Child Tax Credit
Congressman Jimmy Panetta announces the new Child Tax Credit Payments for Working Families project at Watsonville Plaza in 2021. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian file

Editor’s note: this is the final installment of our pre-election coverage, as voters mull their mail-in ballot and make their decisions. A story on Rep. Jimmy Panetta’s  Green Party opponent ran on Feb. 8. Republican challenger Jason Michael Anderson did not respond to a request for an interview.  


Rep. Jimmy Panetta was first elected to his 19th Congressional District in 2016, and is currently serving his fourth term. He is now running for his fifth.

He says he is one of the few Congressional representatives to have four offices throughout his district, which includes parts of Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties.

“Considering the geography of the 19th Congressional District, I felt that was necessary,” he said.

His mission, he says, is “making sure that the federal government works for people, and making sure that people know that I am their federal representative, and if they have a problem with the federal government they need to come to me and we will make every attempt possible to help them with their issue.”

Among his accomplishments is securing $150 million for the long-awaited Pajaro River Flood Risk Management Project, which will protect sough Santa Cruz County and the pajaro region from flooding.

“When I came into office, that project needed to be resuscitated, and it needed to start at the federal level,” he said. “I made every effort possible to get that done.”

Other areas 

• Secured more than $100 million for low-income housing programs

• Crafted legislation for low income tax credits

• Secured tax incentives for low-income housing

• Worked to bring back the first-time homebuyers tax credit that gives  end-of-year tax credits for renters 

• Helped craft legislation that gives tax incentives for green busses and linear generators and micro-grids in the Inflation Reduction Act

• Co-authored a bill for middle-income housing. “In this area we have a number of people who work in this area but can’t afford to live in this area,” he said. “We need workforce housing.”

Panetta also co-authored the Monarch and Pollinator Highway Program, which provides $10 million to plant native, pollinator-friendly plants along roadsides and highways.

He authored the Nursing Home Strike Team Bill to bring in personnel to nursing homes during the Covid pandemic.

His legislation also helps small businesses get funding for making investments in their businesses “qualified improvement properties.”

“And we have a lot more to do,” he said.

Panetta says he has learned to navigate the charged political landscape that dominates lawmaking.

“I learned quickly that you cannot respond to everything,” he said. “That if you ended up focusing on (Republican) dysfunction and division, you would spiral down. I had the attitude and my staff had the attitude, and my colleagues that I choose to work with had the attitude that we need to continue to go forward and continue to get stuff done.”

During that time, he said, the 117th Congress still passed “major historic bills.”

This includes the American Rescue Plan during the pandemic, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Chips And Science Act, the Safer Communities Act and the PACT Act, which provides funds for veterans exposed to toxic fumes.

“These are the kinds of things that have been done, most on a bipartisan basis,” he said. “Good governing is not sexy, good governing doesn’t get TV time, but good governing is good politics and that’s basically making sure you don;t get distracted by the dysfunction and you move forward.”

Previous articleFeb. 13 2024 Edition
Next articleWatsonville City Council ends zoom participation option at public meetings
General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here