Written by Paul Johnson, President & CEO, SP Consulting
My wife Lisa and I had the honor of attending the Panetta Institute for Public Policy’s 2017 Jefferson-Lincoln Awards Gala at the beautiful Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach this last weekend.
I have known Leon Panetta since my days working with Congressman Gene Chappie (R-CA). Then-Congressman Panetta (D- CA) was also serving as the representative for California’s 16th Congressional district. While Gene and Leon caucused with different political parties, they had many things in common. Both were self-made men and sons of Italian immigrants. They shared a common connection to the soil as farmers and ranchers that instilled a profound respect and love for their country. They understood and cherished the importance of reaching out and finding common purpose with others to serve the needs and aspirations of all our nation’s citizens.
God bless him but Gene is no longer with us. However, Leon has always upheld these principals of public service, most importantly respectful engagement and the needs of the many over self-interest. His career to date is a shining example of the best our country has to offer but also serves as a beacon of hope for the future: Congressman; Director of the Office of Management and Budget; Chief of Staff to President Clinton; Director of the CIA; and Secretary of Defense. Leon and his wife Sylvia – through the good works of their Institute – are working to ensure that we succeed in passing the torch to a new generation of leaders. Individuals committed to putting service first and grounded in the ideas that democracy can only be sustained and strengthen by an engaged, supportive and educated citizenry.
Leon and Sylvia – THANK YOU, PJ
About The Panetta Institute for Public Policy: Founded in 1997 by Leon and Sylvia Panetta, the Panetta Institute is a nonpartisan center for the study of public policy that helps our communities and our country meet the challenges of the 21stcentury. Under the direction of Secretary and Mrs. Panetta, the Institute provides a variety of study opportunities in government, politics and public policy, and sponsors a range of other programs.