Image of CA Seal

July in California was as hot as the highly anticipated release of Barbenheimer, with temperatures in the triple digits. But July was not all about highs in the entertainment industry. Entertainment is a cornerstone of California’s economy, generating hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars for our economy. Although Hollywood has evolved, contracts and wages haven’t kept up. This fight extends beyond Hollywood – all Californians deserve a living wage and fair working conditions.  

As we gear up for more extreme heat, California continues to invest in resources to help keep Californians cool and wildfire preparedness. California is leading the way in addressing climate-related challenges like wildfires and investing in infrastructure to minimize our carbon footprint and ensure communities are resilient.  

This month, the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees was presented with a proposal to raise tuition by more than 33% over a five-year period. The CSU has changed the lives of millions of families, including my own, by giving students access to an affordable four-year degree. I strongly oppose a tuition increase and will continue to fight for our students to ensure all Californians have access to a college education and a shot at the California dream. 

From the first FDA-approved over-the-counter birth control to California’s strides in infrastructure, these are just a few examples of our progress as a state and a country. Much work is needed, but California continues to lead the way.  


Image of Lt. Governors signature

Eleni Kounalakis
Lieutenant Governor of California

Image of Lt. Governor Kounalakis with students at Cal State LA

Higher Education

CSU Tuition Increase Proposal  

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined student leaders at Cal State Los Angeles for a roundtable discussion on the CSU system’s proposal to increase tuition by 6% annually for the next five years. The proposal would represent a 33% increase in annual tuition for in-state students over five years to address a $1.5 billion budget shortfall identified in the Sustainable Financial Model Workgroup report. 

Image of Lt. Governor Kounalakis with students at Cal State LA
Image of Lt. Governor Kounalakis with students at Cal State LA

The roundtable discussion included student leaders from Cal Poly Pomona, CSU-Dominguez Hills, Cal State LA, CSU-Northridge, CSU-Long Beach, as well as leadership from the California State Student Association (CSSA).  Lt. Governor Kounalakis was able to hear directly from students on how this proposal would affect them, their families, and their classmates. The Lt. Governor reiterated her message from Board of Trustees meetings that the system must better understand how this tuition increase will impact students, especially the 40% of students who do not have their tuition fully covered. 


UC Regents Efforts to Get More Heads in Beds  

The University of California Board of Regents also met this month and voted to approve preliminary funding plans for a collaborative affordable student housing project between UC Merced and Merced Community College District that could deliver 488 affordable beds in fall 2026. A 2020 report from UCLA found that 1 in 5 Community College, 1 in 10 California State University, and 1 in 20 University of California students experience homelessness during a given academic year. Providing more affordable housing for students across our higher ed systems will be a key way to not only address housing insecurity for our students but also ensure they can attend college and graduate in a timely manner.  


The CSU Makes History  

The July Board of Trustees meeting was historic for the future of the California State University system. Dr. Mildred Garcia was appointed as the 11th chancellor and the first Latina to lead the CSU system. Dr. Garcia has served as the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) president since 2018 and has been a strong advocate for public higher education at the national level.  

Heritage America Program 

The Lt. Governor met with Greek American undergraduate and graduate students participating in the Heritage America Program from the National Hellenic Society. She shared the story of her father, who arrived in the United States as a teenager, and the transformative nature of a CSU education for their family. 

Image of Greek-America students

International Affairs 

Interagency Committee Meeting 

On July 27th, Lt. Governor Kounalakis chaired California’s International Affairs and Trade Development Interagency Committee meeting. The Interagency Committee brought together state agencies, departments, and programs engaged in international activity to ensure cohesion in our international engagements and to provide the public with an opportunity to learn and provide feedback on the work on the state. During the meeting, committee members reported outcomes from the California Trade Mission to Japan in March, highlighted international engagements over the past six months, and identified priorities for future international meetings. 


Californians Deserve Fair Wages  

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined IATSE 192 and Unite Here 11 at Universal Studios Picket Line to support fair wages and working conditions. While IASTSE has reached a deal with the theme park, Unite Here, whose members work in food and concessions, has yet to reach an agreement. 

Image of Lt. Governor Kounalakis at IATSE 192 and Unite Here strike
Image of Lt. Governor Kounalakis speaking at IATSE 192 and Unite Here strike

Mare Island Tour  

On July 18th, the Lt. Governor’s team joined Mare Island Company for a tour of Mare Island in Vallejo. Staff viewed various aspects of the island, including the marina, economic development sites, and Touro University, a private graduate school focused primarily on health professions. Staff also toured the Factory OS manufacturing site, a construction company that builds modular multi-family and affordable housing units.  

Economic Development 

Moving California, Forward! 

In July, the Lt. Governor collaborated with California Forward to announce this year’s California Economic Summit launch which will be held October 11-13, where the Lt. Governor will be a featured speaker at this year’s event. The summit will bring together leaders from all sectors, industries, and communities to identify solutions to some of our state’s most pressing issues.