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My Story

Kurt Kosack was born in Florence, Alabama on September 20, 1954.  His father worked at the Reynolds Aluminum plant in Sheffield, Alabama; his mother worked at taking care of Kurt and his three sisters.

He attended Harlan Elementary School in Florence from the first through sixth grades.  In 1966 his father took a job with Reynolds in Rome, Italy.  Kurt attended 7th grade at the Overseas School of Rome.  He and his family spent one year in Rome.  They visited the sights of Rome and Europe.  Living and traveling in Europe was a great experience for the Kosack family.  Kurt learned at an early age that the world is a diverse place.  

In 1967 Kurt’s father was transferred to Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela.   Puerto Ordaz is approximately 500 miles southeast of Caracas.  Kurt went to eight grade at a school with about 25 students in grades one to eight.  He recalls having three or four classmates.

After eighth grade, Kurt’s parents were faced with a major decision concerning his education.  Since there was no English-speaking high school in Puerto Ordaz, his parents had two choices:  either enroll him in a Venezuelan high school or send him to a high school in the United States.  They chose the latter. 

Kurt’s parents sent him to Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey in 1968.  His father thought that he would receive a good education at Blair and was influenced to send Kurt there because his parents (Kurt’s grandparents) lived relatively close to the school.  Blair is a private school, founded in 1848, and is primarily a boarding school.  In 1968 about 375 boys attended the school (Blair began accepting girls in 1971).  Kurt attended Blair from 1968 to 1972.  His academic achievements included winning prizes for the top student in the following courses:  English 1 and 3, geometry, and Spanish 2.  He received varsity letters in football, swimming, and baseball.  He was captain of the varsity football team, junior varsity baseball team, and junior varsity swim team.   The Headmaster appointed him head prefect during his senior year.   He graduated in 1972 in the top 10% of his class, which consisted of about 90 students.


In his senior year at Blair Kurt was accepted to the engineering schools at Vanderbilt and Tulane.  Based on a recommendation from a sister who had just visited New Orleans during Mardi Gras, Kurt decided to go to Tulane.  His father encouraged him to apply for the Naval ROTC program.  Kurt was accepted into this program, received a full scholarship from the federal government, and became a midshipman at Tulane.  


His four years in the mechanical engineering program at Tulane were the most difficult years of Kurt’s life.  While Blair prepared him well for college, it is doubtful any school could have prepared him for the rigors of the mechanical engineering program at Tulane.  Kurt struggled through difficult courses and studied constantly.  His proudest achievement as a student was to have completed Tulane’s mechanical engineering program with no grade lower than a C. 

In return for a scholarship, the federal government required that Kurt spend a few years after college as a naval officer.  During a summer training period, Kurt flew in a small Navy jet for about 45 minutes.  He and his pilot did many acrobatic maneuvers, and Kurt loved it.  He decided then that he would apply for the naval aviation program and try to fly fighter aircraft, preferably in the new (at that time) F14 Tomcat. 

After graduating from Tulane Kurt was accepted into the Naval Flight Officer program (he would have liked to have been a pilot, but did not have the required vision) and went to Pensacola, Florida for a year of flight school.  In 1977 Kurt graduated from flight school and was assigned to the F14 training squadron in San Diego (Miramar Naval Air Station), California.  


Kurt completed the F14 training program in 1978 and was assigned to an operational squadron on the USS Constellation.  From 1978 to 1981, he made two Pacific and Indian Ocean deployments aboard the Constellation.  He logged just under 1,000 flight hours in the back seat (operating radar and missile guidance systems, and directing airborne intercepts) in the F14, and made 281 (182 day/99 night) landings aboard the Constellation.  Besides being an aviator, Kurt was also assigned various jobs in the squadron such as assistant administrative officer, schedules officer, and assistant maintenance officer.  


While he enjoyed flying, Kurt did not like living on an aircraft carrier for 6-8 months at a time.  He left the Navy in December 1981 after serving 5½ years on active duty.  He wanted to continue his education and enrolled in the Master of Business Administration program in August 1982 at the University of Alabama. 

In 1985, after graduating from Alabama, Kurt began working in sales for Lincoln Electric, a renowned company.  Lincoln Electric is the largest welding products company in the United States.  Lincoln is known for an innovative management system that rewards employees according to how hard they work, how well they work, and how well the company does as a whole.  This management system resulted in the company being very profitable and its employees being compensated well.  Kurt enjoyed working at Lincoln, and especially liked the people in the company.  Like in the Navy, there was a sense of teamwork and camaraderie at Lincoln.  


Kurt worked at Lincoln Electric for 13 years until 1998.  During his employment at Lincoln he wondered if what he was doing (selling welding products) was “worthwhile” in the big scheme of things.  Could he be doing something more worthwhile?  He thought of teaching but was not in a position, with two young children (born in 1991 and 1993) and a wife staying at home with them, to become a teacher. 

While attending the University of Alabama, Kurt took a business law class and enjoyed it very much.  He decided to enter the Nashville School of Law in 1990, and graduated in 1994.  He passed the bar exam in October 1994, and continued to work for Lincoln Electric.  


Kurt enjoyed law school.  The study of our laws and government give him great appreciation for our system of government and how fortunate we are to be Americans.  After graduating from law school, Kurt wanted to “give something back” to our society, and decided to become a mentor for an at-risk boy.  He contacted the “Buddies of Nashville” program and was assigned to be a mentor for a 10-year-old boy, Antwan, whose father died when he was eight.   From 1995 to 1997 Antwan and Kurt met each week for two hours.  They became friends.  Kurt encouraged Antwan to do well in school, and to be a good citizen.  After two years, Kurt stopped being a full-time mentor with Antwan to devote the maximum amount of time to his own sons, Clay and Connor.    


In 1998 Kurt left Lincoln to join an insurance defense law firm.  He was the firm’s marketing director until 2000, when he decided to become a practicing attorney.  From 2000 to 2003, Kurt represented many (mostly indigent) clients accused of criminal offenses.  Kurt represented clients in three jury trials.  The jury found his clients not guilty in two of the three trials.  


While working for the law firm, and working on his own as a lawyer, Kurt had thoughts similar to the ones he had at Lincoln: “Is what I’m doing worthwhile?  Am I helping anyone, or improving society?”  Again, he considered teaching.  This time his family situation was different – his wife had a full-time job and his sons were in elementary school. 

In the fall of 2002 Kurt began taking education classes at Belmont University.   In August 2003 he began teaching math at Stratford High School in Nashville.  He graduated from Belmont with a master’s degree in education in May 2006.  Kurt taught high school math (predominantly geometry and algebra 2) for 12 years in three Nashville high schools with a high percentage of at-risk youth.  In 2016, Kurt transferred to a suburban high school south of Nashville where he taught honors precalculus for four years.  After 17 years of teaching, Kurt retired in May of 2020.  


Kurt is an avid reader and self-taught historian.  He is particularly interested in the Civil War.  It was during the broadcast of the Ken Burns Civil War documentary that Kurt heard of a letter written by a Union soldier name Sullivan Ballou.  Mr. Ballou was writing to his wife Sarah shortly before his death at Bull Run.  In the letter, Mr. Ballou wrote of loving his country and having the courage to fight for it.  This letter, and in particular, the words Love and Courage, had a profound effect on Kurt.  He contemplated what our country, and our world, might be like if we humans all interacted with one another with love and courage.  He adopted the words Love and Courage as his guiding principles in his math classes, and in his life.  


In 2023 Kurt and his wife were invited to participate in a “Wisdom Circle” group.  It was a way to socially interact with different people, and to learn about them.  One of the participants was a transgender female.  Kurt found her to be a delightful, fun woman.  This experience broadened his knowledge of the LGBTQ community and the challenges they face living in states controlled by mean-spirited Republican governments.   


In late 2023, Kurt read a wonderful book by James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom.  McPherson described the battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia in which Union General Philip Sheridan rallied his defeated troops with the admonition:  “If you love your country, come up to the front!”.  Kurt had been thinking of running for office.  Like Sheridan’s troops, Kurt was inspired by these words.  This inspirational message tipped the scales for Kurt – he decided to run for office.  He wonders if voters in District 61 share his view of America and his values.  He looks forward to seeing if District 61 voters will “Come up to the front” with him.    



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