Lieutenant Governor Applicant

Eleni Kounalakis

Currently: Businesswoman, former U.S. ambassador to Hungary

Eleni Kounalakis says that she’s a member of the class of ‘16, a Democrat inspired to seek higher office after Hillary Clinton’s surprise loss in the presidential election to Donald Trump. She may not have elected experience or major name recognition among voters, but she’s a well-connected, well-financed Democratic mover-and-shaker—and, she says, she has the passion and energy to be the first woman elected as California’s lieutenant governor.

Kounalakis was born in Sacramento, a scion of Angelo Tsakopoulos, a prominent land developer in the area and major donor to her campaign. She’s been in Democratic politics her entire life, but always behind the scenes, starting off painting signs for the Walter Mondale’s presidential bid and working as a Sacramento field officer in the 1992 Senate campaign. During the Obama administration, she was appointed to the U.S. ambassador to Hungary, just as that country’s nationalist prime minister was consolidating power and rewriting the constitution. Like her opponent for this job, Kounalakis is the first in her family to graduate from college.


  • Building more housing in California
  • Making California’s higher education governing boards more transparent
  • Protecting the California coast
  • Breaking a big, if slightly obscure, glass ceiling

Letters of Recommendation:

  • Former President Barack Obama
  • Kamala Harris
  • EMILY’s List
  • NARAL Pro-Choice California
  • California League of Conservation Voters
  • Equality California

Contact Information:


The Resume of Eleni Kounalakis

Foreign policy advisor and fundraiser for the Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign, 2015 – 2016

  • Advised the campaign on Europe and Russia
  • Donated over $170,000 to the campaign

Chair of the California International Trade and Investment Advisory Council, 2014 – Present

  • Advised the governor’s office on how to expand trade and investment opportunities for California business

U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, 2010 – 2013

Additional experience: Advisor to Albright Stonebridge Group, President of AKT Development, author of Madam Ambassador: Three Years of Diplomacy, Dinner Parties, and Democracy in Budapest, member of the California State World Trade Commission

I will use the lieutenant governor’s office to stand up for California’s working families and as a bully pulpit to stand up to the biggest bully in America.


See for yourself

Applicant's Stances

Learn about Eleni Kounalakis's Stances

The Issues
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Housing