Skip to content

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr.

Tom Howell Jr. covers politics and the White House for The Washington Times. He can be reached at

Articles by Tom Howell Jr.

D.C. Council’s New Hampshire trip postponed

Citing up to 6 inches of snow in their forecast, state legislators in New Hampshire canceled a Thursday hearing in which Mayor Vincent C. Gray and several council members were slated to testify on a resolution in support of D.C. statehood. Published January 11, 2012

Chancellor Kaya Henderson said scorecards for the District's traditional public schools build on the "profiles" released last year and serve as a likely precursor to an accountability ranking or rating. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

D.C. school scorecards posted online

D.C. Public Schools released scorecards Tuesday that grade 119 campuses on safety, student progress and other measures, allowing parents to decide where to send their children in a system attempting to rise above past failures. Published January 10, 2012

Montel Williams (Associated Press)

Medical marijuana approvals clustered in Ward 5

Before he resigned and admitted to stealing $350,000 from the District, former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. expressed concern that much of the city's medical marijuana cultivation would take place in a small slice of his Northeast ward. Published January 9, 2012

Embattled D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr., 51, speaks to the press, where he pled guilty before District Judge John D. Bates in U.S. District Court for the District, in Washington D.C., to stealing $353,000 from youth baseball programs from April 2007 to February 2009 and failing to report a total of $346,00 in additional income on three successive tax returns, Friday, January 6, 2012. It was the first time a sitting D.C. council member has been charged with a felony. Mr. Thomas resigned from office on Thursday Evening. (Andrew S. Geraci/The Washington Times)

Thomas’ guilty plea months in the making

U.S. Attorney Ron Machen had for months heard the public's cry for him to say whether D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. indeed had stolen from city taxpayers. Published January 8, 2012

**FILE** Former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (Andrew S. Geraci/The Washington Times)

D.C. Council member Thomas pleads guilty

Former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday to felony counts of stealing more than $350,000 in taxpayer funds and failing to report income on his tax returns. Published January 6, 2012

** FILE ** D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (The Washington Times)

D.C. Council member Thomas resigns, will plead guilty

Embattled D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. on Thursday evening resigned from office and said he will plead guilty in the morning to two federal charges of stealing more than $350,000 in taxpayer funds and failing to report income on his tax returns. Published January 5, 2012

**FILE** D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Embattled Thomas skips D.C. Council meeting

The D.C. Council's first legislative session of 2012 was overshadowed Wednesday by the conspicuous absence of Harry Thomas Jr., whose empty seat fueled speculation of an imminent plea deal on accusations that he spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on himself. Published January 4, 2012

Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown is organizing the trip of District officials to New Hampshire to try to gain support for D.C. statehood. (The Washington Times)

Gray, others taking their D.C. campaign to New Hampshire

Mayor Vincent C. Gray and D.C. Council members are heading to New Hampshire this month to promote statehood for the District, kick-starting an effort that uses state politicians as leverage in their pitch for full voting rights in Congress. Published January 2, 2012

Police ID victims of fatal Bethesda crash

Montgomery County Police have identified the 20-year-old man and 18-year-old woman who died early Sunday when a sport utility vehicle they were riding in struck a tree on Jones Bridge Road in Bethesda. Published January 2, 2012

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney greets supporters after delivering a speech kicking off his Iowa bus tour at a hotel in Davenport, Iowa, on Tuesday. The former Massachusetts governor chided President Obama for broken promises. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Romney 1st candidate to qualify for D.C. primary

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has qualified for the April 3 primary in the District, making him the first of five GOP candidates expected to vie for 16 delegates in the overtly Democratic city while neighboring Virginia mulls campaign gaffes that left two key contenders off its swing-state ballot. Published December 29, 2011

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

Nod from Justice clears hurdle for online gambling

A Department of Justice legal opinion that clears the way for states to offer lottery services and gambling over the Internet reinforces the District's efforts to introduce poker and other games, but may threaten the city's status as a first-in-the-nation pioneer in the industry. Published December 28, 2011

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray faces a recall attempt initiated by a D.C. resident who says he is ready to hit the pavement. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)

Effort to recall D.C. Mayor Gray set to begin

Ward 6 resident Frederick Butler says he is ready to hit the pavement once D.C. voters get the green light next week to start the recall process against Mayor Vincent C. Gray and other city politicians finishing a tumultuous year. Published December 27, 2011

D.C. Council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, has scheduled a committee mark-up of a bill that would repeal authority for iGaming.

D.C. Council’s Evans sets date for iGaming hearing

A key D.C. Council member has asked the city's inspector general to testify at a hearing next month on the city's first-in-the-nation efforts to offer online gambling through its lottery system. Published December 26, 2011

**FILE** In 1998, voters in the District approved the Medical Use of Marijuana Initiative. (The Washington Times)

D.C. to tap growers of medical marijuana

The District of Columbia's health department is expected within the next few days to give its first indication of who qualifies to grow medical marijuana in the nation's capital, a significant step in a program aimed at comforting the sick and dying that is more than a dozen years in the making. Published December 26, 2011

** FILE ** D.C. Lottery Director Buddy Roogow (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

D.C. Lottery report says majority supports iGaming

A majority of people spoke in favor of online gambling in the District at a series of community meetings designed to inform the public about the first-in-the-nation program, according to a D.C. Lottery report released Thursday. Published December 22, 2011

"I don't have any reservation in saying at this stage that the District of Columbia is an absolute leader in early-childhood education," D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said. (Associated Press)

Poor job rating a bit ‘mysterious’ to Gray

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray says he is undeterred by a new poll that gives him a poor approval rating and indicates he would lose theoretical matchups against either of the two mayors who came before him. Published December 22, 2011

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

Law aims to put more D.C. residents in jobs

Mayor Vincent C. Gray signed a bill on Wednesday intended to ensure that city residents are hired to work on D.C.-funded projects as part of an "increasingly large arsenal" in the city's fight against high unemployment. Published December 21, 2011

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

Gray to sign D.C. ethics reform bill

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray said Wednesday he is set to sign the comprehensive ethics bill approved by the council as an effort to close legal loopholes and set a new tone at city hall. Published December 21, 2011