Councilman Dan Terbrack to run for open state representative seat

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published August 28, 2013

BERKLEY — Dan Terbrack is ready to make the move from local government to the state level.

Terbrack, a Berkley native and current Berkley City Council member, is running for state representative to represent the 27th district, which includes Berkley, Pleasant Ridge, Oak Park, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Hazel Park and Royal Oak Township.

The current state representative, Ellen Cogen Lipton, is term-limited and will fulfill her term next year. The primary election for her successor will be August 2014 with the final election taking place that November.

“When I was just beginning as a public school teacher, I wanted to get involved with local politics for a while,” Terbrack, 33, said. “I emailed the state representative at the time, and he walked me through the steps, the first of which was to get involved with the local community.

“I have seen what happens when a decision that comes from Lansing impacts local communities and, as an educator, I have seen how decisions impact public education in the state. I want to bring those two passions together and work for all the residents.”

Terbrack grew up in Berkley and attended Our Lady of La Salette before graduating from Brother Rice High School. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Central Michigan University.

Since returning to the area, Terbrack has taught at several local schools, most recently serving as principal at La Salette before the school closed in June. Terbrack said his time as a social studies teacher has fed his interest in politics.

“I have always been drawn to history and politics and the decisions that have happened in this country and the impact they have on the future,” he said. “I have been laid off twice from public schools, and it was largely due to cutbacks that have impacted a lot of educators. I have seen firsthand what happens and the impact cutting funding and losing staff has on the education of our children, and it is critical.”

Terbrack has served on the Berkley City Council since 2007 and was selected as mayor pro tem in 2009.

Berkley Mayor Phil O’Dwyer said one of Terbrack’s assets as a council member has been his understanding of the issues when they are presented at meetings and his willingness to go beyond the usual reading material.

“Dan studies the issues, and before every vote he casts, he has a clear understanding of the implications of a yes vote and a no vote on the residents and the city,” O’Dwyer said. “He has good judgments, educated judgments, with the goal of making Berkley a better place. It seems to me his guideline is what is best for Berkley, and when he goes on to be a state representative, what is best for this region of the state and the state in general.”

Terbrack has been married for 10 years and has two daughters under the age of five, making his drive to better local communities and public education vital for his family’s future, O’Dwyer said.

“I was excited when I heard he was running for state representative because we need people in Lansing who understand the impact of their decisions on local cities and on school districts,” he said. “Dan has a passion for good government and good education, and he is trying to make a better state so his daughters can grow up and be successful.

“I’m excited about the possibilities that exist with someone like Dan in Lansing. He will fight for the right things.”

With the primary election about a year out, Terbrack said he wanted to declare his decision to run for office early so he could get out to the other communities and get to know the people and talk about what issues he cares about.

Terbrack said there are no question marks on what issues he is running on, as municipal government and public education are the driving force behind his campaign.

“For the state to be successful, we have to back the public schools because they are in charge of creating the future of this country, and we need to do what is best for students,” he said. “On the other hand, there have been a lot of cuts from municipal governments. Residents move into a city because they like the city and like what they offer, and we need to make sure municipalities have the ability to offer those essential services that the residents want.”