About Brenda Howerton

Brenda Howerton in Durham

Commissioner Brenda Howerton is the chair of the Durham Board of County Commissioners. She was first elected to the Durham County Board of Commissioners in 2008 and is serving her fourth term. She understands the social injustice issues deeply rooted in our community. Her personal experience inspired her to get into politics and has shaped how she advocates for the people who don’t have a voice. She has worked on initiatives that range from children’s health and education to criminal justice and economic development.

Howerton grew up on a tobacco farm in rural Caswell County and was no stranger to hard work. She moved to Durham in 1986 as a single mother of four kids searching for better economic opportunities in the Research Triangle region. During this time she worked full-time at Durham’s Department of Crime Control and Public Safety while also studying at Shaw University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s in business management. 


After attending Shaw, Howerton earned a certificate in executive coaching from North Carolina State University and started working in corporate training and development across the country. After a realization that she wanted to stay closer to home, Howerton created her own business that specializes in organizational development and executive coaching and began her career in public office serving on the Durham County Soil and Water Conservation District Board.

Brenda Howerton talking

Howerton’s work is driven by losing two sons to gun violence in separate incidents, including one involving a police officer. She has turned her pain into action by championing children’s issues, like expanding pre-K and special social services programs for children affected by trauma. She is a trusted partner in the community, working to promote equitable economic development, advocating for public transit, and creating affordable housing solutions.

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