State Senator Janet Howell is one of the most partisan members of the Virginia General Assembly. And I suppose there can be some room for a little naked partisanship every once in a while, but the problem is she chairs a powerful committee. Temperamentally she is a back bencher, a bomb thrower if you will; she is not suited to work with others, especially members of the opposite party. And her naked partisanship creates bad will in the legislature and is detrimental to the state.
Janet Chairs the powerful Privileges and Elections committee and yesterday Janet decided to summarily rule several Republican Bills out of order. Just like that. When asked what rule, parliamentary guidance or other legal basis she used in her judgment, she stammered, and with the look of a deer caught in the headlights said, "Because that's how I ruled." Kind of reminds me of the Ring Lardner line, “Shut up, he explained.” Now she clearly had the votes to defeat the Bills, but she didn’t want her fellow Democrats to have to go on record voting against popular Republican Bills! She wanted to protect them politically, putting the interests of her party above the interests of democracy and Virginia. Now her excuse is that the subcommittee did not support the Bills, so they killed them she didn’t.
At least one Democrat Senator had the decency to denounce Howell. Speaking to the Washington Post, Democrat State Senator Charles Colgan said, "When we take a subcommittee and let a subcommittee decide whether something will pass or fail, that's wrong," Colgan told his colleagues. "When you do that, you are disenfranchising the people who sent that legislator here."
Our State faces serious issues, and Janet Howell’s mindless partisanship is not what we need at this time. For the good of Virginia I call for Janet Howell to relinquish the Chairmanship of the P and E committee. Let's try to bring back some civility and bipartisanship.