2017 Executive Board
Matt Southwell has lived in Kennesaw, Georgia since April of 1991. After graduating from Kennesaw Mountain High School in 2004, he enrolled at Kennesaw State University in pursuit of an English Education degree. After encountering the hurdles and barriers to entry into the field, he switched majors to English. Shortly thereafter, he began a career in the Information Technology sector and has pursued that career advancement ever since. After starting as tier 1 technical support for Wandering WiFi in 2008 and rising to a Technical Manager position, he left the company in 2013 to work for a Managed Services Provider based in Marietta in order to broaden his skillset and work closer to home.
Matt has always been a politically-minded individual, and has voted in every election since 2004. The 2016 election cycle represented a turning point for him, as well as millions of others across America, and he decided to get more involved with the local party. After serving as secretary of the Young Democrats of Cobb in 2016 he chose to step up as President for 2017, and is honored to accept the position. Matt looks forward to mobilizing the youth of Cobb County to get involved in politics and build on the foundations that turned Cobb County blue in 2016 for the first time since Jimmy Carter.
When he is not working, engaged in political activism, or debating political issues with friends and associates, Matt enjoys spending as much time as possible with his three-year-old son, Kalen.
Justin Holsomback has lived in Cobb County most of his life, attending Birney Elementary School, Awtrey Middle School, Kennesaw Mountain High School and Kennesaw State University, where he studied Biology. In 2009, Justin began working as a laboratory technician for a biotech company in Kennesaw, and worked in the medical device sector for various companies until 2017. In 2016, Justin Holsomback ran for Georgia’s House of Representatives for District 34 (Kennesaw/Marietta), running as one of only 4 endorsed Berniecrats in the state of Georgia after having been inspired to run by Bernie Sanders’ candidacy. Building from absolutely nothing, Justin and his campaign staff received numerous endorsements, enjoyed huge grassroots support, and lots of momentum thanks in part to Kennesaw State University being in the district.
Instead of withdrawing from politics after a family crisis caused him to withdraw from his race, Justin has spent the last few months becoming heavily involved with community organizing. He currently serves as Vice President of the Young Democrats of Cobb County, Secretary of the Cobb County Executive Committee, and the Budget and Finance Chair of the Young Democrats of Georgia. In his free time, Justin trains for competitive CrossFit 6 days a week and has a deep love affair with frozen yogurt.
Rachel Paule grew up in East Cobb where she attended Walton high school and graduated in 2011. During high school, she was an associate board member for Keep Cobb Beautiful and participated in the leadership of her school’s Junior Civitan’s Club. Upon graduating, she attended Georgia Southern University where she earned her Bachelor’s in Business Management with an emphasis in Small Business and Entrepreneurship and a minor in French. At GSU, Rachel found her passion for community organizing and servant leadership and created a service-learning program as her Southern Leaders capstone project. This program won her The Gulf South Summit’s Outstanding Student Contributions to Service-Learning in Higher Education for her work. After graduation, Rachel returned to Cobb County. She now owns her own consulting firm in the area where she helps small business owners reach their full potential through optimized management solutions and digital marketing.
The 2016 Presidential election convinced her to become more involved in her local Democratic party in addition to her community involvement. She worked as volunteer coordinator for first time candidate, Christine Triebsch in the 2017 SD 32 special election and now serves as the Secretary for the Young Democrats of Cobb County. In her free time, you can find her working at Starbucks or petting dogs.
Lewis Polay has lived in Cobb County his whole life. Lewis has attend The Howard School in Atlanta, a national renowned school for Learning Disabilities students since 2007 as a part of the class of 2018. Elected to Fulton County Youth Commission to represent students and youth of the 4th District. As a County Youth Commissioner Lewis has lobbied for and created bills for students from ending corporal punishment in Georgia, raising the drop out age in High School, all the way his most passionate youth issue making College admission standardized testing optional for students with LD.
Lewis was inspired by President Obama to become Politically involved in 2010. His aspirations of in politics is working with both sides of the aisle through his lobbying in the hope to help as many people as possible. With his bipartisan work with his Lobbying efforts received the 2016-17 Georgia Youth Commissioner Rookie of the Year Award. In 2017 after big hit to the Democratic Party Lewis decided to work more with the local party. Joining YDCC and being elected to serve on the Executive Board as the Treasure. His outside work in politics includes serving as a Youth Campaign strategist for the John Eaves campaign for Mayor of Atlanta. His outside passions include studying Comedy because being able to make people is one the best things you can do.
Stephanie Hankinson was born and raised in Thomaston, Georgia where she attended Upson-Lee and graduated in 2011. During high school, she worked at the Regristrar’s Office registering voters, processing absentee requests, and documenting votes on election days. Upon graduating, she first attended Georgia Southern University before transferring to Kennesaw State University in 2012 to pursue a degree in History Education. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from KSU in 2016 and now teaches 6th grade social studies in Cobb County. In her role, she strives to teach critical thinking and problem based learning to help students develop into well-rounded, global citizens.
With a passion for history, Stephanie has consistently followed politics and looked for patterns in current events that are paralleling the past. During the 2016 presidential race, Bernie Sanders democratic Socialist policies echoed back to FDR’s policies that helped to bring our country out of the Great Depression and created social welfare policies. While she had always voted, Bernie inspired her to get involved. Once Hillary Rodham Clinton lost, she decided to become involved locally and soon joined YDC. When Executive Board elections were announced at her first meeting, she took the opportunity and became Parliamentarian. She looks forward to laying the groundwork to revitalize YDKSU and inspiring more young people to get involved to make change for good. Aside from her deep passion for history, politics, and her amazing students, Stephanie is truly passionate about pizza and spending time with her family in rural Georgia.