March 26, 2018 - Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club and Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club Endorse Eleni Kounalakis for Lieutenant Governor


Kounalakis consolidates support from prominent LGBTQ organizations across California in bid for Lt. Governor

San Francisco, CA — Today, the Eleni Kounalakis for Lt. Governor campaign announced that she has received the endorsement of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club and the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club. These key endorsements come after Kounalakis received the endorsement of Equality California, the largest LGBTQ advocacy organization in the country, in December and the Stonewall Young Democrats last month. Kounalakis has received the broadest support in the race for Lt. Governor from LGBTQ organizations across the state.

“As the first LGBT Democratic club in the nation, we are proud to endorse Eleni Kounalakis for Lieutenant Governor,” said Eric Lukoff and Gina Simi, co-chairs of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club. “Eleni has been an advocate for LGBTQ equality throughout her life in public service and as a Democratic activist, including her support of marriage equality and opposition to Proposition 8 in 2008. We know that as Lt. Governor, she will continue to work to advance the rights of LGBTQ Californians.” 

“Eleni Kounalakis has proven herself to be an ally to the LGBTQ community,” said Honey Mahogany, Co-President of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club. “That along with her commitment to immigrant communities and communities of color is why the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club is proud to endorse Eleni in her race for Lt. Governor. We trust that she will continue that work when she is Lt. Governor of California.”

“I am deeply honored to receive the endorsements of the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club and the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club,” said Kounalakis. “I am committed to ensuring that we protect the rights of the LGBTQ community and continue to enhance protections for all Californians. In these troubling times of attacks on Californians from the Trump administration, we must stand up for our California values of inclusion and diversity. As Lt. Governor, I look forward to working with the LGBTQ community to ensure that LGBTQ Californians are safe in school, in the workplace, and in society.”

Equality California, in their endorsement of Kounalakis in December, wrote about Ambassador Kounalakis’s role in Hungary working on behalf of LGBTQ rights.  “As Ambassador to Hungary, Kounalakis worked tirelessly to improve the lives of LGBTQ people there who are subject to lack of acceptance and extreme violence. She used government resources to support the LGBTQ community in Budapest, including contributing cultural funds to support Budapest Pride Week. As a result of her engagement and visible support for LGBTQ equality, the embassy and American government were recognized on all materials for Pride Week and Kounalakis was the first U.S. Ambassador to Hungary to march in the Budapest Pride Parade, putting the weight of American diplomacy behind efforts to change hearts and minds in the country, advocate against violence towards LGBTQ people, and provide an extra layer of protection for LGBTQ Hungarians participating in the week’s activities.”

Kounalakis comes armed with a growing list of endorsements from prominent Democratic elected officials and organizations, like U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, the California Federation of Teachers, EMILY’s List, Equality California, NARAL Pro-Choice California, Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, California State University Employees Union SEIU 2579, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr., Representatives Nanette Barragan, Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren, Doris Matsui, Jerry McNerney, Jimmy Panetta, Eric Swalwell, and Mike Thompson, former State Senator Mark Leno, Assembly members Blanca Rubio and Kevin McCarty, Los Angeles City Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Nury Martinez, CA Women’s List, and the Sacramento, Stonewall, Fresno, Marin, San Fernando Valley and Ventura County Young Democrats.

Kounalakis is the only viable Democratic woman in the race for Lt. Governor. Her unique blend of experience as a successful business woman and job creator and government experience as a U.S. Ambassador has resulted in Kounalakis vaulting to the front of the field for the Top Two primary.

She recently announced that she had raised $2.4 million in the campaign, more than any other candidate in the race, and has more cash on hand than any of her opponents as we head into the critical last few months of the primary campaign.

Kounalakis is the only candidate in the race to visit all 58 counties. She spent the summer and fall traveling across the state, meeting with Democratic central committees, clubs, and activists, and community leaders. She has received support from hundreds of delegates to the CDP convention and has built a base of grassroots support that will help her advance to the general election and win in November.

Kounalakis is a business woman and diplomat. She was appointed by President Barack Obama as Ambassador to Hungary in 2010. She is a life-long Democrat and five-time delegate to the Democratic National Convention and worked as an advocate for early childhood education as a member of California's First 5 Commission and the Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism.

She was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to lead the California International Trade and Investment Advisory Council and served as a member of the San Francisco Port Commission. Prior to serving our country in the diplomatic corps, she was president of AKT Development Corporation in Sacramento, where she helped deliver tens of thousands of affordable homes for middle-class families. Kounalakis was born and raised in Sacramento and is a graduate of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and Dartmouth College. She and her husband, Markos, live in San Francisco where they are raising their two teenage sons.

Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis marching in the gay pride parade in Budapest.

Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis marching in the gay pride parade in Budapest.