April 17, 2018 - U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi Endorses Eleni Kounalakis for Lieutenant Governor of California


Democratic Leader’s endorsement solidifies Kounalakis’ position as Democratic frontrunner in the race for Lt. Governor

San Francisco, CA — Today, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi announced her endorsement of Eleni Kounalakis for Lt. Governor. In her statement, Pelosi cited Eleni’s lifetime of accomplishments and her commitment to protecting California values and creating economic opportunities for all Californians. 

“I am pleased to endorse Eleni Kounalakis for Lt. Governor of California because she is a committed advocate for economic innovation and job creation, education, and health care. As a mother of two boys, Eleni served on ‘First 5 California’ – the Children and Families Commission – where she helped shape policies to improve the lives of children in our state,” said Leader Pelosi. “Her service on the San Francisco Port Commission, California’s First Five Commission and International Trade and Investment Advisory Council, and as US Ambassador to Hungary during President Obama’s Administration make her well-prepared to help lead our state with vision and experience," concluded Leader Pelosi.

“As the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives, Leader Pelosi is the highest-ranking woman in the history of our country,” said Kounalakis. “She represents our city of San Francisco with intelligence, grit and grace. I was honored to have her speak at the U.S. Senate in support of my confirmation as a U.S. Ambassador. And I am honored to have her endorsement of my campaign for Lt. Governor. Together, we will continue to build a better, stronger California for all our families, and all our children.”

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 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 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 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.