|Rep. Dom Costa
21st Legislative District
It is not surprising that state Rep. Dom Costa would be drawn to public service; helping others has always been his calling and his passion.
As a child, he dreamed of being a police officer. In school he was always the one stepping in to protect classmates from bullies. He was inspired by the stories a family friend, police officer Mayer DeRoy, would tell him about life in law enforcement.
But before Dom would put on a badge, he'd pick up a wrench. His father, Albert, always told him, "Give someone a good eight hours and you'll never want for a job." So upon graduation from Penn Hills High School in 1970, Dom heeded those words and became a plumber, just like his dad. He taught others the trade through the Mon Yough Plumbing Apprentice Program and eventually opened his own business, gaining first-hand appreciation for the challenges and rewards small-business owners face.
The desire to defend others kept calling Dom and in 1977 he became a part-time police officer in East McKeesport; in 1979 he joined the Pittsburgh Police Department.
Dom became active in neighborhood citizen groups. He completed courses at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania's criminal justice training center. In 1981 he became a police negotiator, eventually rising to the rank of commander.
In February 2002, after completing a day's work, Dom was on his way to a community meeting when he heard a call on his police radio about an armed standoff in Homewood. He could have ignored it, but feeling duty-bound, he responded -- a decision that nearly cost him his life, but set him on a course that led him to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
As Dom negotiated with the suspect, something went wrong and the suspect opened fire, hitting Dom in the back. As Dom lay waiting for help, he thought of his wife and children, and vowed to survive for them.
Dom retired from the police force after the incident, but not for very long. In 2005, the late Pittsburgh Mayor Robert O'Connor asked him to be his chief of police. Dom was always inspired by O'Connor's dedication to public service and was honored put on his badge once again.
Dom hadn't really thought about running for public office; it was O'Connor who put the idea in his head, telling him that is was clear he loved helping others and was good at it. When O'Connor died, Dom embarked on yet another career and became a state representative in 2009.
Dom and his wife Darlene and their two West Highland White Terriers, Rocky and Max, live in the community he once protected. He has three children: Tina, Julie and Scott. Tina is married to Tom Delaney, Julie is married to Devin Malcolm and they have blessed Dom and his wife with two grandchildren: Quinn and Liam. Scott is a student at Penn State University.
Dom Costa is active in several community organizations: