will always be one of Jimmy’s top priorities in Congress. Our lives are irrevocably tied to our environment, and that is why Jimmy will always support policies that combat climate change, promote sustainability, and invest in clean energy. He is adamantly opposed to and will fight against offshore oil exploration and drilling and weakening reasonable air or water quality standards.
In Congress, Jimmy is fighting to protect the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, as well as the California Coastal and other National Monuments from downsizing or elimination. Jimmy is working with both sides of the aisle to promote environmental stewardship and fight for policies that protect the Central Coast.
Jimmy Panetta will continue to push for federal policies to help tackle the housing crisis. In just three years, he secured millions in federal grants for local housing programs, including for low-income families, veterans, and the homeless. He authored legislation to increase federal tax credits for the development of more affordable housing and supported legislation for affordable housing near transit hubs. He will continue push for the passage of the Rent Relief Act for federal tax deductions for those spending 30% of their income on rent and utilities. Jimmy is committed to working with local and state leaders to implement federal solutions for more affordable housing on the Central Coast.
Annual spending on prescription drugs alone is nearly half a trillion dollars and threatens to continue to grow. No one should be forced to choose between necessary medication and other life expenses such as housing or education. That is why, as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, he worked on, and voted for the passage of the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. That bill would allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices in Medicare, which would lower all drug costs and expand Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing coverage. He supports Medicare for all and is committed to saving and shoring up the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has brought so much benefit to people on the Central Coast. Throughout his time in Congress, he has continued to fight back against this administration’s attempts to repeal and gut the ACA. At the same time, he has worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to improve coverage so that those with pre-existing medical conditions are covered and cared for. He also voted against the President's proposed cuts to Medicaid services through his block-grant scheme. Jimmy is committed to fighting for affordable and accessible healthcare.
Education and Opportunity
Jimmy knows that there is no greater gift a parent can give to a child than a first-rate education. He is proud that his daughters attend the same public schools that he attended when he was their age, and is working in Congress, to make sure all of our children get the same opportunity to thrive. He is committed to making higher education both accessible and affordable. Before graduating from U.C. Davis, Jimmy attended Monterey Peninsula Community College (MPC). He knows firsthand the impact our community colleges can make by giving students the academic foundation, job training and skills for a path to success.
In Congress, Jimmy is committed to making college loans more affordable and finding innovative ways to help students reduce their debt. He has cosponsored the Federal Student Loan Refinancing Act, the ASPIRE Act, and the ACCESS Act to restore the year-round eligibility for Pell Grants. He also cosponsored the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, which became law in 2017, to expand the post-9/11 GI Bill and eliminate the 15-year time limit on the use of education benefits for new recruits.
Jimmy is focused on expanding Pre-K and early education options for families and improving the Migrant Education Program to help immigrant children meet the challenges of enrolling in American schools. He fought to protect and strengthen programs like Head Start and TRIO during the budget process, which resulted in strong funding for these programs.
As the grandson of immigrants who came to the United States in search of a better life for themselves and their children, Jimmy understands that finding a path for immigrants to succeed is fundamental to who we are as a nation. He is working in Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that supports our diverse communities, strengthens border security, provides effective worker programs, and improves educational opportunities for the children of immigrants.
Jimmy believes that the noncitizen children of immigrants who came to this country through no choice of their own– the “Dreamers” – should have the chance to earn their way to citizenship in this country. In Congress, Jimmy has supported numerous pieces of legislation to ensure that these Dreamers can continue to contribute to our communities, economy, and country. As a chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus’ Immigration Task Force, he is working across the aisle to develop a long-term solution for the "Dreamers" on the Central Coast.
Jimmy is also fighting to protect those communities on the Central Coast who reside here legally under Temporary Protected Status. He is fighting efforts in Washington to strip them of this legal status. These individuals are our neighbors, our co-workers, and our friends. They deserve to maintain the lives they have built for themselves here on the Central Coast and across the United States.
Understanding the important role that immigrant communities have in our justice system, Jimmy introduced the Immigrant Witness and Victim Protection Act of 2018. This bill prevents the deportation of undocumented individuals who cooperate with law enforcement, who are awaiting the processing of their visa. It would also require the Department of Homeland Security to issue work permits to visa applicants to reduce the likelihood of victimization and establish economic security.
The Central Coast of California is the salad bowl of the world. It is home to numerous specialty crops that are taken from the field, packaged, and brought to dinner tables to feed thousands of Americans across the country.
As a member of the influential House Committee on Agriculture, Jimmy has established himself as a leading voice on nutrition, organics, and agriculture research. There, Jimmy is fighting to ensure that our agriculture industry receives critical federal resources, and pushing sound public policies that work to promote sustainable farming.
He founded and Co-Chairs the bipartisan Agriculture Research Caucus to elevate challenges facing agricultural producers across the country, and find solutions to help them do their jobs. This includes research on bringing technology and innovation to the farm, as well as techniques to maintain sustainability in the rich farmland of the Central Coast.
Jimmy is working across the aisle on bipartisan immigration reform that provides certainty for both our farmers and farmworkers. Jimmy will continue to work to invest in our agriculture industry and support the people who make it our district’s number one industry.
Congress has a responsibility to promote policies that provide equality for all Americans. We have made great strides in recent years, but that progress is also threatened by those who are working to roll back those protections.
Jimmy is fighting to ensure women have equal rights. This includes defending a woman’s right to choose, protecting access to health care, strengthening policies that make workplaces safer for all, and supporting legislation that combats domestic violence and abuse. Jimmy is a member of the Pro-Choice Caucus and is a proud cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act to guarantee that women are paid the same as men for the same work.
Nationally, Jimmy has emerged as a leading voice for LGBTQ equality. His opposition to the banning of transgender people serving in the military garnered national attention, as have his efforts to pass the Equality Act to extend the non-discrimination protections we have in California to the rest of the country. Jimmy is a cosponsor of several other pro-equality bills, including the Student Non-Discrimination Act, that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools and protect students from intimidation and violence. He is a proud member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.
Jobs and the Economy
In Washington, Jimmy has prioritized expanding our local economy, investing in innovation and clean energy, raising wages, supporting workers, and helping small businesses grow. In particular, Jimmy is advocating for the strengthening of local industries such as agriculture and tourism, investing in local research and technological innovation, and enriching our educational institutions.
As tourism continues to be an economic driver on the Central Coast, Jimmy is working to ensure that policies coming out of Washington protect our pristine coastline, oceans, and forests. Our local hospitality industry is dependent upon the protection of our environment, and Jimmy is fighting against policies that would threaten it, including offshore oil exploration and drilling. He knows that preserving our natural treasures on the Central Coast for generations to come will help maintain economic viability in the region, and that it is simply the right thing to do for our children.
Jimmy supports policies that foster an economic environment that encourages business development and ensures employees have the benefits and protections they need to prosper. That is why he supports a living wage for all workers, paid leave, and that earned benefits – such as Social Security – are available for generations to come.
Roads and Infrastructure
Our national infrastructure of roads and bridges is in dire need of updating and maintenance. The Central Coast of California is no different. Jimmy is working to bring critical federal resources to the Central Coast so that we can continue to work towards efficient, sustainable, and modern transportation networks and infrastructure throughout the district. This will help to ensure that our communities remain connected, our businesses can grow, and we endure less time in traffic and more time with our loved ones.
After severe storm damage in our community, Jimmy effectively worked with FEMA and CalTrans to reopen the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in record time. This was a successful collaborative effort with federal, state, and local officials and should be a model for future infrastructure projects across the country.
Jimmy is also working on innovative solutions that utilize our tax dollars efficiently and effectively. He introduced the Federal Infrastructure Flood Resiliency Act, to reduce exposure to ocean rise for government-funded infrastructure projects. Jimmy is also working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to address the needs of our communities to protect our homes and neighborhoods from flooding and other climate change related disasters.
Veterans and Active Duty Service Members
Jimmy knows from his own experience that our service members make enormous sacrifices every day to keep America safe and secure. That is why we must make sure that our troops not only get the support they need on the battlefield, but that they get the support they were promised – and deserve – when they return home.
In Congress, Jimmy has built a strong legislative agenda around serving those who served our country. He has advocated for veterans who need help cutting through the red tape at the Department of Veterans Affairs, worked to help our veterans find meaningful employment, and supported efforts to launch veteran-owned businesses.
Before entering Congress, Jimmy served as a board member of the Veterans Transition Center, where he worked to address veterans’ homelessness, and he was a proponent for the enactment of Monterey County’s first Veterans Treatment Court, ensuring that veterans receive the services that they have earned. Jimmy worked with local leaders and veterans to help establish the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery. Based on his work for veterans, Jimmy was honored as a Monterey County Veteran of the Year in 2015.
Jimmy is also working to protect and strengthen the military installations on the Central Coast of California by promoting the groundbreaking work at the Naval Postgraduate School and the Defense Language Institute. These institutions provide critical education and training to help ensure successful missions and a safe return home. Not only do these facilities enhance our military, they are essential anchors for our local economy. Protecting and maintaining them is a top priority for Jimmy.