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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 Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Education bills get mixed reviews from D.C. schools officials

A long line of witnesses testified Thursday in favor of legislation that requires D.C. high school students to take college entrance exams and apply to at least one college. Yet the city's charter school board feels the measure amounts to "overreaching" and the traditional public schools system could not offer unqualified support for the bill. Published February 16, 2012

Denny Jones (left) flanked by D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (right) as he offers remarks regarding the settlement of the lengthy Dixon v. Gray case over the District's mental health system, in the John A. Wilson Building in the District on Thursday, February 16, 2012. (Rod Lamkey Jr/ The Washington Times)

Long-running D.C. mental health case settled

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced Thursday the "historic" settlement of 37-year-old litigation brought by mental health patients who decried the District's lack of non-institutional treatment settings. Published February 16, 2012

A public-private trust at the center of former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s theft scandal gave more than $100,000 to groups not registered as nonprofits and others not in city records. (The Washington Times)

GOP's Day among dozens filing for Thomas' open seat

A Republican who blew the whistle on former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr.'s surreptitious habit of stealing from the city is among those who filed petitions to appear on the ballot in the special election to replace the disgraced ex-legislator from Ward 5. Published February 15, 2012

D.C. bill would assess third-graders' readiness to advance

A D.C. Council committee is vetting a bill Thursday that ensures third-graders are ready for fourth grade, a reflection of efforts across the country to gauge academic progress in the early years of children's education. Published February 15, 2012

D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (The Washington Times)

Mendelson: Occupiers not target of D.C. crime bill language on protests

A crime bill that asks the D.C. Council to tighten up a mix of public safety laws includes provisions that strike at the heart of public demonstrations — a frequent and common practice in the nation's capital taken to new levels during the Occupy D.C. protest. Published February 14, 2012

Despite city's growth, D.C. school enrollment falls

An audit released Monday shows enrollment in the District's traditional public schools decreased slightly from 2010 to 2011, despite significant population growth in the city. Published February 13, 2012

D.C. Council member Michael Brown

Online-gambling bill's future uncertain

D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown is repeatedly warning that repealing the District's online-gambling law will put the city in a bind if Congress decides to legalize and regulate Internet gaming, clearing the way for "casino interests" from Nevada and elsewhere across the country to hit the jackpot in a burgeoning market. Published February 12, 2012

Former DYRS ward sentenced for killing honor student

A 20-year-old D.C. man was sentenced to 60 years in prison on Friday for killing a 17-year-old honor roll student who was walking back to his Northeast home with a friend last year after a brief jaunt for cigarettes. Published February 10, 2012

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif ., right, talks with Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, left, and City Council Chairman Kwame Brown, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 12, 2011, prior to the start of a House Health Care, DC, Census, and the National Archives subcommittee hearing on the city's budget.  (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

Obama budget to support D.C. spending autonomy

The Obama administration supports legislation that would allow the District to spend its local funds without waiting for Congress to approve its own spending priorities, according to the office of Mayor Vincent C. Gray. Published February 10, 2012

Park Service to replace quote on MLK Memorial

The National Park Service announced on Friday it will correct a paraphrased "drum major" quote etched into the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial to "more accurately reflect" King's words. Published February 10, 2012

** FILE ** D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan (Pratik Shah/The Washington Times)

D.C. fires city workers for unemployment fraud

The D.C. government has begun firing city workers identified in a probe that found rampant abuse of unemployment benefits by employees in most of the city's agencies, officials said Wednesday. Published February 8, 2012

Washington Mayor Vincent C. Gray (center) arrives with D.C. Council members and D.C. citizens at the New Hampshire Statehouse in Concord, N.H., on Friday, Jan. 27, 2012, to try to gain support for D.C. statehood. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

New Hampshire rejects D.C. statehood resolution

The New Hampshire House of Representatives defeated a resolution on Wednesday to recognize the District as the 51st state, with members noisily ignoring its sponsor before one critic instructed his colleagues to "save money on the parchment, not that it's much." Published February 8, 2012

Mayor Vincent C. Gray, in his State of the District address Tuesday, touted the District as a thriving "city of firsts" that is growing, attracting investors and saving for its future while it yearns to bring its neediest residents into the tent of prosperity. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. Mayor Gray makes amends for his missteps, looks ahead

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray acknowledged the missteps of his administration on Tuesday and pledged to regain his footing after a scandal-plagued first year in office that featured hiring missteps and allegations of nepotism and campaign payoffs. Published February 7, 2012

Washington Mayor Vincent C. Gray (from left) and D.C. Council members David Catania, Michael A. Brown and Vincent Orange stand for the Pledge of Allegiance before advocating for D.C. statehood in front of the New Hampshire House of Representatives Committee on State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs at the New Hampshire Statehouse in Concord, N.H., on Friday, Jan. 27, 2012.  (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

New Hampshire House weighs D.C. statehood

A resolution by the New Hampshire legislature to recognize the District as the 51st state reaches the House floor Wednesday, a last-ditch hope for D.C. officials who looked to Granite State lawmakers to jump-start their quest for statehood. Published February 7, 2012

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

Evans wants to repeal new tax on out-of-state bonds

D.C. Council member Jack Evans introduced a bill on Tuesday to repeal a new tax on out-of-state municipal bonds held by District residents, potentially reversing a revenue generator that prompted hours of debate in last year's in budget talks. Published February 7, 2012

D.C. Council member Michael A. Brown (The Washington Times)

D.C. Council member preps last-minute bid to save iGaming

The D.C. Council's top proponent of online gambling through the city's lottery system plans to offer a compromise bill on Tuesday to avoid a complete repeal of the program that was passed into law in 2010. Published February 6, 2012

Derek Ford, left, campaign treasurer for D.C. Council member Yvette M. Alexander, confers with the campaign's attorney, David Wilmot, during a D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics hearing Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. elections board dismisses challenge to Alexander's petitions

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics ruled on Monday there is insufficient evidence to suggest D.C. Council member Yvette M. Alexander should be kept off the April 3 primary ballot despite accusations her petition circulators did not witness many of the signatures they authorized in their filings to the board. Published February 6, 2012

Jack Evans, chair of the D.C. Council Committee on Finance and Revenue, listens to tesitmony during a public oversight hearing Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012 on the matter of i-Gaming. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

iGaming repeal to go before full D.C. Council

D.C. Council member Jack Evans has wasted no time in requesting the full council weigh in on the repeal of the District's controversial online gambling program. Published February 2, 2012