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Speaker of the House Bill Howell
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After reading the hoopla that ProgressVA generated via a conversation that its Executive Director Anna Scholl had with Speaker of the House Bill Howell ["Howell apologizes for critical comments," April 14], I wanted to comment on one thing that stood out after the dust settled: Bill Howell is a class act.
The moral of this story isn't the left-leaning ProgressVA's right to strong-arm companies like Coca-Cola or McDonald's into dropping sponsorship of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that promotes conservative, low-tax governing principles.
It's about Virginia's practice of civility among its legislators.
I wouldn't have responded well to a camera tracking my every word and move, which is what Speaker Howell endured by a Democratic operative trying to catch a "gotcha" moment. I don't blame him for his ire.
When I read Bill Howell's apology and comment afterward that his reaction didn't reflect his own standards of civility, I realized that he gets it.
Political rhetoric has gotten harsher; in the days of 24/7 video tracking, blogging, and instant news, even minor slips such as this can be exaggerated and used for political purposes.
Mr. Howell could have easily stuck by his words, but he instead reminded us that, as Proverbs 12:25 states, "An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up."
I want to thank Speaker Howell for his leadership, not just in government but as a man of faith.
I appreciate the example he set by his apology and his reminder that no matter how much citizens may disagree on policy, the most important thing we can do is treat each other with respect in those disagreements.