Howard is a native Chicagoan who grew up in West Garfield Park and is a product of the Chicago Public School System. During the summer at age 8, he would take the Garfield Park L by himself to the Loop to help his father who worked for Cook County Sheriff Richard J. Daley. One time when seeing his Dad, former President Harry S Truman was visiting the newly-minted Mayor Daley to raise money for the Truman Presidential Library. The former President held up an entire elevator of VIPs at Chicago City Hall so he could give Howard his autograph.
Howard went to be in the first graduating class at the University of Illinois-Chicago campus in 1966 and was editor of the Chicago Illini during the move from Navy Pier to the new West Loop campus. Howard remains active with the UIC Alumni Association. He later went on to receive a graduate degree in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Howard advanced to be a reporter for Chicago Today and the Chicago Tribune.
In 1975, he was offered a job by the late Senator Charles H. Percy (R-IL) to be an investigator for the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He also worked on Illinois issues such as jump starting the corn ethanol industry, revitalizing Midway Airport, and helping curb “Chop Shops” or theft for auto parts for their resale value which was centered in Chicago. After leaving the Senate, Howard was appointed by Department of Agriculture Secretary Jack Block, an Illinois native, to be Associate Administrator of the Office of International Cooperation and Development at USDA. Later, at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, he worked to preserve Lake Michigan.
Howard was recently appointed by DC Mayor Bowser to be a member of the DC Emancipation Day Proclamation Commission. It commemorates the day when President Lincoln freed the slaves in the District, nine months ahead of giving freedom to slaves elsewhere in the rest of the nation.
Howard and his wife Sandy (who lived in Chicago for almost two decades) share a condo in Chinatown with their Jack Russell Terrier Sabra.