Bio_-_Santa_Monica_Councilmember_Kevin_McKeown.html

Santa Monica

Councilmember Kevin McKeown

 

“Irish on the Inside” is the title of Tom Hayden’s book, but it’s my story, too.  I’m a dual citizen of the United States and of Ireland, the former by birth and the latter by descent: all eight of my great-grandparents were born in Ireland.

I’m also currently the Southern California vice-chair of the Irish-American Caucus of the Democratic Party of California.

(Don’t forget that any TV set graphic on my website links to a video!)

I’ve long treasured old family documents showing where my grandfather was born. Fourteen years ago, I traveled to Ireland to see if I could find “Drumharriff.”  In 2007, on my second trip, I stood upon the plot of farmland my family once rented, where my father’s father was born and grew up before emigrating to America. This is the spot, once the site of a small village in County Armagh.

Gazing west across the Atlantic toward America, contemplating the Irish diaspora. I wonder if my grandfather ever hoped a descendant might come back?

Inspired, I committed to obtaining my Irish citizenship.  The paperwork was not easy, as my grandfather was born in 1858 and many of the documents were just no longer to be found.  It took another year of research to earn my Irish passport.

I felt at home riding a bike through the Irish countryside.

I’m too tall for Irish castles!

Visiting Dublin CIty Hall, I couldn’t help but fantasize what it would be like to serve on CIty Council there. But look at this statue in the CIty Hall rotunda: that’s a real bullet hole, from the 1916 rising.  Whatever complaints I have about attack politics in Santa Monica  (see Campaigns and Clean Money) were put in quick perspective when I saw this piece of political punctuation.

My home is and always will be Santa Monica, but maybe you can understand how connecting with Ireland, where my family was once evicted, helps explain my commitment to renters and renters’ rights, to social and economic justice, and to siding with those who innocently find themselves confronting power and still remain willing to stand proud. I’ll be back, Ireland.

I’m honored by, and grateful for, your support in electing me six times!