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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray says the city should 'double down' on its gun laws in the wake of the school shooting in Newton, Conn. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Mayor Gray says D.C. should 'double down' on gun restrictions

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said his city should "double down" on gun laws that are among the most stringent in the country, as leaders in the nation's capital and other cities view the sudden debate over guns as a pressing issue that afflicts youth both inside and outside of school walls. Published December 21, 2012

Census: D.C. growing faster than most states

New census data show the nation's capital is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country, adding more than 30,000 residents since early 2010 and recently eclipsing Vermont in overall population. Published December 20, 2012

D.C. lawmakers consider bill to protect emails

The sudden resignation of former CIA Director Gen. David H. Petraeus over an extramarital affair turned heads for many reasons — not least of which was the way a few Gmail messages brought down a man who handled sensitive information for a living. Published December 19, 2012

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, a Democrat, showed resistance to a proposal to cap money-order contributions to campaigns at $25, saying the cap seemed too low and that money orders do leave some record of the purchase. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

D.C. Council pushes campaign finance to ’13

Despite months of rhetoric and proposals, D.C. lawmakers failed to pass sweeping campaign finance reforms by the end of a legislative period that was historic for all the wrong reasons. Published December 18, 2012

**FILE** The Capitol's coal-burning power plant.

Use of coal in Capitol plant draws protesters

A power plant that provided electricity to the U.S. Capitol for decades and still heats and cools the iconic building and its surrounding offices is raising questions about whether coal's days are numbered as an American fuel of choice, particularly in the symbolic heart of the nation's capital. Published December 17, 2012

Backers of gun rights hit some big targets

Florida is preparing to issue its 1 millionth concealed-carry permit while a federal court ruling this week left the nation's capital as the only place in the United States with a total ban on carrying concealed weapons — developments that have gun advocates feeling that momentum is on their side in the national debate over whether Americans can remain armed once they leave home. Published December 13, 2012

D.C. students' test scores better on health than reading and math

Standardized test scores released Wednesday show select students in the nation's capital answered questions about disease prevention and nutrition correctly last spring at better rates than they did on the reading and math sections of their tests. Published December 13, 2012

Members of the media crowd around a model of the White House as the Joint Task Force - National Capital Region and the D.C. National Guard hold a final inauguration day planning symposium using a 40- by 60-foot map of downtown D.C. and the National Mall, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, December 12, 2012. The inauguration day events are planned out for months with a number of different military and civilian organizations. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Military maps out Obama inauguration security

This year's presidential inauguration parade route runs about 30 feet and looks to take about 20 seconds to traverse — or at least it does on the scale model laid across the floor of the D.C. Armory. Published December 12, 2012

King’s words will be struck, not replaced

The Department of the Interior announced Tuesday it will remove a controversial "drum major" quote on the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial that paraphrased the late civil rights leader's words, scrapping its initial plan to replace it with the full quote. Published December 11, 2012

Bonds wins interim D.C. Council seat

The D.C. Democratic State Committee selected its chairwoman, Anita Bonds, to fill a vacant seat on the city's legislative body until a special election this spring. Published December 10, 2012

Choosing a color for all D.C. cabs

Visitors to New York City see a golden horde hurtling down Broadway, passengers in Boston wheel around the harbor in snowy white cars and London's black cabs are as iconic as Big Ben. Published December 10, 2012

Barbara B. Lang, President and CEO, D.C. Chamber of Commerce talks about the future of the D.C. Council in the halls of the John A. Wilson Building in Washington, D.C., Thursday, June 7, 2012, a day after D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown resigned after federal prosecutors accused him of lying on a loan application. (Rod Lamkey Jr/The Washington Times)

CFO: D.C. ‘ballpark fee’ not going to increase

The District's top budget minder says the city does not need to raise the "ballpark fee" it imposes on businesses to pay down the massive debt it took to build a home for the Washington Nationals, a long-term endeavor in the nation's capital as other sports-crazed cities grapple with the role of public funds in high-stakes stadium deals. Published December 9, 2012

Security plans developing for smaller inauguration

President Obama's second inauguration is expected to draw less than half the number of visitors who descended on the Mall for his historic oath-taking in 2009, the top D.C. security official said Thursday. Published December 6, 2012

A man passes by a fallen tree on 14th Street SW on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, the day after Hurricane Sandy slammed into the region. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. gets federal aid for Sandy clean up

President Obama has signed a disaster declaration that will help the District defray $4 million in clean-up and recovery costs after Hurricane Sandy swept through the northeast United States at the end of October, closing schools and government offices in the nation's capital. Published December 6, 2012

D.C. moves forward on budget autonomy

While Congress keeps its daggers drawn over the best way to avert the "fiscal cliff," city lawmakers are forging ahead with a novel plan to divorce their local spending from budgetary stalemates on Capitol Hill — despite warnings about its legal validity from the D.C. mayor and a powerful House member. Published December 5, 2012

Bill authorizing WWI memorial advances in House

A House committee approved a bill on Wednesday to establish a World War I memorial in the District — a plan that has faced controversy despite its noble goal of honoring those who served in the Great War. Published December 5, 2012

Former D.C. Council chairman's brother charged with bank fraud

The brother of former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown has been charged with bank fraud — the same offense that brought down the erstwhile lawmaker — on accusations he submitted documents to a mortgage company to make it look as if he earned $35,000 in income he never actually received. Published December 5, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray says the city should 'double down' on its gun laws in the wake of the school shooting in Newton, Conn. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. Council moves to lower fines for speeding, most by $50

D.C. lawmakers on Tuesday signaled they will lower fines for speeders and other scofflaws caught by traffic cameras even as the city expands the program across the city — a trade-off that reflects the fragile business of letting machines issue tickets instead of live officers. Published December 4, 2012

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L Lanier, with Mayor Vincent C. Gray, discusses an initiative for phone-service carriers to disable stolen smartphones as soon as the theft is reported. Chief Lanier is a leading advocate of the FCC-coordinated program. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Smartphone thieves lose connection

Smartphones can hail a cab, stream football games and take high-quality photos, so the wireless industry's latest trick may seem as out of place as it was long in coming — rendering the phone as useless as a plastic brick. Published December 3, 2012