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Bravo! Bill Howell puts principle above politics

Date published: 2/18/2013

Few times in contemporary legislative arenas, at the federal, state, or local levels, does one witness true acts of political courage. Recently, Speaker of House Bill Howell gave such a refreshing act by putting higher principles above mere partisan politics. The Speaker's ruling against the Republican senators' ambush redistricting amendments to a technical House bill brought him immediate ridicule from its architects and, reportedly, rebuke from some in his own House Republican Caucus. That is not surprising, but it makes the Speaker's actions all the more commendable.

Sadly, strident partisan politics, the beast that has devoured Congress, now has found new quarters at the State Capitol. Only last year, did the Senate Democrats almost bring the commonwealth to a screeching halt by not passing a state budget. Not until another heroic act by Democratic Sen. Chuck Colgan, who stepped out of his party's robe and voted with Republicans, did a budget pass the General Assembly after weeks of delay. Sen. Colgan reached for a higher goal--the good of the commonwealth, not mere political one-upsmanship.

Elected officials like Howell and Colgan bring a much-needed renewal of principle above politics, people above party, and fairness for all above partisan self-interest.

The Speaker's actions validated his strong faith, which manifested itself by his actions--not just words. Virginia and America need more acts of political courage as demon- strated by Bill Howell: acts that show true strength to do right, despite the petty partisan lashes that follow. He richly deserves the public's accolades for his political courage.

Edd Houck


Edd Houck represented the 17th Senatorial District in the Virginia General Assembly for 28 years.