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February was a time of reflection, celebration, and progress as we honored significant milestones and embraced the spirit of unity and resilience. This month, we proudly recognized Black History Month, a time to pay homage to the remarkable achievements, history, and contributions of Black individuals who have shaped California and our world. From trailblazing pioneers to influential leaders, their legacies inspire and uplift us all. 

Additionally, February marked the joyous occasion of the Lunar New Year, a celebration that holds profound significance for California’s vibrant Chinese community.  We extend our heartfelt wishes for happiness, good fortune, and a prosperous Year of the Dragon to all who celebrate. 

This month also marked a historic victory for CSU Student Assistants, who voted to become one of the nation’s largest represented groups of predominately undergraduate student workers. This landmark moment underscores California’s role in leading the fight for fair wages, respect, and dignity for all workers.   

This month, the Lt. Governor also celebrated California’s investments in our ports and joined the Port of Los Angeles to announce near-record volumes in cargo, a testament to our state’s economic vitality and global significance.  

Amidst these triumphs, we remain resolute in our commitment to addressing the most pressing issues of our time, like climate change. California continues to lead the charge in building a carbon-free, clean energy future, forging partnerships with leaders worldwide to ensure a sustainable and brighter tomorrow. 

As we look ahead, let us embrace the spirit of optimism and possibility that defines our great state. Together, we will continue to chart a course toward a brighter, more inclusive future for all who call California home. 


Image of Lt. Governors signature

Eleni Kounalakis
Lieutenant Governor of California


Nation’s First Transgender Voting Center  

Lt. Governor Kounalakis attended and spoke at the Connie Norman Transgender Empowerment Center (CONTEC) press conference as they announced the first-in-the-nation Vote Center at an establishment serving the transgender community. She was joined by Los Angeles City Councilwoman Katy Young Yaroslavsky and the Human Rights Campaign of Los Angeles. CONTEC is a facility that provides resources, training, support, and medical services for transgender people living in the Los Angeles area. The purpose of the voting center is to provide a safe and welcoming space for Californians to exercise their right to vote, regardless of gender identity or expression.    

2024 California Tribal Nations Summit 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined the Governor’s Office of Tribal Affairs for their 2024 California Tribal Nations Summit. During her speech, the Lt. Governor applauded the countless contributions of the tribal communities to California’s economy. As a member of the State Lands Commission, she also discussed the commission’s role in providing solutions to the long-term preservation of crucial tribal land and resources. 

Rancho Mirage Writers Festival   

Lt. Governor Kounalakis attended the Rancho Mirage Writers Festival and interviewed Anand Giridharadas, author of The Persuaders: At the Front Lines of the Fight for Hearts, Minds, and Democracy. This year’s theme was “Celebrating Ten Years of Rancho Mirage Writers Festival.” The interview conversation centered on the power of persuasion and the status of American democracy during this election year.  

Napa Valley Vintners Annual Meeting  

The Lt. Governor was a featured guest at the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) Annual Meeting. She participated in a conversation with NVV’s President and CEO, Linda Reiff, regarding issues such as climate change, threats from wildfires, access to affordable insurance, and the long-term relevance of Napa as a premier wine region. While Napa Valley produces just 4% of California wine, it contributes more than $50 billion per year to the U.S. economy. 

Hearts in SF Gala   

Lt. Governor Kounalakis attended the 20th anniversary of Hearts in SF, an annual gala that raises funds for Zuckerberg San Francisco General (ZSFG) Hospital and Trauma Center. ZSFG is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the entire community, regardless of one’s ability to pay or their immigration status. Currently, 90% of their patients are Medicaid, Medicare or uninsured/homeless individuals.  

California Optometric Association  

The Lt. Governor attended and provided remarks at the California Optometric Association House of Delegates Welcome Reception. The association represents over 2,500 optometrists in the state and over 1,000 optometry students. Many members are small business owners, and the Lt. Governor emphasized the importance of small businesses to our economy. In California, 90% of businesses employ less than 20 people.


Her Royal Highness of Sweden Comes to California  

On Tuesday, February 20th, Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined Governor Newsom to welcome Her Royal Highnesses, the Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, and the Swedish delegation to the Golden State. California and Sweden share a deep commitment to combating climate change. During her visit, Her Royal Highness attended a signing ceremony for a new Letter of Cooperation to advance Sweden and California’s partnership in climate action and sustainability further.   

On Thursday, February 22nd, the Lt. Governor spoke at the Green Transition Summit, where she met again with Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. During the event, leaders from Academia, Industry, and Government from Sweden and California discussed opportunities for deeper collaboration within the Green Transition, advancing innovation, and setting successful sustainable policies. 

Welcoming New Consul General from Mexico to California 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis met with Mexico’s new Consul General in California’s capital city, the Honorable Christian Tonatiuh Gonzales Jimenez, who most recently served as chief of protocol and public diplomacy at the Permanent Mission of Mexico in the United Nations. As the number one destination for exports from California and number two source of imports, Mexico is one of California’s most important foreign partners. Mexico maintains ten consulates in California. 


Port of LA Media Briefing  

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka for a media briefing on the latest cargo volume and trends. They discussed the state’s investment in port infrastructure, efforts to boost international trade, and sustainability initiatives. In January 2024, the Port of Los Angeles managed 856,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), marking the second-strongest beginning of the year. Surpassed solely by the pandemic-triggered cargo boom in 2022, this month also marked the sixth consecutive period of year-over-year growth.  

Current and historical cargo data, including fiscal year-end totals, are available here.   

Watch the briefing here 

 “California’s historic investments in our state’s supply chain infrastructure are designed to make our ports more competitive and sustainable,” said Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis. “With updates in infrastructure, digitalization, and zero-emission projects at the Port of Los Angeles, California’s supply chains are moving goods efficiently, accelerating the decarbonization of the state freight sector, all while creating high-quality jobs.”  

Eleni Kounalakis

Lieutenant Governor

11th Annual Life Sciences Academy    

Lt. Governor Kounalakis attended the 11th Annual Life Sciences Academy Event as a keynote speaker, where members of California Life Sciences and legislative leaders came together for a two-day event to address issues facing the life sciences sector. California Life Sciences has over 1,200 member companies in industries such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical technology, diagnostics, venture capital firms, and academic and research institutions.  

Meeting of the State Lands Commission on February 26th 

The Lt. Governor attended the State Lands Commission’s first meeting of the year, during which the Commission heard updates on offshore wind development, sea level rise guidance, and the Port of San Francisco’s waterfront flood study. The Commission also welcomed its new chair for 2024, Controller Malia Cohen, and a new representative from the Department of Finance. By promoting renewable energy, environmental stewardship, responsible land management, and advancing the growth of offshore wind in the state, the State Lands Commission is helping California lead the charge towards a clean energy future.  

A full recap can be found here. 

Economic Development  

CAPA Annual Ports Day 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined the California Association of Port Authorities (CAPA) during their Annual Ports Day in Sacramento. The attendees included the Executive Directors for all 11 public ports in California, port commissioners, and critical port staff. CAPA is responsible for handling 40% of all containerized imports and 30% of all exports in the U.S., with more than one million California jobs and three million jobs nationally linked to trade through CAPA member ports.  

Higher Education 

Historic Win for CSU Student Assistants 

The Lt. Governor met with CSUEU President Catherine Hutchinson and Executive Director Jim Philliou to discuss the election to form a union for CSU student assistants. History was made, with a 97% turnout of the over 7,000ballots cast in favor of forming the union. This historic vote will create one of the largest student worker organizations in the country and allow CSU student workers to better advocate for fair pay, sick time, and affordable parking.  

UC Regents 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis attended the special session of UC Regents in February. Also discussed at the meeting was a policy that would have instituted a “campus experience” as a graduation requirement. She is awaiting a final report in the fall from the Presidential Task Force on Instructional Modalities and UC Quality Undergraduate Degree Programs and how it will guide future online learning at the University of California. 

Campaign for College Opportunity 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis met with Executive Vice President Jessie Ryan and Director of Policy Joshua Hagen to discuss the findings and recommendations recently produced by the AB 928 Committee. In 2021, the Lt. Governor co-sponsored AB 928 (Berman), which worked to streamline transfer pathways between community colleges and 4-year schools. As part of that legislation, an intersegmental committee was formed to produce recommendations for improving transfer pathways in California. The Lt. Governor is committed to working with legislative and advocacy partners like the Campaign for College Opportunity to implement the recommendations from the report over the coming years.  


Swearing-In of the New Pro Tem 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis attended Senator Mike McGuire’s swearing-in ceremony as the 49th President of the California State Senate.  

Other Highlights   

  • Met with California Citrus Mutual (CCM) for a meet and greet to discuss the status of the citrus industry 
  • Attended the swearing-in of David Hochschild, who was reappointed to serve as Chair of the California Energy Commission 
  • Staff attended the Basic Needs Summit for California Higher Education 
  • Staff met with the UC Graduate and Profession Student Council 
  • Staff welcomed Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Philip Davis, to Los Angeles as they opened a new Consulate General 
  • Staff met with President of Slovakia, Zuzana Caputova, in San Francisco  
  • Staff participated in National Day celebrations for Estonia and Japan and welcomed Australia’s new Consul General to California