Tuesday is primary elections day in Virginia, and no other race in the Commonwealth has nearly the significance of the 28th House District, where embattled House Speaker Bill Howell is desperately trying to hold onto his seat. That election, which is nominally between Howell and Susan Stimpson, will determine who the next Speaker of the House of Delegates will be, and only a pitifully small number of Virginians will decide that outcome. If Howell wins this primary, he will almost certainly remain as Speaker. If he loses, Delegate Kirk Cox will almost certainly be our next House Speaker.
A House Speaker not only has the usual political power (and financial resources) you’d expect someone with seniority to have in the General Assembly, but he also wields some rather unusual parliamentary powers. At effectively his sole discretion, a Speaker can rule that a bill violates some procedural or constitutional rule and strike it. He determines what Committees are established in the House and who sits on them, and in so doing can actually direct which bills go to which committees ensuring that they obtain the legislative outcome he desires. In short, if the Speaker doesn’t want a bill to pass it won’t, and if he wants a bill to pass the House of Delegates, it will. If he wants a judge appointed, that’ll happen. If he wants something inserted into the budget or removed, that’ll happen as well. The President of the Senate of Virginia doesn’t hold this kind of power, making the House Speaker arguably the second most politically powerful position in Virginia but one who serves far longer than four years as the Governor does.
Once you’re Speaker, you tend to keep getting re-elected by the other members of the House of Delegates as Speaker unless you retire, die in office, or almost unheard of - lose your delegate seat in an election. That’s what might happen on Tuesday. It’s an exceedingly rare opportunity for people in just one House District to determine who is going to vested with this awesome and fearful power, and I certainly hope they grab this brass ring for all it’s worth and stop this twenty-eight year abomination.
If you’re sick of frequent ridiculous tax hikes, insanely drawn legislative districts, ineffective spending oversight, diversion of transportation revenues to the general fund, diversion of school construction funds, complete inaction on illegal immigration, or a host of other utterly infuriating bad governance examples, Howell is absolutely the one to blame. As he bellies up to the deep trough of corporate campaign contributions, he’ll quickly sell out his “conservative” principles - to the extent they exist at all - for the opportunity to direct campaign money to his favored allies (who vote the way he wants them to) and starve those he doesn’t favor. It’s the modern-day Byrd machine, in all it’s dishonor and infamy. It has to stop.
An acceptable alternative to Bill Howell in the 28th District, who will if they win will cause Kirk Cox to replace Howell as Speaker, must satisfy only two criteria in order to be a superior candidate:
- They must have a pulse
- They must satisfy the criteria of the Republican Party of Virginia and the Code of Virginia to qualify as a candidate
That’s it. I don’t care if the alternative is an alcoholic, mentally handicapped tranny who can only enunciate “harf” as they drool on themselves. If Stimpson beats Howell, she isn’t going to be Speaker, she’ll be a freshman among 99 other Delegates who can’t do us anywhere near the level of harm Howell currently does no matter how bad she is. Fortunately, it seems that she’s pretty darned good, at least as her record on the Stafford Board of Supervisors demonstrates.
Stimpson more than qualifies here.
A vote for Stimpson is a vote for Kirk Cox as House Speaker. Nothing else about this race really matters.
You few folks down in the 28th that will be voting on Tuesday are going to be making a choice that all the rest of us in Virginia are going to have to live with. Please choose wisely.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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