Nowhere are good ethics more important than with the people who serve us in government. Now, one of our greatest advocates of good ethics is leaving the Obama Administration. Leon Panetta served as Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff, later as Obama’s CIA Director and as Secretary of Defense. He is the model of ethical behavior, which is why presidents chose him for the toughest jobs. Panetta served in the most critical moments in recent history, as leader of the most important departments in our government.

After serving at the highest levels, Panetta is retiring from a stellar career in Washington DC. He is to be honored, not just for his professional work but what he stood for as an ethical human being.

I became acquainted with Mr. Panetta 25 years ago, before he came to the forefront of national attention, when as a local leader in Monterey, California, he worked with me to successfully protect a wilderness area from development.

Then again a few years ago, I was in contact with Mr. Panetta after I wrote a children’s book on ethics, which Mr. Panetta generously endorsed. His endorsement reflects his personal values: “At a time when all of us may doubt the value and ethics of our society, this book offers hope that a new generation of children will learn to live their lives by the rules of decency and civility. It is aimed at helping children develop character; but in a real way, it can help all of us be better human beings.”

Thank you, Leon Panetta, for your model citizenry all these years.


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