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Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Falling D.C. unemployment ‘good news,’ not great

New labor statistics show the District's unemployment rate continues to decline — from 8.9 percent in July to 8.8 percent in August — although the city still lags behind the national rate of 8.1 percent and nearly 1 in 4 residents of Ward 8 cannot find work. Published September 23, 2012

As council chairman, Vincent C. Gray took the lead in voting down the contract award, thus necessitating a rebid, according to the memo. (The Washington Times)

D.C. unemployment declines in August

Labor statistics released Friday show the District's unemployment rate continues its decline — from 8.9 percent in July to 8.8 percent in August — although the city still lags behind the national rate of 8.1 percent and nearly one in four residents of Ward 8 cannot find work. Published September 21, 2012

** FILE ** D.C. Council member Tommy Wells (Raymond Thompson/The Washington Times)

Wells joins call for D.C. campaign reforms

D.C. lawmakers are heaping new bills onto an already deep pile of campaign-finance reforms on the agenda at city hall, creating what amounts to a smorgasbord of solutions aimed at restoring confidence in their scandal-tinged body. Published September 20, 2012

Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray fields questions as he holds a press conference to announce the first set of grades for Grade.DC.gov at the John A. Wilson Building in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, July 24, 2012. The Grade.DC.gov platform is being piloted first with five District government agencies whose employees and online presences interact with large segments of the District's residents and businesses on a daily basis. The online feedback system is designed to analyze and improve customer service. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. Council amends tech incentives bill

The D.C. Council on Wednesday delivered a blow to Mayor Vincent C. Gray's vision of a thriving tech sector in the District, hours after he strenuously defended investor-friendly tax cuts as a compelling way to diversify the District's economy in the face of potentially steep federal spending cuts. Published September 19, 2012

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson holds a media briefing to discuss topics which may come up during a legislative meeting to be held on Wednesday, Washington, D.C., Tuesday, September 18, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Mendelson sees confidence gap for D.C. Council

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said he wants to effectively and efficiently restore public support for the city's legislative body, even as lawmakers gird for a fight Wednesday over the best ways to mitigate the effects of potentially steep federal spending cuts next year. Published September 18, 2012

Michael A. Brown

Brown notches endorsements despite recent troubles

D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown's campaign for re-election announced endorsements from nine unions Tuesday despite troubling headlines that have ranged from missing campaign funds to a close call on petitions he submitted to get on the ballot. Published September 18, 2012

D.C. Council member Jack Evans (The Washington Times)

Evans bill would eliminate need for D.C. Council contract approval

D.C. Council member Jack Evans plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would remove city lawmakers' from the contract approval process, a controversial power that allows the council to have a say in deals worth more than $1 million and has fueled suspicions of pay-to-play politics in the city. Published September 17, 2012

Gray defends vision of D.C. tech hub

In the face of steep federal spending cuts, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Monday called on city lawmakers to pass a tax incentives bill for tech companies to diversify the nongovernment economy in the nation's capital and keep 21st-century innovators from fleeing the city with their coveted jobs. Published September 17, 2012

** FILE ** Rep. Darrell E. Issa tells the media that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. must provide Congress with the requested documents in the "Fast and Furious" probe in this June 20, 2012, file photo. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. budget autonomy bid in limbo on the Hill

It's been 16 months since a powerful House member signaled a plan to allow the District to spend its local funds without being tethered to federal spending plans on Capitol Hill, an enticing goal for D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the city's piggy-bank minders. Published September 16, 2012

D.C. dignitaries joined city children on Thursday to cut the ribbon in front of Educare, a state-of-the-art center focusing on early childhood education in Ward 7. From left, are D.C. Housing Authority Director Adrianne Todman, council member Yvette M. Alexander, Ward 7 Democrat, and Mayor Vincent C. Gray. Dorothy Douglas, leaning over the banner in the black dress, is a member of the D.C. State Board of Education for Ward 7. (Tom Howell Jr./The Washington Times)

Gray opens center for early childhood education

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray unveiled an early childhood education center east of the Anacostia River on Thursday that serves as the keystone of his aggressive effort to stimulate the minds of children in their first years, preparing them for kindergarten and beyond. Published September 13, 2012

**FILE** Former D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Lawyer for former Brown aide accuses council member of skulduggery

An attorney for a former campaign aide of D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown logged onto Facebook Wednesday and accused the incumbent lawmaker of engaging in the type of skulduggery to which his client has been linked — the theft of more than $100,000 from Mr. Brown's 2012 campaign. Published September 12, 2012

Michael A. Brown

D.C. Council member Brown: Embezzlement victimized campaign

D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown said Tuesday his campaign was victimized by an embezzlement scheme that lasted several months and erased nearly $114,000 from its coffers, leaving him with $18,000 in his re-election race Published September 11, 2012

Howard L. Brooks (right), an aide to D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, makes his way to a waiting car after pleading guilty Thursday in federal court to lying about furtive campaign payments to candidate Sulaimon Brown before the 2010 Democratic primary for mayor. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Prosecutors won't seek jail time for Gray aide cooperating in probe

Citing his "substantial assistance" to their ongoing investigation, federal prosecutors on Monday said they are not seeking prison time for an aide to Mayor Vincent C. Gray's 2010 campaign who admitted he paid a minor mayoral candidate with the hope he would stay in the race and bash incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. Published September 10, 2012

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown leaves his office at the John A. Wilson Building after being charged Wednesday in federal court with one felony count of bank fraud. He resigned hours later. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Sentencing for former D.C. Council chairman delayed

A federal judge has pushed back the sentencing of former D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown to November so he can "complete his cooperation" with the U.S. Attorney's Office, according to documents filed in the case. Published September 10, 2012

D.C. Council member Michael A Brown (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. elections board says Brown can stay on ballot

The D.C. Board of Elections ruled Monday that D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown collected enough petition signatures from city voters to appear on the ballot in November, despite dual challenges from one of his opponents in the at-large race and a city government watchdog. Published September 10, 2012

**FILE** Former D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

D.C. elections board to decide challenge to Brown's nominating petitions

The D.C. Board of Elections is expected to decide later today whether D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown collected enough petition signatures from city voters to be on the ballot this November, a hotly contested issue that has put the race for two at-large council seats front-and-center among the city's fall campaigns. Published September 10, 2012

Congressman proposes site for national WWI memorial

A Texas congressman who abandoned efforts this summer to "nationalize" the District of Columbia World War I Memorial on the Mall has crafted a revamped bill that would honor Americans who fought and died in the Great War on a site north of the Reflecting Pool. Published September 9, 2012

D.C. Council member Kenyan McDuffie (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Gray addresses Northwest D.C. flooding problems

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced a trio of short-term measures on Friday aimed at mitigating the impact of severe flooding that has damaged homes in the Bloomingdale and Le Droit Park neighborhoods this summer during bouts of intense rainfall. Published September 7, 2012

The Culex pipiens (left) is the primary mosquito that can transmit West Nile virus to humans, birds and other animals. It is produced in stagnant water. At right is an Aedes vexans, primarily a nuisance mosquito produced from freshwater that it is not a key transmitter of disease. (Associated Press)

First D.C. West Nile death is a 'senior male'

The D.C. Department of Health on Thursday confirmed the city's first death this year from West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne infection that is causing alarm across the United States. Published September 6, 2012