Richmond, VA – Yesterday, Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) announced that he will not seek re-election this year, but instead retire after his 30 years in the House.
Speaking to his retirement, Speaker Howell said, “Serving in this esteemed body which is the Virginia House of Delegates for the last 30 years has been a distinct privilege. Likewise, serving as the Speaker of the House for 15 years now truly has been the greatest professional honor of my life. While I obviously will miss all of you and while I will always look back with only fondness at every day I served here, I have decided that I will not be seeking re-election to the House.”
“If America is a shining city on a hill, then our Virginia House of Delegates is the brightest light atop the highest tower, he said. As a Delegate and as Speaker, I always have tried to serve in a manner worthy of that stature.”
William Howell was sworn in as the 54th Speaker of the House of Delegates in 2003. For the past 15 years, he led a nearly 400-year old institution, the oldest continuously elected law-making body in the New World. He is best known for introducing two pieces of major transportation legislation through the General Assembly: a $6 billion funding bill for the state and a bill to create the “Smartscale” system for evaluating transportation projects. These are just two of the many accomplishments that he has contributed to our Commonwealth. The fact that he has served the second longest time of any speaker in Virginia history says so much about his character.
“Speaker Howell leaves an indelible mark on Virginia and its citizens. As the leader of the House, he has shown both Democrats and Republicans how to lead with fairness, kindness, and compassion. As a servant leader he has shown what it means to listen and work hard on behalf of our citizens. I was honored to serve with him and work with him on so many transformational initiatives, such as Transportation Funding, education investment, budget reform and SOL reform. I will miss him for his mentor-ship of me and was honored that he named me the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee. You will be missed Mr. Speaker, my dear friend,” said Delegate Ron Villanueva.
Speaker William Howell will leave the Virginia House of Delegates with the House Majority 66 – 34. He is 73 years of age and wants to use this time to spend with his family and travel the world with his wife, Cessie.