I’m Terra Costa Howard, and I’m running for State Representative. Central to who I am is the conviction that a representative should serve as the voice of the people of their district, not as the voice of their own personal agenda.
Listening to and advocating for others has been my life’s work, and it has provided me with the opportunity to see DuPage County from many different perspectives. I believe it is those experiences and interactions that make me uniquely qualified to understand and to represent the people of Illinois’s 48th District.
I was born and raised in DuPage County, and have lived in the 48th District for over 20 years. After graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, I earned my law degree from DePaul University in 1996. I began work as an attorney with the 18th Judicial Circuit Court. For two years, I saw people from all walks of life pass through our courtrooms, and I gained a deep understanding of how the legal system worked, and in some cases did not work, for the people of our communities.
In 1998, I joined the DuPage County Public Defender’s Office, where I furthered my passion for fighting to improve the lives of children. I represented indigent children and parents in a variety of juvenile court proceedings, always working to ensure that the people I represented felt that they had a true advocate and that their voices were heard.
I opened my own practice in 2003, and to this day continue to advocate on behalf of children, the elderly, the disabled, and families caught in custody and visitation disputes. I’ve been frequently appointed as their representative by the judges of DuPage County in some of the court system’s most difficult cases. Advocating for children, in particular, has been the work of my life, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Along the way, I met and married my wonderful husband, Nick of 23 years. We have three intelligent, accomplished daughters who make us proud every day.
Being a parent has given me, among many other things, a clear perspective about what our community wants for and from our public schools. I served on the Glen Ellyn School Board for District 41 for eight years and was its Board President from 2007-2009. After my board service, I began teaching at the College of DuPage. These experiences have provided a unique perspective and insight as to our community’s parents, teachers, principals, administrators, and students personally. I’ve listened to them as they spoke to me about their dreams, goals, and concerns. When I say I’m fighting for our schools, I mean it.
But my commitment to serve this community doesn’t end in the school parking lot or in a family law courtroom. I’ve been on the Glen Ellyn Plan Commission since 2015, where I’ve aided in the growth and development of businesses, parks, buildings, and streets for our neighborhoods.
I also understand the difficulties that confront both business owners and employees in our state. My husband and I own a small business in the 48th district. We know first-hand how tough it is for small businesses to survive and thrive in the Illinois. We know what it means to make a payroll, pay our employees a fair wage, provide health care for our employees, and pay our bills. Small businesses are a critical component to the success of our local communities. By supporting them, we provide jobs and tax dollars that help our towns and our neighbors to thrive.
Throughout my life and career, I’ve always tried to measure my success in terms of how my actions are positively impacting my community. I want to take that drive to Springfield.
I hope you’re with me.