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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 (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

D.C. clarifies error on after-school program

After a press release containing not-entirely-correct information went out Thursday, D.C. officials took pains to clarify that any parents who wish to enroll their children in after-school programs at city schools will not be turned away, even though the District must verify the citizenship status of students who benefit from federally subsidized programs. Published August 16, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. submits plan for health-benefits exchange to feds

The D.C. government submitted a detailed proposal to the federal government on Wednesday outlining its vision for a consumer-friendly marketplace of insurance plans as part of President Obama's health care law, a controversial package of reforms that the District embraced from the start while other states wait for its legal and political narrative to play out. Published August 15, 2012

** FILE ** Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

LaHood, local leaders demand reforms from airports authority

Elected leaders from the District, Maryland and Virginia joined the nation's top transportation official on Tuesday calling for immediate reforms at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority in the wake of recent reports that raise "serious doubts" about its effectiveness. Published August 14, 2012

David Grosso (

D.C. Council candidates ramp up fundraising

New campaign finance reports show D.C. Council incumbents with adequate war chests or recharging their fundraising efforts with about three months to go before the Nov. 6 election. Published August 13, 2012

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Health law readiness follows state, party lines

The District of Columbia and Maryland are moving aggressively to implement virtual markets of insurance plans, becoming national leaders in carrying out President Obama's vision for health care reform, while their Republican neighbors in Virginia remain less than eager to implement the controversial law. Published August 12, 2012

** FILE ** D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

IG report: No widespread school-test cheating in D.C.

A long-awaited report by the D.C. office of the inspector general says investigators found no evidence of widespread cheating among city public school students from 2008 to 2010, despite alarming testimony that some teachers at Noyes Education Campus in Northeast pointed out incorrect responses on standardized tests until students filled in the right answers. Published August 8, 2012

Users of some D.C. online services get malware warning

Local residents looking to pay parking tickets or use other online services from the D.C. government in the past week were greeted with an ominous message, saying their use of the city's website could expose them to malicious software. Published August 7, 2012

** FILE ** Former D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams (Mary F. Calvert/The Washington Times)

Tax-reform panel aims to untie D.C. code’s ‘knot’

A newly seated edition of the D.C. Tax Revision Commission began wading through layers of the city's Byzantine tax structure on Monday and brainstorming ways to keep the city's finances in step with its flourishing population. Published August 6, 2012

New D.C. health director ready for challenges

Dr. Saul Levin left his native South Africa in 1984, a time when his country was still under the grip of a racially driven apartheid system and HIV/AIDS awareness was uncertain territory. Published August 5, 2012

Vouchers available to 1,788 D.C. students

More than 1,700 students from the District will get the chance to attend a private school this year through a federal voucher program, despite an ongoing debate among leaders in the city and on Capitol Hill about whether "school choice" should stay within the bounds of the public school system. Published August 2, 2012

Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican, introduced the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in January. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Effort to restrict abortions in D.C. fails in House

House Republicans could not muster enough votes Tuesday to pass a bill that bans abortions in the District after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a closely watched measure that pitted Democrats 'claims of a "war on women" against pro-life advocates' state-by-state defense of the unborn. Published July 31, 2012

Rep. Trent Franks, Arizona Republican, introduced the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in January. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

House scheduled to vote on D.C. abortion ban

The House is scheduled to vote late Tuesday on a bill that prohibits abortions in the District after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a controversial move that has been heavily promoted by pro-life advocates and decried by city officials and Planned Parenthood. Published July 31, 2012

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

Issa gives commuter tax idea a big boost

A D.C. lawmaker in charge of local purse strings thinks an influential congressman's look at a tax on out-of-state residents who work in the District could be a "game changer" for the city's finances. Published July 30, 2012

Mayor, D.C. school officials cheer rise in test scores

D.C. school officials on Thursday praised overall gains in 2012 test scores as another baby step toward the ambitious, long-term goals for school reform — although less than half of the city's students were proficient in math and reading. Published July 26, 2012

After introducing his "One City Action Plan" on Wednesday, Mayor Vincent C. Gray got testy with reporters at the Wilson Building. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

In Gray’s defense, he’s getting good at defending himself

For the third time in as many days, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray stood at a podium on Wednesday to highlight the District's progress during his tenure — a defiant stand less than a week after his attorney rebuked the media's "rush to judgment" over a shadow-campaign scandal that has besmirched Mr. Gray's first 18 months in office. Published July 25, 2012