Is Virginia House Speaker Bill “ALEC” Howell waging a “blitz” against Fairfax County, and more broadly against Northern Virginia Democrats? That’s what I’m being told by good sources. A few key points:
*First, check out the new makeup of the powerful House Appropriations Committee (Jones (Chairman), Ingram, Cox, Landes (Vice Chairman), O’Bannon, Lingamfelter, Poindexter, Massie, Scott, Peace, Greason, Knight, Anderson, Garrett, Stolle, Joannou, Brink, Howell (of Norfolk), BaCote, Dance, Torian, Hester). Notice anything here – other than the overwhelming number of Republicans, that is? How about that not a SINGLE member of this crucial committee comes from Fairfax County (Del. Bob Brink is from Arlington, although he represents a sliver of Fairfax County). In other words, the 1.2 million people who live in Fairfax — nearly 15% of the state’s population, also the county with the largest economy in Virginia — essentially have no voice in the House of Delegates when it comes to how money is spent in this state. Wonderful, huh?
*Where are those members from? Hampton Roads area: Chris Jones, Barry Knight, Chris Stolle, Johnny Joannou (a Democrat in Name Only), Algie Howell, Mamye BaCote, Daun Hester; Central Virginia: Riley Ingram, Kirk Cox, John O’Bannon, Ed Scott, Jimmie Massie, Scott Garrett; Western Virginia: Steve Landes; Southside or SWVA: Charles Poindexter, Rosalyn Dance; Eastern Virginia: Chris Peace; Northern Virginia: Tag Greason (Loudoun), Rich Anderson (Prince William), Bob Brink (Arlington), Luke Torian (Prince William). Notice that in addition to the Fairfax County shutout, Southwestern Virginia also has largely been excluded from Appropriations.
*By the way, not only did Speaker Howell not replace former Del. Jim Scott (Falls Church, Fairfax) on the Democratic side — none of the three open seats on the Republican side went to a Republican representing part of Fairfax County (possibilities included Tom Rust, Dave Albo, Jim LeMunyon, Barbara Comstock, Tim Hugo). So it’s not just snubbing Democrats, it’s snubbing Fairfax County, by far the largest county in Virginia and a huge “net donor” in terms of money to the rest of the state. Can we say “taxation without representation?”
*Why would Howell do this? I’m not sure exactly, but I’m told that in part it is in anticipation of pushing back against Gov. McAuliffe’s budget amendments. I’m also told that Howell is on a “blitz against NoVA & Dems” this session. That includes “scheduling a huge number of [Fairfax County Democratic delegates’] bills early in the session and very early in the morning, and not allowing bills to be rolled together–thereby choosing a Republican’s bill and excluding Dems who have bills on the same subject.”
Again, keep in mind that – as the Roanoke Times described it this morning – House Appropriations is “arguably the most important committee in the state legislature.” So for Fairfax County to be essentially excluded from House Appropriations is truly a “screw you” of the highest order from Speaker Bill “ALEC” Howell. But then again, that’s how this right-wing, corporate tool rolls…