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Speaker Draws Ire for Committee Assignments

Anita Kumar

House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) raised some eyebrows when he released long-awaited committee assignments to delegates last night.

The two highest ranking Democrats in the Republican-controlled House were removed from two of the three committees they had each spent a dozen years or more on.

Del. Ward L. Armstrong (D-Henry), House minority leader, was left on Courts of Justice and taken off General Laws and Counties, Cities and Towns. Del. Brian J. Moran (D-Alexandria), House Democratic caucus chairman, was left on Courts of Justice but taken off Transportation and Health, Welfare and Institutions.

Armstrong and Moran were both put on Finance, where they will have to vote on taxes. Moran was also put on Militia, Police and Public Safety (the committee that votes on gun issues) and Counties, Cities and Towns (the committee that votes on zoning issues.) There are some tough votes ahead for Moran, who is considering running for governor in 2009.

"I always play the cards I'm dealt,'' Moran said.

Moran's spokesman, Jesse Ferguson, wasn't quite so diplomatic. He speculates that Howell is paying back Armstrong and Moran, who helped Democrats increase their numbers in the House this year.

In recent years, Democrats have picked up 10 seats including in more traditional Republican areas such as Prince William and Loudoun counties. Republicans hold 53 seats and Democrats 44, plus two independents.

"They can rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic all they want,'' Ferguson said, "but they're still sinking."

By Anita Kumar  |  January 10, 2008; 11:26 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Brian J. Moran , Election 2009 , General Assembly 2008 , Loudoun County  
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