April 26, 2018 - State Senators Bob Hertzberg and Bob Wieckowski Endorse Eleni Kounalakis for Lieutenant Governor of California


Endorsement by the Chairmen of Senate Environmental Quality and Natural Resources committees solidifies Kounalakis’ position as the environmental candidate in the race for Lt. Governor

San Francisco, CA —  Today, on the heels of the California League of Conservation Voters endorsement, State Senators Bob Hertzberg and Bob Wieckowski announced their endorsement of Eleni Kounalakis for Lt. Governor. In their statements, Senators Hertzberg and Wieckowski cited Eleni’s commitment to fighting climate change and protecting California’s coast from offshore oil drilling. Their endorsements come a day after Kounalakis won the sole endorsement of the California League of Conservation Voters, the state’s preeminent environmental political and advocacy organization.

“As chair of the Environmental Quality Committee, I am proud to endorse Eleni Kounalakis for Lt. Governor,” said Wieckowski. “Eleni is committed to ensuring that we fight climate change and keep our air and water clean for all Californians. Her record of working with stakeholders to find solutions to the toughest problems is exactly the leadership we need. I look forward to working with Eleni when she is Lt. Governor to continue to ensure California's continued leadership on protecting the environment and creating a more resilient planet.”

“Eleni Kounalakis is the best choice for Lt. Governor,” said Hertzberg, Chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water. “That’s why I am supporting her for Lt. Governor. She understands what it takes to keep California the leader in the nation on environmental protection. As U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, she laid the groundwork for the Paris Climate Accord, so she knows what it will take to stop the march of climate change and mitigate its impacts. She’s also a fighter, and I know she will lead the charge against the Trump administration plan to expand oil drilling off our coasts when she is Lt. Governor.”

“I am so honored to have the endorsements of two strong leaders in the State Senate on environmental protection, Senators Hertzberg and Wieckowski,” said Kounalakis. “When I am Lt. Governor, I look forward to working closely with Sens. Wieckowski and Hertzberg to ensure that California continues to lead the nation in combating climate change, protecting clean air and water for all Californians, and standing up to the Trump Administration’s plans to expand drilling off the California coast." 

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, 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 $2.4 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.