May 2, 2018 - Environmental Activist, Actor, and Director Robert Redford Endorses Eleni Kounalakis for Lieutenant Governor of California


Redford’s endorsement adds to broad environmental support for Kounalakis’ bid for Lt. Governor

San Francisco, CA —  Today, environmental champion, actor, and director Robert Redford announced his endorsement of Eleni Kounalakis for Lt. Governor. In his statement, Redford cited Eleni’s long record of fighting for progressive values and her work to combat climate change. Redford’s announcement comes on the heels of the endorsements of the California League of Conservation Voters and Senators Bob Wieckowski, chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee and Bob Hertzberg, Chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water.

“It is my deeply held conviction that democracy thrives best when all voices are at the table,” said Redford. “With strong ties to California’s business community as well as an impressive record of fighting for gender equality, social justice, and clean air and water, Eleni Kounalakis is uniquely qualified to serve the interests of all Californians as we continue to lead the country into the 21st century. I trust Eleni to be a leader in combatting climate change and protecting California’s coast from the Trump Administration’s plans to expand offshore oil drilling.”

“Robert Redford has dedicated his life to preserving the environment for future generations,” said Kounalakis. “It is an honor to have his support in my race for Lt. Governor. When I am elected, I will fight to protect our coast from offshore oil drilling, ensure that California continues to be the lead on fighting climate change, and work to promote clean air and clean water for all California families.”

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, the California League of Conservation Voters, 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, and CA Women’s List, and over 20 Democratic clubs across California.

Kounalakis is the only 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.

As of the last filing, she had raised $2.85 million for her 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 businesswoman and diplomat. She was appointed by President Barack Obama as Ambassador to Hungary in 2010. She is a lifelong 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 First 5 Commission, where she worked to provide and improve opportunities for early childhood education. 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.