Matt Southwell is a 32-year-old IT professional from Kennesaw, Georgia. Born in Ocala, Florida, Matt’s family moved to Kennesaw in April of 1991. He attended Lewis Elementary School, Lost Mountain Middle School, and was a member of the first freshman class at Kennesaw Mountain High School. Matt spent four years in the KMHS NJROTC program, and served as the unit’s Academic Team Commander and Administrative Officer, having reached the rank of Cadet Lieutenant Junior Grade. After high school, Matt attended Kennesaw State University in pursuit of an English degree, initially desiring to be an English teacher after seeing the positive impact of some of his own teachers. However, after being more exposed to the troubles teachers in this state face – lack of curricular control, embarrassingly low pay, and general lack of funding – Matt changed course. He started a job in the Information Technology sector in August 2008, and has been helping people with technical difficulties ever since.
In his day job, Matt has had the pleasure of helping people from all walks of life – from contractors to lawyers, he understands how reliant our world has become on technology. He also is reminded daily of the value that each and every one of us brings to the table, that lack of knowledge in one area is more often than not a result of specialization in a different area. Matt is eager to listen to these experiences and perspectives and to learn from them. Our society is based on the cooperation of specialized expertise – and when we all work together, we get the job done better. As such, Matt is eager to listen to and learn from other legislators from both parties, as well as subject matter experts from government agencies, research institutes, and the private sector to craft comprehensive solutions to the problems facing our community.
Politics has always been a fascination for Matt, who for many years simply followed the events in Washington and under the Gold Dome through the Internet. But 2016 changed all that. After hearing a call from a “cantankerous old man from Vermont” for young people across the nation to get involved in the political process, to make their voices heard, and to fight for the future – OUR future – and truly reform American politics, Matt stepped up. He joined the Cobb County Democratic Party in February 2016, and was quickly drafted as the Field Director for Justin Holsomback’s 2016 campaign for House District 34. Matt also joined the Young Democrats of Cobb County as the chapter’s Secretary, and was later elected chapter President in March 2017. Matt gained vast experience in campaigning, political organizing, and community engagement that he is eager to put to work to continue the fight to provide District 34 with a proper choice in their political representation.
In his personal life, Matt is a single father to an adorable young boy named Kalen. Both Matt and Kalen’s mother are committed to working together to provide him with the best opportunities life has to offer – and Matt hopes to provide those same opportunities to all children as a legislator.