Poverty Forum

Terrell Halaska
Founding Partner HCM Strategists

After serving in the White House, two federal agencies, Congress, and state government, Terrell Halaska offers extensive knowledge of how current health, education, and social issues affect both the private and public sectors. Among her work at HCM, she led the launch of the Rethinking Student Aid study group, an independent effort to reform federal student aid.

Ms. Halaska was confirmed by the Senate as assistant secretary of education for legislation and congressional affairs. She was a member of the senior strategic management team and served as the agency's negotiator with Congress on several key initiatives. Her efforts resulted in the inclusion of most of the President's education proposals in the America COMPETES Act; led to the largest increase in Pell grants in more than 30 years; and created the Academic Competitiveness and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grants. She led the team negotiating reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Higher Education Act.

Prior to joining the education team, Ms. Halaska served as special assistant to the President for domestic policy at the White House, advising the President, domestic policy advisor, and other senior White House staff. She was responsible for developing and advancing administration policies on family and children's issues, including early childhood education, welfare reform, child welfare, adoption, housing, and homelessness.

Ms. Halaska joined the White House staff following her role as deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As a member of Secretary Tommy Thompson's senior strategic management team, she oversaw policy development on a number of issues, including stem cell research and international and domestic HIV/AIDS. Previously, Ms. Halaska directed the state of Wisconsin's Washington office, and on Capitol Hill, she was press secretary to Congressman Scott Klug (R-WI).

Ms. Halaska earned a master's degree in policy studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California, San Diego.


Each member of The Poverty Forum participated as an individual and not as a representative of any association. Their individual support and association with any and all proposals may not reflect the agency for which they work.


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Acces information on poverty policy & other resources

The Poverty Forum is made up of 8 teams who came up with 25 policy proposals addressing domestic poverty. Brief summaries, complete white paper policy proposals, and a press kit can be found on our Resource page.

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