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As we bid farewell to 2023, we reflect on a year of significant progress and resilience in the Golden State. In our ongoing pursuit of a clean energy future, 2023 was a remarkable year, with strides made towards reducing our carbon footprint and embracing sustainable practices. Moreover, it was a year of empowerment, with workers across California standing up for their rights and advocating for fair treatment in the workplace. 

Amidst these achievements, we also pause to acknowledge important milestones and moments that remind us of the work ahead. Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled his 2024-25 state budget proposal, indicating a budget shortfall. Despite economic headwinds, we’ve prepared for a challenging budget year by building record reserves and responsible budgeting over past budget cycles. Thanks to Governor Newsom’s leadership, this balanced budget plan will allow the state to maintain fiscal stability while protecting key priorities and programs that millions of Californians rely on. 

January also served as a reminder of the work still ahead in the fight for a more just and equitable state. We celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Holocaust Remembrance Day, which both serve as solemn reminders of past injustices and ever-important work we must continue to pursue to combat hatred and discrimination. 

These observances remind us that the journey towards safety and equality is ongoing, not just in California but across the globe. As we enter the new year, let us renew our commitment to values that define our great state, such as climate action, equity, and the fundamental right to choose. California has long been a trailblazer in these efforts, and we will continue to lead by example, driving progress and innovation in the years to come. 

Despite ongoing challenges, we are optimistic about California’s future. Here’s to a bright and promising 2024 for all Californians and the exciting work ahead. 


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Eleni Kounalakis
Lieutenant Governor of California


New Long Beach Affordable Housing and Health & Wellness Center 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis toured the new TCC Family Health and Wellness Center in Long Beach. The new center is slated to open this summer thanks in part to $1 million in state funding secured through the advocacy of Senator Lena Gonzalez. The center is expected to serve over 9,000 patients annually and provide wrap-around services for underserved, multilingual community members of all ages, including pediatric and adult health care, women’s health services, dental health services, acupuncture, behavioral health services, and a pharmacy. The new facility will also include 88 units of affordable apartments owned and managed by BRIDGE Housing Corporation, a leading nonprofit developer and owner of affordable housing for families and seniors in California, Oregon, and Washington. 

After the tour, Lt. Governor Kounalakis met with Long Beach Midtown Business Improvement District members in the historic Cambodia Town. The discussion focused on local issues surrounding the business community, including homelessness, retail theft, and public safety. The Midtown Business Improvement District (BID) is a thriving community landmark for diversity in Long Beach, full of families, businesses, and shopping centers. The City of Long Beach utilizes BID to strengthen small businesses, create and retain jobs, attract new businesses, and revitalize commercial corridors across the city. 

Healing & Hope for Monterey Park      

This year marks the first anniversary of the mass shooting in Monterey Park. In remembrance of this tragic incident, Lt. Governor Kounalakis spent the day meeting with leaders and community members in Monterey Park to honor the lives of the eleven victims and California’s efforts to help prevent gun violence. Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined state, local, and federal representatives at the community Roundtable on Healing and Hope to reflect on the year since the shooting and attended the first-anniversary candlelight vigil.  

#MLK Day 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis attended and provided remarks at the Southern California Black Chamber of Commerce MLK Prayer Breakfast in Palm Springs. In honor of Dr. King’s legacy and message of economic equity, the Chamber awarded the Entrepreneur Award to five local business leaders. 

LIUNA Laborers  

Lt. Governor Kounalakis provided remarks at the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2023 from LiUNA’s Laborers Training School. LiUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America) operates an apprenticeship training program that serves 12 counties in Southern California.  Through this training program, apprentices gain essential training for jobs in the construction industry. This year’s graduation class was over 500 members strong, with apprentices gaining skills and training in the fields of construction, cement masonry, landscape irrigation, and brick laying. 

Anti-semitism Forum 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined Reginal Director for Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and former Assemblymember Marc Levine and Rabbi Paul Steinberg of the Congregation for Kol Shofar for a community forum to learn about the rise of antisemitism and ways California can address this issue.  

“In the aftermath of October 7th, there has been a dramatic and disturbing increase in incidents about antisemitism across the nation, including reported cases within our universities,” said California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis. “As a board member for all three of our higher education systems, we take this issue very seriously and will continue to ensure our students feel safe and can confidently pursue their education on our campuses.” 

Eleni Kounalakis

Lieutenant Governor


Never Forget, Never Again 

On January 26th, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined with members of the International Consular Corps in San Francisco to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  The ceremony was held at the San Francisco Legion of Honor’s Holocaust Memorial. It was co-hosted by the Consulates General of Israel, Germany, and Ireland, along with the San Francisco Chapter of the American Jewish Community and the Jewish Family and Children’s Services Holocaust Center.  Lt. Governor Kounalakis delivered remarks emphasizing the importance of education and the need to combat anti-Semitism.  

U.K. Ambassador Visits the Golden State  

On January 23, Lt. Governor Kounalakis met with the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to the United States, Dame Karen Pierce, to discuss the deep and impressive economic ties between California and the United Kingdom, California’s number two source of foreign direct investment. They also discussed recent developments in the Artificial Intelligence sector, noting that California leads the way in this rapidly expanding field. At the same time, the UK represents the third largest hub for AI research and development, following the U.S. and China.   


SF Port Draft Waterfront Plan 

Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis joined Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, San Francisco Port Director Elaine Forbes, and other state and local leaders to announce an important milestone in the San Francisco Waterfront Flood Study: the release of the Draft Plan, a major step in San Francisco’s effort to make the city more resilient to coastal flooding and sea level rise. The plan includes a diverse range of interventions to reduce severe future flood risks, such as raising the shoreline, floodproofing buildings, making seismic improvements, and utilizing nature-based features. The plan also includes a monitoring and adaptation plan to track rising sea levels. The initial estimated cost of the plan is approximately $13 billion. If Congress approves, the federal government is slated to cover 65% of the implementation costs associated with the Draft Plan. 


The link to the press release can be found here 

TAE Technologies Tour 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis toured TAE Technologies, a company pioneering large-scale commercial fusion power. Safe and carbon-free fusion energy has the potential to be a transformational power source for our grid and electric vehicles while creating jobs. During her visit, the Lt. Governor toured their fifth-generation fusion device. She received a sneak peek into the breakthrough technologies for the grid and electric vehicles they are building with their TAE Power Solutions team. 

Economic Development  

Astranis Tour  

Started in a studio apartment in San Francisco in 2015, Astranis Space Technologies Corp. is a San Francisco-based company specializing in geostationary communications satellites that has grown to approximately 350 employees. Lt. Governor Kounalakis toured the manufacturing facility, which included their robotics section and where testing occurs. Following the tour, she discussed Astranis, their motivation for investments in California, and future partnerships. Astranis aims to scale its production capabilities to 24 satellites annually, bringing hundreds of manufacturing jobs back to San Francisco. 

Higher Education 

UC Regents Meeting  

Lt. Governor Kounalakis attended the UC Regents meeting at UC San Francisco. The item that dominated the discussion was Equitable Student Employment/Opportunity for All. A working group was formed in May 2023 to explore the possibility of the UC employing undocumented students. Ultimately, legal counsel and the Regents decided there was too much risk associated with moving forward with this policy and will delay implementation by one year while continuing to look for creative solutions to help UC’s undocumented students. The LG remarked on the decision, “When my father immigrated to the United States, his ability to work was foundational for the success of our family. The decision to delay implementation of this policy prevents our students from accessing those same opportunities.” 


CSU Trustees Meeting 

The Lt. Governor attended the January meeting of the CSU Board of Trustees. As part of the meeting, and at the request of the Lt. Governor, the Trustees were updated on the CSU’s progress in repatriating Native American remains and artifacts that, under federal and state law, must be returned to California Tribes. The Lt. Governor called for this presentation in October 2023 following the release of a June 2023 California State Auditor’s Report that estimated CSU campuses have nearly 700,000 items subject to NAGPRA and CalNAGPRA and since the enactment of those laws more than XX decades ago, only 6% of the CSU’s collection have been returned. 

During the meeting, the Lt. Governor stated: It’s clear that the CSU has fallen short. We have a lot of work ahead of us. I commend Chancellor Garcia and Chair Fong for their unequivocal statements to prioritize righting this historical wrong.”  


CCC & Calbright Board of Trustees Meetings 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis attended the California Community Colleges (CCC) Governors and Calbright Board of Trustees Meetings this month. At the Calbright Board of Trustees meeting, the Strategic Vision for 2024-2027 was approved, guiding Calbright College as it completes its 7-year start-up period. The Strategic Vision aligns with and serves the California Community College’s Vision 2030 roadmap. 

Other Highlights 

  • Attended Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas’ Reception  
  • Met with Long Beach Mayor Rex Richardson