Richmond, VA – Today, Speaker William J. Howell announced that he will not seek re-election to the Virginia House of Delegates. Delegate Hugo made the following statement:
“In my day job, my office sits just across the street from the United States Capitol. I am privileged to view one of our nation’s most iconic symbols of democracy. But, in addition to seeing this inspiring architecture, I often have a front row seat to the bitterness and divisiveness that is too often rampant in our nation’s capital.
In Richmond, we have our differences, but never a seething bitterness. I have often wondered what a difference a little over a hundred miles makes, and I know that that the answer lies within the calm demeanor and outstanding character of our current Speaker, William J. Howell.
Sworn in as Speaker, literally the day after I was sworn in as Delegate, Bill Howell has governed with a steadiness that has led people who have long known him to remark that he hasn’t changed since his first day in office almost thirty years ago.
That is amazing and so rare.
For you see, in DC, the assumption of power often manifests itself in new and never before seen displays of vindictive capriciousness, but never with Bill Howell. Differences of opinion are treated as such. They are just differences of opinion, not transgressions worthy of blood sport.
While the rapier wit is always present, and occasionally deployed, most transgressions are parried with a slight tilt of the head and challenges are blunted with a subtle humor that leaves all involved feeling that they have been heard and, most importantly, that they have been treated with respect.
In Richmond, the resentments and differences of today, unlike in Washington where they often fester for years, are gone tomorrow with Bill Howell. In Speaker Howell’s world, grudges are for reality TV, not something to be harbored between himself and other members.
For citizens of Virginia, we have a tale of two capitals in Washington and Richmond, one infused with bitterness and enduring hatred and the other with differences. However, in Richmond, one’s differences are passionate and civil.
On a map, these two capitals are just over 100 miles apart, but because of the demeanor, the class, and the character beyond reproach of William J. Howell, these capitals are truly worlds apart.
I thank Speaker Howell for his service to the House of Delegates, our Commonwealth of Virginia, and our nation.
I wish Bill and Cessie many years of happiness.”