Obama Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Endorses Evelyn Farkas for Congress

Monday, April 13, 2020

Elmsford, NY — Today, Evelyn Farkas, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Obama, announced that former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has endorsed her campaign to succeed retiring Rep. Nita Lowey in New York’s 17th Congressional District.

“When I was Secretary of Defense, Evelyn served me and the nation as an outstanding public servant,” Panetta said. “She will serve you as an outstanding member of Congress.”

Farkas and Panetta began working closely when she was selected to serve as his sherpa, or Special Assistant for the NATO Summit of 2012. She was subsequently appointed by President Obama to serve as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, where she directly advised Panetta on U.S. policy towards Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. 

Before becoming the 23rd Secretary of Defense under President Obama, Panetta’s illustrious career included a lengthy tenure in the House of Representatives and service in critical appointed positions including as Director of the CIA under President Obama and Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Chief of Staff for President Bill Clinton.  Early in his career, he served in the US Army, stood up for civil rights under Richard Nixon, and worked for the mayor of New York City. 

“I am truly honored to have the support of Secretary Panetta, who was a mentor to me during my tenure at the Department of Defense and is someone I continue to consider a role model,,” Farkas said. “Secretary Panetta is also the child of immigrants and exemplifies hard work and service to country.  I am exceedingly proud of the work we did together, keeping Americans safe and standing up for democracy and the rule of law. Today, with the Republican assault against voting rights, healthcare, and a woman’s right to choose, I am running for Congress to continue the mission to which Secretary Panetta and I have dedicated our careers: defending our nation’s values and protecting the promise of the American Dream.”

Secretary Panetta’s endorsement adds to a growing list of support for Farkas from some of our nation’s most experienced leaders, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, Senators Carl Levin and Bob Graham, Representatives Marcy Kaptur and Tom Malinowksi, and progressive activists Rob Reiner and Jane Lynch.

The daughter of refugees from Hungary and a Westchester native, Evelyn Farkas has devoted her life to serving her country and fighting for economic and political freedom. She is the only candidate in the race with decades of federal experience, including drafting and passing legislation and managing crises in the White House Situation Room. Evelyn, a high-ranking Department of Defense official appointed by President Obama, is the only candidate in the race to stand up to Trump and far-right allies like Sean Hannity. Evelyn is running for Congress to bring her experience to bear on our nation's greatest challenges—from stemming the coronavirus pandemic to expanding healthcare coverage and reversing climate change.

For more information, visit https://evelynforny.com/ or email wellesley@evelynforny.com.