SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Greek-American Eleni Kounalakis and Ed Hernandez, both Democrats, are the two out of the 11 candidates who will continue on to the general elections vying for the position of lieutenant governor for California.
“We did it! With nearly 100% of precincts reporting, our campaign for a better, stronger California came out on top last night,” Kounalakis said via her Facebook webpage. “Our first-place finish would not have happened without you, and we’re going to need your help as we bring this fight to November!”
“Californians have showed us they want a Lieutenant Governor who will fight to protect our coastline, make higher education, housing, and healthcare affordable, and fight for equality in the workplace. And when we win this, I will be a champion for all Californian families” Kounalakis said.
Lt. Governor (top two advance) 100% reporting via eastbayexpress.com
Eleni Kounalakis (D): 23.5%*
Ed Hernandez (D): 20.8%*
Cole Harris (R): 18.3%
Jeff Bleich (D): 9.3%
Dave Fennell (R): 8.3%
Lydia Ortega: 6.6%
David Hernandez (R): 6.2%
Gayle McLaughlin: 3.6%
The lieutenant governor is the president of the state Senate and is first in line to succeed the governor.
In October 2017 Eleni Kounalakis took time out of her busy schedule to talk with The National Herald about her run for Lieutenant Governor of California.
When asked if she always wanted to go into politics, Kounalakis told TNH, “I was raised in it. My earliest jobs in high school, growing up in Sacramento, were at the capitol, I interned in Washington, DC. I went to a girls’ school for high school, and dressed up as Walter Mondale and debated a girl dressed up as Ronald Reagan. My very first paying job in my life was at the California Democratic Party in 1992, I worked for Phil Angelides and it was a big election. California turned blue and we haven’t looked back.”
Married to veteran journalist Markos Kounalakis with whom she has two teenaged sons Neo and Eon, the former US Ambassador to Hungary told TNH that her family is from “outside of Tripoli, Rizes in Arcadia and my husband’s family is from Chania.”
Education is another vital issue in the campaign. Kounalakis said, “The Lieutenant Governor has an important role to play in the economy and in higher education because you sit on the board of the CSU and the UC, and this is very personal for me because my father went to Sacramento State University and he paid his way through on a waiter’s salary and I look at the story of my family, my grandmother in Greece never learned to read or write. She let her son go to America to work in the fields at age 14 and her granddaughter was sent back to Europe by the President of the United States as an American Ambassador and the pivot point was Sacramento State on a waiter’s salary. Ours is an extreme example, but there are millions of families in California that have traveled the same route, so we need to make absolutely sure that we’re able to offer that education at the CSU, the UC, and our community colleges, not just to be comparably less expensive than private institutions, but that they are within reach of any Californian who wants to pursue that education. It has become too expensive, so I’ll be working to fight to bring that cost down.”