Terra Costa Howard is a lawyer, a small business owner, a teacher, a wife, a mother, and a tireless advocate for children and people in need.
Advocating for Children and Families
Born and raised in DuPage County, Terra has lived in the 48th district for more than 20 years. After earning a B.A. political science and speech communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a law degree at DePaul University, Terra started her legal career as a staff attorney at the DuPage County 18th Judicial Circuit Court. There she saw firsthand how tough it can be for everyday people to navigate the complexities of our court system.
After two years, Terra joined the DuPage County Public Defender’s Office, where she represented children and parents living in poverty. She proved herself to be a fierce and determined champion, standing up for people who were vulnerable and speaking out on behalf of her clients and their families.
In 2003, Terra opened her own legal practice, where she fights for the rights of children, elderly people, people with disabilities, and families caught in custody and visitation disputes.
Standing Up for Public Education
Terra believes that public education is the cornerstone of our communities. When her daughters were attending their neighborhood elementary school, she was active in the PTA and served as a Girl Scout leader. Her experience as an active, involved member of her school community gave her a firsthand look at the positive, lasting impact that Glen Ellyn’s exceptional school system has on children’s lives.
Putting her passion for education to work for her community, Terra ran for Glen Ellyn School District 41 Board of Education in 2005. She served two terms, including two years as Board President. While on the school board, Terra helped to forge contract agreements that met the needs of teachers and school support staff – and taxpayers – while making sure the school district’s budget remained balanced.
Today, Terra’s commitment to education continues in her work as an adjunct professor and intern supervisor at College of DuPage, one of our country’s premier community colleges.
Building a Successful Business
Terra worked alongside her husband, Nick, to start up a software development company based in Glen Ellyn. Through her experience in helping to build a new venture, she knows the many ways that small businesses contribute to our communities and local economies, and she understands the difficulties that can confront Illinois small business owners – and their employees. She knows how to create jobs, and she knows what it means to make a budget and stick to it.
Terra brings her experience as a business owner to her work on the Glen Ellyn Plan Commission. Since 2015, she’s been working as a volunteer to lead smart, thoughtful development of Glen Ellyn’s businesses, parks, buildings, and streets. She also serves as a member of the Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation.
Your Voice in Springfield
Terra Costa Howard was first elected as State Representative in 2018 and was re-elected in 2020. Now she is fighting for the values we all share: Strengthening our schools, defending women and reproductive health care, lowering the tax burden on working families, and making quality health care affordable for everyone.