IRISH LINKS: Assemblyman Matt Haney, himself an alumnus of Stanford, will address the first-ever Irish Roundtable in the Valley next month.

Head of California's Irish Caucus to Address Irish Roundtable in the Valley

The leader of the Irish Caucus in the California State Legislature is to address the inaugural Irish Roundtable in the Valley next month.

The conference event, targeted at the Irish expat and Irish diaspora communities and focusing on the impact of AI on the world of work is to take place at Stanford University on 9 May.

Assemblyman Matt Haney, who represents San Francisco in the state capitol, is a strong voice for Ireland and the Irish peace process on the west coast. A former Mitchell Scholar, he studied in both Galway University and Queen's University Belfast in 2007, gaining a hands-on experience almost unique in high-level American politics. Witnessing the groundbreaking alliance that year between Ian Paisley of the DUP and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin which restored the power sharing executive at Stormont, he wrote: "A society that had been wracked by decades and decades of violence, hate and conflict, seemed to finally be turning the corner. Here we were witnessing a society that seemed very much ready to move on, with leaders that finally appeared to be catching up. Being there to witness this in person is something that I will never forget." Speaking at the conclusion of his study year in Ireland, he added: "If Ireland wasn’t an important part of who I was before, it certainly is now."

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Returned to the State Legislature in a special election in April 2022, Haney cut his teeth as a Supervisor on the San Francisco City Council and on the Board of Education. He now serves as Majority Whip in the State House and as Chair of the influential Irish Caucus in the legislature, seen, after New York, as the most powerful coalition of Irish American legislators in the country. In a recent podcast interview, he revealed that this grandfather "was a close confidante of Martin Luther King" and served in the Navy during World War II, while his mother, of the Jewish faith, encouraged his strong sense of social justice. Associated with the reform movement in California, he has described San Francisco politics as "broken" but insists inter-party relations in Sacramento are more conducive to introducing policies which deliver for the public. 

The Irish Roundtable in the Valley will be the first time in a decade that prominent tech leaders from Ireland, North and South, will meet in conference with their Irish American peers in the Bay Area. Among the Irish delegation will be representatives from Galway University and Queen's University Belfast as well as senior executives with Northern Irish tech companies Kainos, Options IT and Unosquare.