WITA Webinar: Discussion with Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)




On Monday, November 23, WITA co-hosted a webinar with the American Leadership Initiative (ALI) with Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA). Mr. Panetta is a member of the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee, which will help shape the U.S. trade agenda in the coming year


Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Kenneth I. Levinson, Executive Director, Washington International Trade Association

Remarks and Discussion

  • Congressman Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Member, U.S. House of Representatives

  • Moderator: Dr. Orit Frenkel, Executive Director, American Leadership Initiative (ALI)

Followed by:

  • Q & A with Audience Moderated by Ken – Webinar attendees are encouraged to use the Q&A function on the Zoom app to submit their questions in real time.

 Event Close



Congressman Jimmy Panetta is dedicated to public service and proudly serves California’s 20th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. His district includes Monterey and San Benito Counties, and parts of Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties. First elected 2016, he is serving his second term in Congress. He currently serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means, the House Committee on Budget, and the House Committee on Agriculture.


Having grown up on the central coast of California, Congressman Panetta understands the importance of giving back to the community and country that gave him and his family so much.  He was instilled with a sense of public service and its importance to our democracy, and has made sure that his work is reflective of the values of the people who entrusted him to be their voice in our nation’s capital. 


During his time in Congress, he has fought for immigration reform, the continued protection of our pristine coastline and environment, affordable and accessible health care, to ensure that our agriculture industry and its farmers and farmworkers are taken care of, to reduce gun violence, for our military installations which are an integral part in our community and our country’s national security, and for our veterans to receive the benefits that they were promised and deserve. Through policy implementation in Congress and service to constituents, he remains committed to being that bridge for the people of the Central Coast to the federal government and its resources.


Prior to being sworn in Congress, Congressman Panetta served his community as a deputy district attorney for Monterey County, which includes the city of Salinas. In this role, he prosecuted violent gang members to pursue justice for victims, protect families and make communities safer.


In 2007, Congressman Panetta volunteered for active duty and was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He worked with Special Forces units and as a result of his meritorious service in a combat zone, Congressman Panetta was awarded the Bronze Star. Upon returning home, he served as a board member of the Veterans Transition Center where he focused on ending veterans’ homelessness and improving resources for his fellow veterans and their families. He was also instrumental in the opening of Monterey County’s first Veterans Treatment Court to ensure veterans receive the services they earned. Moreover, he worked with local leaders and veterans to establish the Central Coast Veterans Cemetery on the former Fort Ord. He was honored to be named a Monterey County Veteran of the Year in 2015.


Growing up in Monterey County, Congressman Panetta attended Monterey Peninsula College and the local public schools. He graduated from the University of California at Davis with an undergraduate degree in International Relations and earned his law degree from Santa Clara University. His wife, Carrie McIntyre Panetta, is a Superior Court judge in Monterey County, and they have two daughters, Siri and Gia.


Dr. Orit Frenkel is the Executive Director of The American Leadership Initiative (ALI), a platform dedicated to developing policy initiatives to restore American global economic leadership in 2020 and beyond. In this capacity, she is working with members of Congress and their staff, as well as members of the think tank and business communities to develop smart new approaches to trade, development and diplomacy. 


Dr. Frenkel is also the is the founder and President of Frenkel Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in Asia policy and market access issues, trade policy as well as training programs for foreign government officials. She is a Senior Advisor to APCO Worldwide and to Asia Group Advisors, an ASEAN based consulting firm as well as an Adjunct Fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


Prior to starting the ALI and Frenkel Strategies, Dr. Frenkel was the Senior Manager for GE Global Government Affairs for 26 years. In that position, she was responsible for advising the GE businesses on government relations, trade, investment and CSR issues in ASEAN, North and Central Asia, as well as in the CIS countries. Orit’s extensive experience working with US and foreign governments, as well as with a variety of stakeholders, resulted in billions of dollars of GE sales. She worked with U.S. and multilateral financing institutions to obtain financing for GE’s transactions.


She led GE’s policy and advocacy on every trade issue including, TPP, KORUS, Russia and China WTO accession, Uruguay Round, NAFTA and other trade policy issues. She coordinated GE’s policy and strategy development, developed messaging and led coordination and consensus building among stakeholders in GE and the larger business community, trade associations, think tanks, and other stakeholders.


Dr. Frenkel started her career working in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative where she was the Director for Trade in High Technology Products and Deputy Director for Trade with Japan and spent a 9-month detail working for Congressman Lee Hamilton. 


She is the author of numerous articles on trade policy issues, as well as a book on the negotiation of the US-Israel Free Trade Area. She has served on the board or Executive Committee of numerous trade associations, including the Emergency Committee for American Trade, US-ASEAN Business Council, the US-China Business Council, US-Japan Business Council, US-Russia Business Council, US-Kazakhstan Business Council, the US-Uzbekistan Business Council, the US-Kyrgyzstan and US-Tajikistan Business Council, and has led many ad-hoc coalitions and advisory groups.


Dr. Frenkel received a B.A. in Economics from University of Maryland (Phi Beta Kappa), an M.P.P. from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D.in International Economics from John Hopkins University.


Kenneth Levinson is the Executive Director of the Washington International Trade Association (WITA). WITA is Washington’s largest non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to providing a neutral forum in the U.S. capital for the open and robust discussion of international trade policy and economic issues. WITA has over 3,750 members, and more than 170 corporate sponsors and group memberships.


Previously, Ken served as Senior Director for Global Government Affairs for AstraZeneca. Prior to joining AstraZeneca, Ken served as Senior Vice President and COO at the Washington, DC consulting firm of Fontheim International. Ken joined Fontheim after spending six years on the staff of U.S. Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, where he served as the Senator’s chief advisor for international trade, tax, foreign policy, and national security.


Ken received a Master’s degree in European History from New York University after doing his undergraduate work at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst. Ken also spent a year studying at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Ken and his wife, the Reverend Donna Marsh, live in Bethesda, MD, with their two daughters.