As we approach the end of the second quarter of 2023 and the end of the 2023 fiscal year, leaders and advocates have been busy in Sacramento moving bills through the legislature and negotiating on the details of next year’s budget.
Earlier this month, Governor Newsom released his revised budget proposal. Despite growing economic risks and a budget deficit, under Governor Newsom’s leadership, California has built a strong fiscal foundation by making prudent allocations of previous surpluses and sound investments in building our reserves. This careful budgeting allows California to invest in issues most important to Californians, such as reproductive health, public higher education, climate change, and homelessness – ensuring Californians know they are at the forefront of our state’s policies.
May was also an important month for California’s public higher education systems, as all three governing boards convened for their bi-monthly meetings. At the Community College Governor’s meeting, we thanked outgoing interim Chancellor Dr. Daisy Gonzales for her service through an incredibly challenging time and prepared to welcome incoming Chancellor Sonya Christian. The UC Board of Regents made historic strides to expand equal employment opportunities to our dreamers, regardless of immigration status.
California continues to build the electric grid of the future. We are now 59% of the way to our goal of 100% clean electricity by 2045, showing the rest of the world how to set ambitious energy goals and meet them. While reaching our climate goals, we are also creating more jobs. California is still poised to become the fourth-largest economy in the world. Last month, 1 in 4 jobs created in the US were in California.
These are just a few examples of the progress we’ve made in May with additional highlights below. There is still much work to be done, but so long as we all work together, we can only go forward.
May the 4th be with you,
Lieutenant Governor of California
Lt. Governor Kounalakis sits on the governing board for all three public higher education systems in California: University of California (UC) Regents, California State University (CSU) Trustees, and California Community Colleges (CCC) Governors. In May, the Lt. Governor attended the bi-monthly UC Regents meeting at UCLA and the bi-monthly CSU Trustees meeting in Long Beach. At the Trustee’s meeting, two important reports were presented to the Board. The first was the Cozan O’Connor Systemwide Title IX and DHR Assessment and the second was the Sustainable Financial Model Workgroup report. These reports and their respective recommendations will serve as roadmaps for improving how the CSU system operates in key areas.
Expanding Opportunities for California Dreamers
During the UC Regents meeting, the regents made a groundbreaking vote to form a working group to examine the legal issue of hiring undocumented students for on-campus jobs. Lt. Governor Kounalakis made clear that she believes all undocumented students deserve to walk the same path as their peers. This vote is a historic step for the UC and a testament to California’s commitment to students.
Climate Leadership Conference
California’s commitment to climate action is second to none. Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined The Climate Registry’s 2023 Climate Leadership Conference to highlight California’s world-leading action on climate change with leaders across the country.
California Environmental Voters Townhall
The last two years were the most successful years for climate action by the federal government in history. With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, CHIPS Act, and Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the nation is poised to decarbonize our economy, slash emissions, and advance environmental justice. Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined a town hall sponsored by the California Environmental Voters to discuss the importance of turning federal dollars into action.
Environmental Leadership Award
Lt. Governor Kounalakis was awarded the Environmental Champion Award at the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters’ (LALCV) 2023 Smith Weiss Environmental Champion Awards Ceremony for California’s ambitious climate goals and unwavering commitment to preserving our planet. Other awardees include Alhambra City Councilmember Jeff Maloney, Gary Gero, and the Los Angeles Business Council.
Work is more than a paycheck. Experience and the dignity of a job is a choice ALL students deserve.@UofCalifornia is taking a first/big step to allow undocumented students to work on-campus jobs so that all students have a shot at success and the California dream. pic.twitter.com/kHNWhwvAMB— Eleni Kounalakis (@EleniForCA) May 18, 2023
Thanks to the leadership of Governor Newsom, our state legislature, and climate leaders of our state, California is on track to reach our ambitious clean energy goals
Goals set, goals met:
33% renewable energy
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels
1.5M zero-emission vehicles sold
Meeting with Mexican Ambassador to the U.S.
On May 1st, Lt. Governor Kounalakis welcomed Mexican Ambassador to the United States, Esteban Moctezuma Barragán, to California where he was participating in the annual Mexico Advocacy Day events. It goes without saying that Mexico is one of California’s most important international partners.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg Visits the Golden State
On May 9th, Lt. Governor Kounalakis welcomed His Royal Highness Crown Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg to the Golden State. The Lt. Governor highlighted California’s partnership with Luxembourg, with Luxembourg being California’s 12th largest source of Foreign Direct Investment and over 13,000 California jobs created from their companies.
That same day, Lt. Governor Kounalakis helped commemorate the Europe Day holiday at a reception hosted by the newly-established European Union diplomatic office in San Francisco. This office, which focuses heavily on international digital and tech issues, is one of the only EU diplomatic posts located outside the national capital. The event, which was attended by the Consuls General of the EU member states, was a great opportunity to highlight the shared values and lasting friendships California shares with our friends in Europe.
China California Business Forum
On May 22, Lt. Governor Kounalakis was the keynote speaker at the 2023 China California Business Forum hosted by the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles. Last year China was California’s number one foreign trading partner, with $165 billion in two-way trade. There, she welcomed newly-arrived Consul General Shaochun Guo to California and also met with Vice Governor Wei Fang of Jiangsu Province, which is a sister state of California.
Chinese Railroad Workers History Center
Florence Fang launched the opening of the Chinese Railroad Workers History Center in San Francisco on May 10th. This date also marked the 154th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit in Utah, which was the completion of the Transcontinental Railway that was built by Chinese laborers. The amazing feats of engineering across our country like the Transcontinental Railway were made possible by Chinese laborers and California is immensely grateful for their indispensable contributions.
First People of California
Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, to meet with the Pechanga Tribal Council for a historical and cultural tour of their reservation. They saw firsthand their resolve to maintain the sacred traditions of their people while building new opportunities for the present and future generations. California recognizes tribal sovereignty and knows we must continue to support the first people of our state.
Kicking off AAPI Heritage Month
To kick off Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) to honor our AAPI communities for their contributions to our state and nation’s history. With more than 6 million Californians of AAPI descent, California is proud of the richness, culture, and innovation they bring to our state.
Honoring our Fallen Peace Officers
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which May 15 falls as National Police Week. This year, as always, the California Peace Officers Memorial Foundation hosted ceremonies in May to honor the California Peace Officers who gave their lives in the line of duty last year. Lt. Governor Kounalakis was honored to address their family members in a private ceremony and to participate with the Governor and others in the public commemoration.
The Impact of Science on our Workforce
Lt. Governor Kounalakis welcomed businesses from around the world for Global: SF’s SelectUSA Spinoff Event. Each year, the U.S. Department of Commerce hosts the SelectUSA Investment Summit to promote job-creating investment in the U.S. Building off that event, Global: SF brought businesses together to promote investment, innovation, and economic growth in the Bay Area. This year, Global: SF highlighted how life sciences have grown to an industry that creates more than $160 billion in economic impact, employs more than 170,000 people and supports more than 400,000 jobs in the region.
Builders of California
California Building Industry Association (CBIA) hosted the Lt. Governor for a Leader-to-Leader conversation with CBIA’s President and CEO, Dan Dunmoyer, to discuss housing, permitting, California’s budget, and homelessness. This was part of the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) pre-conference events with the nation’s largest residential builders and developers.
The Fight for Reproductive Rights Continues
California continues to lead on Reproductive Freedom. In May, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined 65 NARAL members for their lobby day in Sacramento to discuss the importance of this year’s Future of Abortion Council bill package and how California will continue to safeguard women’s reproductive rights.
New Planned Parenthood Health Center
California is, and will always be a reproductive freedom state. In May, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined Planned Parenthood Northern California’s CEO, Gilda Gonzalez, to tour the new San Francisco Flagship Health Center.
- Joined the California Teachers Association (CTA) to speak with California’s educators to answer questions and share the story of how education unlocked the California Dream for her family.
- Attended California Highway Patrol’s Memorial Service to pay respects to the men and women of CHP who have given their lives in service of others.
- Provided remarks at East-West Bank’s 50th Anniversary Celebration to celebrate 50 years of financial and banking services to historically underserved communities across Los Angeles, California, and eventually around the globe.
- Swore-in Maria Mehranian to the Delta Stewardship Council, appointed by Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. Maria has served as a gubernatorial appointee on the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board from 2008-2016.
- Met with CARB member and former Assemblymember, Hector De La Torre, to discuss the roles of infrastructure, transportation, and agriculture in meeting the state’s environmental goals by 2030 and 2045.
- Joined the Ladies of Town and Country for a fireside chat with Donna Colson, Vice-Mayor of Burlingame. The conversation centered on Lt. Governor Kounalakis’ time in Budapest, public service, statewide policies, and vision for California.
- Recognized 56 of California’s Community Colleges at the Campaign for College Opportunity’s 2nd annual Excellence in Placement Awards for their achievement in placing students in transfer-level math and English courses.
- Spoke at the California Professional Firefighters Legislative Conference to thank the men and women firefighters for their commitment and service in their communities, as well as issues that impact workers directly such as workers’ compensation, retirement security, health, and safety.
- Kicked off the Association of General Contractors Legislative Advocacy Day by engaging in a fireside chat with Felipe Fuentes to discuss California’s economy, prioritizing the increase of housing, and how to leverage federal dollars to the state’s infrastructure projects.
- Provided remarks at the Contra Costa, Alameda, Napa/Solano Joint Legislative Breakfast to talk about support for upward mobility and Women in Trades, Safety, and Health, Prevailing wages, and the need to protect labor agreements.
- Joined California labor leaders and members at the Sacramento Central Labor Council’s Legislative Breakfast which was hosted by the California Labor Federation, Sacramento Labor Council, and the Building Trades Union. Lt. Governor Kounalakis expressed her support for workers’ rights to unionize to be codified in the California Constitution and her support for fair wages and benefits, including pensions.