Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Born in Mexico, born Nashvillian: Matt Kenigson

Matt Kenigson
Since he grew up singing jingles and learning how to make people feel welcome, it is almost as if Matt Kenigson - running for Nashville's District 56 seat in the state legislature - was born to live in Nashville.

Kenigson, however, was born in Mexico City, to North American parents. His parents started a jingle company south of the border, and Kenigson even sang in some of those jingles as a child - check out Kenigson's singing chops on the 1981 Ford Fairmont commercial that ran in Mexico.

Matt's educational background started with Escuela Florence Nightingale and Escuela Valle del Tepeyac and ultimately led to Hume Fogg High School, back in the day when HFHS had just become a magnet school. Matt credits that high school education, more than anything else, with setting the stage for his later entrepreneurial software venture.

It took the English Only battle to convince Matt that he needed to get more involved in public life. Specifically, he wanted to get more involved in education because of his six-year-old daughter. His opposition to English Only is not based on an insistence for multilingualism, however. On the issue of English as a Second Language (ESL) education, Matt wants more ESL students mainstreamed and held to a higher standard. He says that concentrating on education is the key to creating a dynamic economy.

Matt's Mexico roots gave him an acute sense of the importance of a welcome, because he experienced such a warm welcome when he lived there:
I had such a wealth of people who accepted me, who embraced me, who really made me feel like I was at home and who gave me the understanding that no matter where you are in the world, you should do that for everyone.
They made me feel like that was where I belonged. To this day I still consider it a gift, and it's very important to me that people who come here feel just as welcome as I felt there.
Matt's next fundraiser is Thursday, September 30 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at
The Viridian, 415 Church Street, #1015. The suggested contribution is $50 per person/$100 per couple (RSVP to Lauren at 615-585-9678 or lauren@standwithmatt.com).

Matt's previous fundraiser was this past Sunday, at the home of Fabian Bedne and Mary-Linden Salter.

The "Stand with Matt" campaign has a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter feed.

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