|54th Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates|
January 8, 2003 – January 10, 2018
|Preceded by||Lacey Putney (acting)|
|Succeeded by||Kirk Cox|
|Member of the Virginia House of Delegates|
from the 28th district
January 8, 1992 – January 10, 2018
|Preceded by||Clinton Miller|
|Succeeded by||Bob Thomas|
|Member of the Virginia House of Delegates|
from the 53rd district
January 13, 1988 – January 8, 1992
|Preceded by||Tom Moncure|
|Succeeded by||Jim Scott|
William James Howell
May 8, 1943
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Cecelia Joy Stump|
|Alma mater||University of Richmond (BS)|
University of Virginia (LLB)
William James Howell (born May 8, 1943) is an American politician from the Commonwealth of Virginia. He represented Virginia's 28th House of Delegates district from 1992 until 2018 and served as Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates from 2003 to 2018. He also serves as chairman of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission. Presiding over the House during a period of Republican dominance in that chamber, Howell has been applauded by many in and out of his party as a pragmatic leader but is also notable for heading Virginia's controversial redistricting efforts following the 2010 census and firmly opposing efforts to expand Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Early life and education
William James Howell was born on May 8, 1943 in Washington, D.C., the second of four children of William Fayette Howell and the former Eileen Hill. His father, an employee of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, joined the World Bank in 1946, where he served in a number of executive positions until his death in 1964. His mother, a native of England and daughter of trade unionist and academic Levi Hill, accompanied her father on a lecture tour of the United States, where she met her future husband.
About a year after Howell's birth, the family moved to Alexandria, Virginia, where he grew up. After graduating from Fairfax High School in 1960, he studied business administration at the University of Richmond, where his classmates included Robert S. Jepson, Jr. and Leslie M. Baker, Jr. He attended the University of Virginia School of Law and was admitted to the state bar in 1967.
Howell was raised in a civically active family and described both of his parents as "New Deal Democrats." Citing a need to discover his own political philosophy while at college, he spent a summer reading different authors from across the ideological spectrum and was eventually influenced by the conservative ideas of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.
Legal career and community involvement
House of Delegates service and speakership
In 1987, three-term incumbent Republican delegate Thomas M. Moncure Jr. announced that he would not be seeking reelection. Howell ran for the open seat at the urging of state senator John Chichester and easily won the three-way race against Democrat Thomas Savage and Independent Al Fagan.
In 2017, Howell announced that he would not seek reelection, retiring at the end of his term. Later that week, Kirk Cox, who had served under Howell as the House Majority Leader since 2010, was unanimously elected by the General Assembly House Republican Caucus as their choice for the next speaker.
Howell married Cecelia Joy "Cessie" Stump in 1966. They live in Falmouth in Stafford County, Virginia. The couple had two sons, William Fayette Howell, II and Leland Jack Howell. The couple has seven grandchildren as well. Howell is a deeply religious Baptist, and, in the 1990s, along with Bob McDonnell, Randy Forbes, and one other delegate, he founded a prayer group and Bible study that meets weekly when the Virginia General Assembly is in session.
|Virginia House of Delegates, 53rd district|
|Nov 3, 1987||General||William J. Howell||Republican||7,598||48.51|
|Thomas Y. Savage||Democratic||5,752||36.72|
|M. Alfred Fagan||Independent||2,313||14.77|
|Tom Moncure did not seek reelection; seat stayed Republican|
|Nov 7, 1989||General||William J. Howell||Republican||12,964||99.86|
|Virginia House of Delegates, 28th district|
|Nov 5, 1991||General||William J. Howell||Republican||7,805||75.24|
|Marcia J. Preston||Democratic||2,568||24.76|
|Clinton Miller redistricted to 26th district; seat stayed Republican|
|Nov 2, 1993||General||William J. Howell||Republican||11,904||73.72|
|Marcia J. Preston||Democratic||3,240||20.07|
|David E. O'Keeffe||Independent||1,002||6.21|
|Nov 7, 1995||General||William J. Howell||Republican||10,518||69.41|
|M. Alicia Knight||Democratic||4,633||30.57|
|Nov 4, 1997||General||William J. Howell||Republican||15,930||98.24|
|Nov 2, 1999||General||William J. Howell||Republican||11,587||80.08|
|Garrett T. Baker||Independent||2,839||19.62|
|Nov 6, 2001||General||William J. Howell||Republican||10,964||63.83|
|Noreen C. Crowley||Democratic||6,196||36.07|
|Nov 4, 2003||General||William J. Howell||Republican||7,373||96.49|
|Nov 8, 2005||General||William J. Howell||Republican||14,807||94.64|
|Nov 6, 2007||General||William J. Howell||Republican||8,726||61.70|
|Clyde W. Matthews||Democratic||4,926||34.83|
|Craig E. Ennis||Independent Greens||457||3.23|
|Nov 3, 2009||General||William J. Howell||Republican||14,909||74.82|
|Craig E. Ennis||Independent Greens||4,874||24.46|
|Nov 8, 2011||General||William J. Howell||Republican||9,350||91.77|
|Nov 5, 2013||General||William J. Howell||Republican||14,998||90.77|
|Nov 3, 2015||General||William J. Howell||Republican||8,060||60.26|
|Kandy A. Hilliard||Democratic||5,272||39.41|
- Gross, Edie (January 9, 2003). "Quiet Bill Howell becomes Mr. Speaker". The Free Lance-Star. 119 (9). Fredericksburg, VA. p. 1.
- Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission – Annual Report – 2015
- Vozzella, Laura; Schneider, Gregory S. (February 20, 2017). "Va. House Speaker William Howell, a pragmatic Republican, will not run again". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
- Mason, Edward S.; Asher, Robert E. (December 2010). The World Bank since Bretton Woods. ISBN 0815720300.
- "Delegate Kirk Cox elected as the next Speaker of the House". The Progress-Index. February 22, 2017. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
- "General Election- November 3, 1987". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
- "General Election- November 7, 1989". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
- "General Election- November 5, 1991". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
- "November 2, 1993 General Election Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
- "General Election- November 7, 1995". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
- "General Election- November 4, 1997". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2017-04-17.
- "Election Results - House of Delegates - Nov 1999 Gen Election". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "General Election- November 6, 2001". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "General Election- November 4, 2003". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "General Election- November 8, 2005". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "November 6, 2007 General Election Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "November 2009 General Election Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "November 2011 General Election Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "November 2013 General Election Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2015-01-07.
- "November 2015 General Election Official Results". Virginia State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2017-04-17.