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March marked Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate the memorable contributions of women throughout our history. California’s dedication to advancing equality and inclusivity for all is deeply ingrained in our state’s history and continues to be a driving force for change.  

As April begins, we extend warm wishes to those who celebrated Ramadan, a time of spiritual reflection and community. We also commemorate Greek Independence Day, recognizing the proud heritage and traditions that enrich California and the world. As a proud Greek-American, I am reminded of the resilience and spirit of my ancestors, whose legacy continues to inspire us today. 

We also celebrated Cesar Chavez Day this month. It’s a day that holds personal significance for me as the daughter of an immigrant father who began his journey as a farmworker in California. Cesar Chavez’s legacy reminds us of the importance of standing up for justice and equality – principles that continue to guide California and our communities. 

On Transgender Day of Visibility, we celebrated the remarkable contributions of transgender individuals to our state. Sacramento’s recent approval of a resolution declaring the city as a sanctuary city reaffirms our commitment to equity and inclusion for all residents. 

However, amidst our celebrations and progress, we are confronted with challenges. The threat to women’s access to mifepristone, a crucial medication for abortion, underscores the ongoing fight for women’s autonomy and reproductive health. California remains steadfast in defending these rights, urging the Supreme Court to stand with us in protecting women’s access to safe and legal abortion. 

As we look ahead, let us remain optimistic and dedicated to building a brighter future for California. Together, we will continue to strive for equality, justice, and inclusivity, ensuring that our state remains a beacon of progress for all. 

 

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Eleni Kounalakis
Lieutenant Governor of California

Community  

 

California Fresh Fruit Association 

The Lt. Governor met with California Fresh Fruit Association members and discussed the importance of agriculture to California and the challenges facing fruit growers. California produces one-third of the nation’s vegetables and three-quarters of the nation’s fruits and nuts. California also produces nearly all of the nation’s almonds, walnuts, pistachios, raisins, table grapes, plums, peaches, processed tomatoes, and many more.  

65th Convention of the State Building and Construction Trades Council 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis spoke at the 65th Convention of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. In her remarks, she emphasized that California’s next chapter will be defined by what we build—clean energy infrastructure, an expanded electrical grid, critically needed housing, water projects for future droughts, improvements to transportation infrastructure, and more. She also stated that the men and women in the building and construction trades are critical to building California’s future.  

Wine Institute  

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined the Wine Institute at their Board of Directors meeting. She participated in a conversation with Tim Schmelzer, their VP of State Relations, on California’s economy, climate change, and wine production. The Wine Institute represents more than 1,000 wineries and affiliated businesses responsible for more than 80 percent of the nation’s wine production and 90 percent of U.S. wine exports. California is currently the fourth largest wine producer in the world, generating $170.5 billion in annual economic activity for the U.S. and $73 billion in annual economic activity for California.  

A Day for Women Event in Yuba City

In honor of Women’s History Month, Lt. Governor Kounalakis attended “A Day for Women: It’s Time to Rise” event organized by the Yuba Sutter Chamber of Commerce, the Yuba Sutter Economic Development Corporation, and various local area women’s service groups. The Lt. Governor highlighted women’s strides in elected office, with 50 women now making up 42% of the state legislature. She also highlighted California’s efforts in expanding and protecting reproductive rights, including enshrining abortion rights in California’s constitution.  

Unity March  

Lt. Governor Kounalakis joined the Jewish Community Center, Jewish Silicon Valley, elected officials, community members, and many more for a Unity March against AntiSemitism in San Francisco. This gathering took place in response to the alarming increase in hate crimes against Jewish people throughout the state and the country. Since October, there has been a 388% increase in hate incidents in the U.S. against Jewish. During the march, the Lt. Governor encouraged Californians to stand up against hate and build a safer and more inclusive future for all.

International  

 

Welcoming Indian Charge d’Affaires to California  

On March 1st, the Lt. Governor welcomed Indian Charge d’Affaires Sripriya Ranganathan to the Bay Area. India is California’s 11th largest trading partner, with a 2023 two-way trade volume of over $12.2 billion. The conversation focused on ways California and India can strengthen their bilateral relationship, particularly in economic relations and clean energy issues. In 2020, Lt. Governor Kounalakis led a trade delegation to India where, along with the Bay Area Council, she discussed California and India’s close economic and cultural ties and opportunities to increase bilateral trade and investment between both economies.  

Economic Development  

 

CMTA Annual Membership & Board Meeting 

In a conversation with CMTA President and CEO Lance Hastings during CMTA’s Annual Meeting, the Lt. Governor discussed the importance of manufacturing for California’s economy and the need to invest in training the workforce of tomorrow. California is home to 34,000 manufacturing companies that contribute more than $400 billion annually to the state’s GDP and provide over 1.3 million jobs to Californians.  

Legislative Updates  

 

Legislation to Help Holocaust Survivors Recover Stolen Art 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis co-sponsored Assembly Bill 2867 by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino), co-chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, to bolster efforts by Holocaust survivors, their heirs, and other victims to recover artwork and other property stolen from them as a result of political persecution. Lt. Governor Kounalakis was joined by the Jewish Public Affairs Committee of California as co-sponsors.

My time spent in Budapest as US Ambassador, where nearly half a million Jews were mercilessly killed and their property stolen, was a lesson in Holocaust history, said California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis. The decades-long effort to return confiscated property to Jewish families is morally courageous. I am proud to sponsor Assemblymember Gabriel’s bill to empower California families to retrieve stolen and looted property that is rightfully theirs.” 

Eleni Kounalakis

Lieutenant Governor

Higher Education  

 

Stanislaus State Visit 

Lt. Governor Kounalakis visited the campus of Stanislaus State, located in the heart of California’s Central Valley. This is the Lt. Governor’s 17th visit to the 23 California State University campuses. While on campus, she met with interim President Susan Borrego and heard from student leadership regarding issues most important to students at the campus. The Lt. Governor also toured the Warrior Fabrication Lab, the campus’ central hub for innovation, equipped with 3D printers and scanners, laser cutters, computer numerical controlled (CNC) embroidery machines, and other high-tech equipment. Stanislaus State serves over 70 percent of first-generation students. The university has also been nationally recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Washington Monthly as a leader in socioeconomic mobility.  

UC Berkeley Visit 

The Lt. Governor spent an afternoon at UC Berkeley to tour the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to learn more about battery technology, manufacturing leadership, and California’s economy. The Lt. Governor also met with UC Berkeley Chancellor Christ and concluded her visit by speaking to Professor Ross’ undergraduate seminar, which covered a wide range of topics including California higher education, her responsibilities as Lt. Governor, and her unique path to politics. 

Celebrating Women’s History Month with East LA College 

The Lt. Governor participated in a panel discussion at the inaugural Women’s History Month Celebration Teatime at East Los Angeles College (ELAC). The event recognized the accomplishments of women who have been leaders and visionaries in their communities. Dr. Martha Garcia, President of Mt. Sac College, and Lenore French, President and Founding Member of Transformative Arts, joined her on the panel. The Lt. Governor spoke about her leadership journey, advocacy for women’s rights, and why empowering the next generation of women leaders is essential. 

UC Student & Policy Center  

The Lt. Governor was the inaugural speaker at the UC Center Speaker Series. She joined UC Regent Janet Reilly and Chair of the Board of Regents Richard Leib for a conversation centered on California’s higher education. The UC Student and Policy Center also houses the UC Center Sacramento internship and public policy program. The center recently underwent a significant renovation to enhance student scholarship and programming 

Other Highlights  

  • Met with home-schooled students, ages 10-13, 5th– 8th grade, who are part of the Connecting Waters Homeschool Curriculum program in Modesto 
  • Met with Anthony Shriver, Founder and Chairman of Best Buddies International, the world’s largest organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to receive an update on the program and its success statewide