Dec 3, 2021 • 36M

Bonus: Interview with State Assembly candidate Matt Haney

“We can’t do this alone."

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Hey there, San Francisco. 

State Assembly candidate, Matt Haney / Getty Images

On Friday morning, I spoke with Matt Haney about his bid for San Francisco's open State Assembly seat. 

Haney should be a familiar name to most. For the past 3 years, he’s served on the Board of Supervisors, where he represents the Tenderloin and downtown areas. Before that, he was president of the San Francisco school board. 

You can read more about Haney on his campaign website here. Or, better yet, listen to our conversation from today. It’s a little over 30 minutes. 

As a reminder, the primary election for San Francisco’s vacant State Assembly position is February 15. 

ICYMI, here’s my talk from last week with candidate, Bilal Mahmood. AND, next Thursday, I’ll sit down with David Campos, who’s also running for the open seat in Sacramento. 

For now though, here’s how to navigate my interview with Haney and quotes that stood out (some edits have been made for clarity purposes): 

2:05: Matt talks about his cats. 

Matt Haney (MH): “My cats are very much pandemic cats. When we went into one of the additional lockdowns last winter...I picked them up from the San Francisco shelter...They're tenderloin cats, so their names are Eddy and Ellis.” 

3:20: Why he’s so active on Twitter. 

MH: “I only really started to use Twitter over the last two years or so. I did not use it even when I was running for supervisor in 2018...But in terms of reaching my constituents immediately and getting feedback and connecting people with resources and information in real-time, there aren't really a lot of better tools than [Twitter].”

7:45: Why he’s running for State Assembly. 

MH: “In none of the roles that I’ve had have I at all taken for granted the opportunities and responsibilities that come with those roles...I have not looked for the next thing in my time of service...For the state legislature, I would hope that we would want somebody with that type of experience of actually doing shit and delivering and having been in the trenches on the issues of importance to our city and state.” 

9:45: What Matt has learned in his nine years as an elected official in San Francisco. 

MH: “We can’t do this alone…There’s a lot that we’re doing here. But ultimately, what I see in the Tenderloin in particular, is we help 20 people on a block and bring them inside and within days there are 20 more people out there…The level of systemic and structural failure goes much further than what is happening in this one district. And that to me is a state responsibility.” 

13:30: Something that Matt thinks sets his campaign apart. 

MH: “I've tried to be relentlessly transparent, for better or worse, in my role as an elected official...And I've tried to engage more people so that they understand what's going on and know how to connect with systems that govern them. I think that's really needed in Sacramento. I think most people have no idea what's going on in Sacramento, how a bill is introduced and all of a sudden disappears...I'm gonna go up there and I'm gonna try to demystify that for people.” 

21:40: One policy idea that may be unique to his campaign. 

MH: “I’d like to see a real ability for our attorney general to sue counties and cities that are not providing any services for people experiencing homelessness. If you don't have any shelter beds, if you don't have anywhere for people to go or any supportive housing, I think there needs to be in our law the ability to bring an action against you, even potentially a private action. This is not something that can be passed on to only a handful of cities and counties. It needs to be something that everybody is accountable for.”

27:00: Why Matt got into politics. 

“It was not a lifelong calling. I was not on student council or anything like that...After I graduated from Berkeley, I got a fellowship to work in Sacramento as a legislative aide...And when I was up there, I was like, ‘Wow...They really decide what happens in schools and colleges and criminal justice and health care...Sacramento is actually where so many of the important decisions are being made. And most of the people up here are not very accountable to anyone other than lobbyists.’ That was kind of a light bulb for me.” 

Alright, thanks for listening/reading. And as I alluded to at the top, I’ll be talking with former Supervisor David Campos about his bid for State Assembly next Thursday (12/9) at 9 am. Make sure, if you’re an SF Minute Member, to mark your calendars for the live discussion then. 

Talk soon! - Nick B.