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Tuesday June 7, 2022 — California Primary Election
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State of CaliforniaCandidate for Lieutenant Governor

Photo of Eleni Kounalakis

Eleni Kounalakis

Lieutenant Governor
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Environment: I will make combating climate change one of my top priorities and ensure no new offshore oil development.
  • Equity: I will fight for new laws in California to protect women from sexual assault and expand access to reproductive choice.
  • Education: I have fought tuition increases and supported initiatives to increase access to college so future generations have a chance to achieve the California Dream.



Eleni Kounalakis is a California businesswoman, a wife and the mother of two teenage sons, and the former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary under President Barack Obama. Eleni was raised the proud daughter of an immigrant father who started out as a farmworker, and she believes in the values of hard work, education and political activism.


In 1992, Eleni started her career as a staff member of the California Democratic Party in Sacramento and worked in the historic election, which elected two women to the U.S. Senate and turned California blue.


After the election, Eleni joined her family business, AKT Development, one of California’s most respected housing development firms. Over the next 18 years, Eleni worked her way up from project manager to president. Her work delivering housing for middle-class families in the Sacramento region earned her recognition as one of Sacramento’s most prominent businesswomen.


In 2010, Eleni was appointed by President Barack Obama as the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and served side-by-side President Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton promoting democracy.


She is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Madam Ambassador, Three Years of Diplomacy, Dinner Parties and Democracy in Budapest, published in 2015 by The New Press.


During her 18 years in the housing industry, Ambassador Kounalakis continued to work as a democratic activist, working on the campaigns of countless progressive candidates and initiatives. Passionate about early childhood development, she served on California’s First 5 Commission and the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism. She was appointed by Mayor Ed Lee to the San Francisco Port Commission, and currently chairs the California Advisory Council for International Trade and Investment.


Eleni Kounalakis graduated from Dartmouth College in 1989, and earned her MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business in 1992. She also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the American College of Greece. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, veteran journalist Markos Kounalakis, and their two sons Neo and Eon.



Who gave money to this candidate?


Total money raised: $4,159,617

Top contributors that gave money to support the candidate, by organization:

Employees of State of California
Employees of AKT Development
Building a Stronger California, Sponsored by Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters Small Contributor Committee
Cal Fire Local 2881
California Professional Firefighters
California State Association of Electrical Workers
California State Pipe Trades Council
California Teachers Association
Employees of Invision Automotive
SEIU California

More information about contributions

By State:

California 90.88%
New York 2.39%
District of Columbia 1.34%
Florida 0.86%
Other 4.53%

By Size:

Large contributions (99.95%)
Small contributions (0.05%)

By Type:

From organizations (42.97%)
From individuals (57.03%)
Source: MapLight analysis of data from the California Secretary of State.

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