Matt Santos was born in St. Joseph's Hospital in Houston, Texas. One of seven children born to Luis Santos and Marita Santos, Matt grew up in the Second Ward – the oldest Mexican-American neighborhood in Houston and home to six generations of the Santos family. Surrounded by his extended family, Matt was taught the value of kinship, of responsibility and service, and of the Roman Catholic faith – lessons he carries with him every day.
From the time he was able to add and subtract, Matt worked at his uncle's small hardware shop in the East End. It was a family business, and Matt fully expected to work there after graduation. But as he was entering his senior year at Austin High School, Matt met Sergeant Rick Alvarez, a US Marine Corps recruiter who was a permanent fixture on the local basketball court.
Marine Corps and Politics
The Marines seemed like a good option for Matt, and his recruiter encouraged him to aim higher than regular enlistment. He applied for admission to the Naval Academy in Annapolis. To secure a nomination for the Academy, Matt visited the Houston office of his Texas 18th District Congressman. He immediately took an interest in the politics, federal and local, that shaped his community. He knew, at that point, that he had found his calling.
After four years in the Academy, he graduated as a Marine Second Lieutenant, with a degree in engineering. He served his country as a fighter pilot in the Gulf, and then joined the Marine Reserves, where he has continued drilling and training for the last thirteen years. But Matt could not ignore the enticement of the political world he had glimpsed years before. He returned to Houston, where he quickly immersed himself in community service. Elected to Houston City Council, Matt focused on revitalization projects for the Second Ward, where his extended family still lived. He founded a neighborhood watch program, and oversaw the rebuilding of several recreational facilities.
Two years later, Matthew Santos was elected Mayor of Houston – the first Hispanic mayor the city had seen. Under his guidance, the city opened four new health clinics to serve Houston's families and created a new housing assistance program to make rent and bills more affordable for the city's two million residents.
During his time as an F/A-18 pilot in the Marine Corps he earned the call-sign "Badger" which was revealed during the episode 'The Mommy Problem' in Season 7. As of 2006, Santos had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (O-5).
After four years at the helm of Houston, Matt was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and won reelection twice.
When he entered the House of Representatives, Matt Santos wanted to improve the daily lives of his 18th district constituents, and the lives of all Americans who, like him, needed some encouragement to succeed. During his tenure, he helped provide more education grants to low-income college students, and health insurance for millions of children. On the Ways and Means Committee, he led the movement for temporary assistance for needy families, and worked diligently on job creation and worker assistance for hardworking Americans.
Matt never forgot the lessons he learned as a young man in Houston – lessons in faith and perseverance that have fortified him through his political and lifelong journey. He sought to serve the American people as he has served his family, his country, Houston and the 18th District of Texas. Within the first 3 years in the House, Santos passed three bills which ensured the safety and well being of poorer elderly citizens and children in the United States. He also got a bill to committee which suggested that the Carbon emissions produced by the United States are having a severe impact on the rate of global warming.
Matthew Santos is married to Helen Santos, and together, they have two children, Peter and Miranda.
After Santos passed a Patients Bill of Rights, Josh Lyman conceived the idea of a Santos presidential campaign. He believed that Congressman Santos would be a better candidate than incumbent Vice President Bob Russell or former Vice President and Texas Senator John Hoynes. While initially hesitant to run for office, Matt Santos decided to make his run for office on the condition that Josh would run his campaign.
While in the first stage of the campaign, Santos went to New Hampshire and made his first policy proposal - an extended school year. Though Santos started his campaign in obscurity, the Congressman managed to increase his name recognition by filming a live campaign commercial, which generated free media throughout the state. After finishing third in New Hampshire, Santos went on to California where he defeated Russell and Hoynes, who was engulfed in a sex scandal. This effectively made him the alternative to Russell, and after Super Tuesday, gave him enough momentum to deadlock the convention.
By the time of the Democratic Convention, the party was without a nominee. Governor Eric Baker was drafted and nearly seized the nomination from Santos and Russell. By the last day of the Democratic Convention, President Bartlet and Leo McGarry had encouraged him to drop out many times. But instead of giving his Concession Speech, Santos encouraged the delegates to make a choice on their own. Inspired by the Congressman's speech, President Bartlet decided to convince the Teachers' Unions to give their delegates to the Texas Congressman. This allowed Matt Santos to win the nomination; he chose former Secretary of Labor and White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry as his running mate.
Santos and McGarry faced California Senator Arnold Vinick and his VP nominee West Virginia Governor Ray Sullivan in the General Election. Though Santos was initially 7 to 9 points behind in the polls, an accident at a California nuclear plant increased the public's distrust of Vinick, who had long fought for nuclear power. After a close race that included McGarry's death on Election Day, Santos and McGarry won the election by a margin of 10,000 votes.
Matthew Santos took office on January 20, 2007. Immediately upon assuming the office, he was faced with the Kazakhstan crisis when the Joints Chiefs requested putting an additional 10,000 troops in peacekeeping forces between the Russian and Chinese forces. He also nominated Arnold Vinick as his Secretary of State. Even though West Wing did not come back for a eight season and the lives of the characters are not followed after Tomorrow Santos would have remained President until 2011 unless he was re-elected for a second term, in which case he would remain president until 2015.
- 1979 : High School diploma - Austin High School
- 1983 : Engineering degree - United States Naval Academy (graduated valedictorian)
- 1971-1979 : Worked at his uncle's hardware shop
- 1983-1993 : Pilot in the United States Marine Corps
- 1993-2007 : Pilot in the United States Marine Corps Reserve
- 1994-1996 : Councilman on Houston City Council
- 1996-2001 : Mayor of Houston
- 2001-2007 : US Representative for Texas' 18th District
- 2007 - 2015 President of the United States
- Santos/McGarry for a Brighter America
| Democratic Party Presidential Candidate|
| President of the United States|