Jefferson-Lincoln Awards

The eighteenth annual Jefferson-Lincoln Awards: An Evening to Honor Lives of Public Service gala was held on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at The Inn at Spanish Bay.

The honorees were Rob Portman, United States Senator (R), Ohio; and Jack Reed, United States Senator (D), Rhode Island.

The Jefferson-Lincoln Awards are presented each year to individuals whose professional achievements represent exceptional commitment to the principles of our democracy, to bipartisanship and a dedication to encouraging the healthy function of the United States’ system of government through an informed electorate.

The gala evening features the presentations of awards as well as an outstanding four-course, gourmet dinner with fine wines prepared by honored local and visiting chefs.

The Jefferson-Lincoln Awards celebration is the Panetta Institute’s major fundraising event of the year, and helps support the many programs that promote the Institute’s goal of enhancing public policy and attracting thoughtful men and women to lives of public service.

Senator Rob Portman with Secretary and Mrs. Panetta

United States Senator Rob Portman (R) has served in both chambers of Congress and held two Cabinet positions. In each of these posts, he has always worked to put the needs of his constituents and the country above party politics.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Rob Portman grew up in a family that ran a small business where he learned early on the value of hard work, leadership and fiscal responsibility. Following a career in law, he was elected to Congress in 1993 where he served Ohio’s Second District for twelve years and had twelve bills signed by President Clinton.

In 2005, Rob Portman was asked to serve as the United States trade representative, the Cabinet-level official responsible for implementing and enforcing United States trade policy. Under his leadership, American exports increased and the United States brought successful legal challenges against international trade law violations — including China.

Rob Portman was next asked to serve in another Cabinet post, this time as director of the Office of Management and Budget. He proposed a balanced budget, fought irresponsible earmarks and put in place new transparency measures for all federal spending.

Elected to the Senate in 2010, during his first term, Senator Portman successfully introduced more than 180 bills, including 150 bipartisan bills, and fifty bills that were signed into law by President Obama. He has been a champion for underprivileged children, an advocate for policies that reduce poverty and increase opportunity, and a leader on expanding exports and American energy production. As co-chairman of the bipartisan Senate Career and Technical Education Caucus, Senator Portman authored the CAREER Act, a federal law that helps Americans train and find jobs that are available in today’s market. In October of this year, Senator Portman joined a bipartisan group of fifty-nine senators calling on Senate leaders to renew the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which provides funding for career and technical education programs.

In April of this year, Senator Portman led a bipartisan group of senators to introduce the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017, which would promote “transparency, accountability, and common sense in the regulatory process.” In doing so, it would update regulatory procedures that have not changed in more than seventy years. He also co-founded and co-chairs the bipartisan Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking and has authored five federal anti-trafficking laws.

Senator Portman also authored the ENFORCE Act, which was signed into law and helps the federal government crack down on countries like China that attempt to evade United States trade laws.

Senator Portman has said, “In my time in the House of Representatives and the Senate, I have made a point of reaching across the aisle and working with anyone who shares my goals of enacting policies that make a real difference in the lives of Ohioans.”

Senator Jack Reed

United States Senator Jack Reed (D) has a proven record of working on a bipartisan basis to help solve problems and achieve results.

Born and raised in Cranston, Rhode Island, Senator Reed graduated from West Point in 1971. He went on to earn a master’s in public policy from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

He served three terms in the Rhode Island State Senate, where he focused on housing, children’s welfare, and mental health issues. In 1991 he began the first of three terms in the United States House of Representatives.

In 1996, Senator Reed was elected as Rhode Island’s forty-sixth United States Senator. Today, he is a national leader on consumer protection, defense, education, and economic issues. He has led efforts to promote responsible budgets, create jobs and strengthen our economy.

As one of just eight senators in United States history to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy, TIME magazine noted: “Reed is a serious, intellectually honest veteran and an expert on defense issues in the Senate,” and The New York Times described him as “a quiet dealmaker respected by colleagues in both parties.”

As a senior member of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Senator Reed authored several key pieces of the historic Wall Street reform bill and has been nationally recognized for his dedication to protecting United States consumers. Most recently, Senator Reed has joined with a bipartisan group of thirty-six lawmakers to request a thorough investigation of the Equifax security breach and related concerns about insider trading.

Senator Portman is joined by his wife, Jane, and Secretary and Mrs. Panetta

Senator Reed also helped create the powerful new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to give American families the tools to fight unfair and abusive financial products and services, as well as a new Office of Financial Research that helps provide early warnings to regulators about future financial problems.

Recently, Senator Reed authored laws to create a new affordable rental housing trust fund, improve consumer disclosures on mortgages, and address the needs of middle-class families who are struggling with the fallout from the housing crisis.

Additionally, Senator Reed has been a leading voice on college affordability and student loan debt issues.

Senator Reed serves as ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, playing a pivotal role in safeguarding our nation. He has been instrumental in the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, one of the few bills to pass both Houses of Congress. He has always reached across the aisle to support our troops and works tirelessly to ensure that America’s fighting men and women have the equipment they need and the benefits they deserve.


The Jefferson-Lincoln Awards are made possible thanks to the generosity of a variety of individuals and organizations who have joined a growing list of sponsors and hosts for the event. For information about becoming a sponsor, please contact the Panetta Institute at 831-582-4200.

2017 sponsors included:


Sherry E. DeBoer, for Secretary Leon Panetta and Sylvia Panetta

California State University, Monterey Bay, for U.S. Senator Jack Reed

Anthony B. Varni and the Dennis and Gloria O’Brien Foundation for U.S. Senator Rob Portman

Sue M. Antle, for U.S. Representative Jimmy Panetta


Debra and George W. Couch III

Denise Foderaro and Frank Quattrone

Mike and Mary Orradre

The Panetta Family

Zenith Insurance — A Fairfax Company


Rusty Areias and Julie Sandino Areias

Automobile Club of Southern California

Beacon Global Strategies

Laurie and David Benjamin

Blue Shield of California

The Boeing Company

Ed and Rosa Boutonnet

Robin and Elliott Broidy

California American Water

Cannery Row Company

Chevron Corporation

Dignity Health

Dominican University of California


The Eubanks Family Foundation

Koret Foundation

Lexus Monterey Peninsula/Victory Toyota

Lockheed Martin

Mary Ellen and Michael E. Fox
Family Foundation

Stan McKee

Montage Health

Monterey Bay Aquarium


Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Pacific Maritime Association and
Sugerman Communications Group

Pebble Beach Company

Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System

Santa Clara University

Southern Company

Stevens, Sloan & Shah CPAs

Tanimura & Antle, Inc.

Louise and Edward Trout

Stanley Zax


AT&T Communications

Bank of America Charitable Foundation

Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation

Sarah Jane and Louis Castruccio

Gail and Jim Griggs

Monterey County Business Council

Dr. and Mrs Patrick Welton



Donors and Friends


Bernardus Winery

Better Brand Food Products, Inc.

Bigoli Fresh Pasta

Brand Via

California Cut
Flower Commission

Cardinale Moving & Storage

The Chefs’ Warehouse

Claudio’s Specialty Breads


Couch Distributing

Del Monte Meat Co. LLC


Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

Golden Rule Produce, Inc.

Gourmet Foods

Hahn Family Wines

Italfoods, Inc.

KAZU Radio

Renee Kezirian

KOMY Radio

KQED Television

KSCO Radio

Mapleton Communications
   KCDU Radio
   KHIP Radio
   KKHK Radio
   KPIG Radio
   KWAV Radio

Monterey Farms

Monterey Fish Company

Pacific Seafood

Palermo Bakery


Provimi Foods

Randy Tunnell Photography

Red Shift Internet Services

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

Spencer’s Stationery

Swenson & Silacci Flowers, Inc.

TriCord Tradeshow Services

Troia Foods

The UPS Store at the:
   Carmel Crossroads
   Del Monte Center
   and Seaside

US Foods

Watsonville Coast Produce

The Wecker Group




Previous Jefferson-Lincoln honorees include:

Year 2016

  • Tom Carper, U.S. Senator (D), Delaware
  • Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator (R), Alaska
  • Sam Farr, U.S. Representative (D), 20th Congressional District, California
  • Fran Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (2004-2008)
  • Robert Mueller, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (2002-2013)

Year 2015

  • Scott Pelley, Anchor, CBS Evening News and Managing Editor and Correspondent, 60 Minutes
  • Martha Raddatz, Chief Global Affairs correspondent, ABC News
  • David Martin, National Security Correspondent, Pentagon and State Department, CBS News
  • Jim Miklaszewski, Chief Pentagon Correspondent, NBC News

Year 2014

  • Barbara Starr, Chief Pentagon Correspondent, CNN
  • Mike Rogers, U.S. Representative (R), 8th District, Michigan
  • Ron Wyden, U.S. Senator (D), Oregon

Year 2013

  • Bob Schieffer, Host CBS Face the Nation
  • Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Senator (D), Maryland
  • Saxby Chambliss, U.S. Senator (R), Georgia

Year 2012

  • Ray LaHood, 16th Secretary of Transportation (R)
  • Candy Crowley, Chief Political Correspondent and Anchor, CNN
  • Steny Hoyer, U.S. Representative (D), 5th District, Maryland

Year 2011

  • Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense (R) (2006-2011)
  • Alice Rivlin, Director, U.S. Office of Management and Budget (D) (1994-1996)
  • Wolf Blitzer, Lead Political Anchor, CNN

Year 2010

  • Tom Brokaw, Special Correspondent, NBC Nightly News
  • Cokie Roberts, Senior News Analyst, NPR and ABC News
  • David Brooks, Columnist, The New York Times

Year 2009

  • Bernard Shaw, Anchor Emeritus, CNN
  • Andrea Mitchell, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, NBC News
  • Jim Lehrer, Executive Editor and Anchor, PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

Year 2008

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, 38th Governor (R), California
  • Jane Harman, U.S. Representative (D), 36th District, California
  • Jim Saxton, U.S. Representative (R), 3rd District, New Jersey
  • Ron Brownstein, Political Director, Atlantic Media

Year 2007

  • David Broder, National Political Correspondent, The Washington Post
  • Judy Woodruff, Senior Correspondent, PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
  • Belva Davis, Television Journalist, KQED

Year 2006

  • Sherwood Boehlert, U.S. Representative (R), 24th District, New York
  • Ike Skelton, U.S. Representative (D), 4th District, Missouri

Year 2005

  • Susan Collins, U.S. Senator (R), Maine
  • Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senator (D), California
  • Joseph Lieberman, U.S. Senator (D), Connecticut

Year 2004 

  • John Breaux, U.S. Senator (D), Louisiana
  • Olympia Snowe, U.S. Senator (R), Maine

Year 2003 

  • William Cohen, Secretary of Defense (R) (1997-2001)
  • Norman Mineta, 14th Secretary of Transportation (D)
  • Marty Meehan, U.S. Representative (D), 5th District, Massachusetts
  • Christopher Shays, U.S. Representative (R), 4th District, Connecticut

Year 2002 

  • Russ Feingold, U.S. Senator (D), Wisconsin
  • John McCain, U.S. Senator (R), Arizona

Year 2001 

  • John Murtha, U.S. Representative (D), 12th District, Pennsylvania
  • Bill Young, U.S. Representative (R), 10th District, Florida

Year 2000

  • John Chafee, U.S. Senator (R), Rhode Island Posthumously
  • Daniel Patrick Moynihan, U.S. Senator (D), New York