Monday, May 7, 2012
Mat was raised in the San Carlos and Del Cerro communities of San Diego and attended Pershing Middle School and Patrick Henry High. He then went on to earn a Bachelor of Science from San Diego State University and, after graduation, moved to Washington, D.C. to work for United States Senator Dianne Feinstein.
Working in the office of a Senator who strives to advance the best interests of all Californians, Mat learned how to effectively work in a bi-partisan manner. Eventually, Mat moved to Feinstein’s San Diego office to continue the Senator’s work, focusing on military, veterans, transportation and local issues.
Because of his effective work on behalf of San Diego, Mat was hired by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce during the energy crisis that engulfed the state. There, he worked to keep the doors of local businesses open and to develop more cost efficient energy supply solutions. The Chamber’s business members depended on Mat to develop responsible government regulation proposals and advocate for the San Diego business community.
Mat rejoined the Senator’s staff during the latest Base Realignment and Closure process, working statewide with business, non-profits and community organizations in retaining military installations and defense related industries, which are vital economic drivers for the San Diego region.
Mat’s knowledge of the local community was vital during the 2003 Cedar Wildfires. He was responsible for coordinating work being done by the federal government, the County of San Diego and other cities to ensure that communities affected by the fires received aid as efficiently as possible. Throughout his career, Mat has worked on a variety of other issues including the San Diego State University trolley expansion and the region’s freeway improvements.
In his personal life, Mat is an active and dedicated member of the community. His frustration with the lack of City funding to repair the crumbling playground at Lake Murray led Mat to organize his neighbors, leading to the establishment of the Lake Murray Playground Project. This neighborhood-based group raised over $135,000 to ensure the development of a new playground, which will break ground this winter.
Recognizing his commitment to the community, Mat was nominated by Councilmember Marti Emerald and appointed by San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders to sit on the Consolidated Plan Advisory Board, which oversees the distribution of the Community Development Block Grants and funding for homeless services.
Non-profits in the community have recognized Mat’s unique talents and fiscal conservatism. He served as the 2nd Vice President of Jewish Family Service, a local non-profit with an approximate annual budget of $15 million that offers programs such as food pantries to military families, transportation for all seniors and counseling to the general population.
Mat joined the Navajo Community Planning Group in 2011 to represent the Allied Gardens, San Carlos, Del Cerro, and Grantville neighborhoods. He was also a past board member of his Mission Ridge Homeowners Association in Mission Valley.
Throughout his life, Mat has shown a strong dedication to volunteerism and giving back to the community.
Forming the Neighborhood Watch Program
Volunteering at his children’s pre-school in Serra Mesa
Helping feed the homeless at St. Vincent de Paul
Working with Stand Down feeding homeless veterans
Assisted with the San Diego Crusaders Youth Soccer Club for Del Cerro, San Carlos, Allied Gardens and Grantville
Reading stories to the children at the Jessie Polinsky Children's Center and participated in numerous neighborhood clean-ups and brush clearings
Mat and his wife, Jen, a family practice physician with Sharp-Rees-Stealy, are raising their two children (Hank and David) in Del Cerro, the same neighborhood in which Mat grew up. Currently, he works for UDW advocating for a program that provides critical care for senior citizens and the disabled, while allowing them to remain in their own homes.