In a recent interview, Congressman Jimmy Panetta praised the dedication of young individuals, particularly those involved with organizations like the Scouts, for their commitment to community improvement. (Courtesy of Jimmy Panetta)

Congressman Jimmy Panetta, the representative of California’s 19th Congressional District, shared insights in an interview with Henry W. Kim, a BSA Scout from Scotts Valley Troop 614, focusing on key local issues and the importance of involving young people in community affairs. 

During the interview, Panetta emphasized the diversity of the various cultures and industries of the 19th Congressional District. California’s 19th District stretches from South San Jose to the scenic landscapes of Santa Cruz County and Monterey County’s coastline all the way down to Cambria and into northern San Luis Obispo County.

This unique blend of cultures and industries provided an array of issues, including environmental conservation, affordable housing, agriculture support and immigration reform.

“…from high-tech to agriculture, suburban neighborhoods to breathtaking natural vistas, semiconductor chips to cow chips,” Panetta explained. “This diversity fuels our local economy, but also necessitates innovative solutions to address these distinct issues.”

Panetta stressed the crucial role of young people in shaping the district’s future. He stated the significance of the hands-on participation of young people and their alignment with the ethos of community service, a core value shared by organizations like the Scouts.

“I believe young generations and especially scouts have a better understanding and education about community service and the importance of giving back to the community. So, keep doing what you are doing and keep educating yourself and going forward,” he said.

In-depth discussions delved into pressing issues within the district, particularly the challenge of affordable housing for essential workers, including teachers. One of the questions asked was the issue of housing affordability for teachers living in California.

Congressman Panetta answered that he was coming up with a bill to provide middle-income housing tax credits for the development of housing for not only teachers, but for other essential workers as well.

He explained the concept of middle-income housing tax credits, aimed at incentivizing the creation of affordable housing solutions for individuals who fall between the low-income and high-income brackets.

Drawing from his personal experience as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer deployed to Afghanistan, Panetta emphasized the link between service, sacrifice and community engagement. He praised the dedication of young individuals, particularly those involved with organizations like the Scouts, for their commitment to community improvement.

Panetta highlighted the importance of understanding the depth and hard work that goes into serving the community and the country.

One of the comments during the interview, he stated: “I want people to understand that when you really lean into something, it takes a lot of effort and it takes a lot of hard work, more than just tweeting about it.”

The interview from the congressman provided valuable insights into the confluence of local issues, civic engagement and the youth’s role in shaping the future of California.

Author’s Note: This article is based on a transcript of an interview with Congressman Jimmy Panetta. Minor edits have been made for clarity and coherence.

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