Janet Howell

Dick Saslaw 1


Current Position: State Senator of District 32 since 1992
Affiliation: Democrat

Janet Howell was first elected Senator for the 32nd District in 2008. The 32nd District includes parts of Fairfax and Arlington counties.

Senator Howell is Chair of the Finance and Appropriations Committee  and is a member of the Education and Health, Local Government, Privileges and Elections  and Rules committees. Senator Howell is credited with major legal reforms. Education, children, and families have always been top priorities.


OnAir Post: Janet Howell


Gov. Ralph Northam is urging state budget negotiators to use additional revenues to raise pay for teachers by 5% and state employees and state-supported local employees by 3.5%

In a letter Friday to newly appointed members of a conference committee to negotiate changes to the budget, Northam praised the House of Delegates and Senate for converting one-time bonuses in his budget “into a permanent increase.”

The Senate included raises of 3% for teachers and 3% for state employees and others in its version of the budget. But the governor sided with the House on how much to increase pay, especially with an additional $730.2 million in revenue he identified for the General Assembly at the beginning of this week.

The Senate’s tax committee is directing a new panel to consider ways to help Virginia businesses hurt by the COVID-19 — without opening a billion-dollar revenue hole in the state budget — by giving them a tax windfall under the new federal emergency relief bill.

Senate Finance Chairwoman Janet Howell, D-Fairfax, will join five of her colleagues on a work panel she created to consider options Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne presented Wednesday. The options potentially would allow individuals and businesses that received forgivable loans under federal COVID-19 relief packages to claim a deduction on their state income taxes for 2020 or possibly future years.

Layne, a certified public accountant, was clear that he considers a provision of the Consolidated Appropriations Act Congress, adopted on Dec. 27, to give a “double tax benefit” to businesses that received forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program under the previous CARES Act, or that would get them under the new law.

The chairman of one of the General Assembly’s budget committee raised eyebrows — and in some quarters, full-scale alarm — when she suggested last fall that maybe Virginia doesn’t need a military college.

After multiple reports about racism at Virginia Military Institute, state Sen. Janet Howell, a Fairfax County Democrat who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, told Richmond Times-Dispatch political columnist Jeff Schapiro that she wants to see some changes at the school — or else. “I’m not sure how important or relevant it is,” Howell said. “It seems to me its time has passed, especially if it doesn’t adjust to changing times.”

Since then, Gov. Ralph Northam has forced out VMI Superintendent Binford Peay and the VMI board has voted to remove the statue of Confederate Lt. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson that cadets once were required to salute. We’ll see if that’s change enough.

RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) – Governor Northam made passenger rail a priority in his budget proposal earlier this year. Now, members of the House and Senate money committees agree.

Budget amendments, released Wednesday afternoon, include funding for improvements that should clear the way for extra service in Roanoke and the extension of passenger rail to the New River Valley.

“With respect to the expansion of daily passenger rail service from Washington DC to the New River Valley, the subcommittee believes that increasing accessibility is critical to economic growth,” said Senator George Barker (D-Alexandria).


Janet Howell

Source: Campaign page

Janet Howell has been a Virginia State Senator since 1992. A community leader prior to running for office, Janet was a PTA president, community association president, and Chair of the State Board of Social Services.

Senator Howell is one of Virginia’s most influential senators.  She was the first woman to serve on the powerful Senate Finance Committee. She also serves on the Courts of Justice, Education and Health, Privileges and Elections and Rules committees, and is a Senate budget conferee.

Senator Howell is credited with major legal reforms. She headed the overhaul of Virginia’s family violence laws.  She led efforts to protect children from sexual predators. Virginia has genetic information privacy legislation due to her efforts.  She spearheaded the mental health law reform in the Senate following the Virginia Tech tragedy. Education, children, and families have always been top priorities.

Her work has been widely praised and honored.  The American Academy of Pediatrics named her their National Child Advocate of the Year.  The Virginia Sheriffs have repeatedly called her Senator of the Year.  Numerous human services organizations, including the Virginia Interfaith Center, have also given her awards.

Senator Howell earned her BA at Oberlin College (Government) and her MA at the University of Pennsylvania (International Relations).

Always approachable, Janet loves representing the people of the 32nd District which encompasses parts of Arlington and Fairfax County. She loves listening to their views, and solving their problems with state government.


Work Experience

  • Legislative assistant
    Virginia State Senate
    1989 to 1991
  • Teacher
    Philadelphia school district
    2019 to 1969


  • MA (International Relations)
    University of Pennsylvania
    2019 to present
  • BA (Government)
    Oberlin College
    2019 to present


  • Citizen of the Year, The Reston Times (2019)
  • Woman of the Year, Network of Entrepreneurial Women (2019)
  • Restonian of the Year, Reston Community Association (2019)
  • Friend of Trees Award, Fairfax County Tree Commission (2019)
  • Public Citizen of the Year, Virginia Chapter National Association of Social Workers (2019)
  • Friend of Police, Fairfax County Coalition of Police (2019)
  • Friend of Business, Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce (2019)
  • Outstanding Service Award, VALOR and the Northern Virginia Victim/Witness Coalition (2019)
  • The Women’s Center (2019)
  • Virginians Aligned Against Sexual Assault (2019)
  • American Diabetes Association (2019)
  • Virginia Association of Social Work Practitioners (2019)
  • Virginia Association of Community Rehabilitation Programs (2019)
  • Virginia Dietetic Association (2019)
  • Virginia Coalition for the Homeless (2019)
  • Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce (2019)
  • Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance (2019)
  • Virginians Against Domestic Violence (2019)


Legislative Assistant: Karol Straub, Edyta Weisner



Capitol Office
Pocahontas Building
Room No: E509
Senate of Virginia
P. O. Box 396
Richmond, VA 23218
Phone: (804) 698-7532
Fax: (804) 698-7651

District Office
.O. Box 2608
Reston, VA 20195-0608
Phone: (703) 709-8283


Government Page, Campaign Site, Facebook


Source: Campaign

Legislative Awards

National Child Advocate of the Year, American Academy of Pediatrics

Legislator of the Year, Victims and Witnesses of Crime (four times)

Senator of the Year, VA Sheriff’s Association (four times)

Legislator of the Year, Virginia Chiefs of Police Association

Legislator of the Year, Human Services Coalition

Legislator of the Year, Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance

Legislator of the Year, Northern Virginia Association for the Education of Young Children

Legislator of the Year, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy

Senator of the Year, Association of Retarded Citizens (ARC)

Senator of the Year, Virginia State Fraternal Order of Police

Champion of Health Issues, American Cancer Association

Northern Virginia Community College Foundation

Legislative Hero, Coalition for Smoke-Free Kids

Technology Awards

TechTen, Northern Virginia Technology Council (three times)

TechTenure Lifetime Achievement Award, Northern Virginia Technology Council

Recent Elections


Janet D. Howell (D)48,58173.51%
Arthur G. Purves (R)17,37626.29%
Write-In (Write-in)1270.19%


Janet Howell (D)31,15694.0%
Write In (Write-in)1,9746%


Janet Howell (D)26,02660.3%
Patrick Nicholas Forrest (R)17,12239.6%
Write In (Write-in)480.1%


Janet Howell (D)28,08997.2%
Write In (Write-in)8182.8%


Janet Howell (D)21,25256.7%
D. M. Hunt (R)16,21443.3%
Write In (Write-in)13


HOWELL, JANET D has run in 5 races for public office, winning 5 of them. The candidate has raised a total of$2,233,581.

Source: Follow the Money



Courts of Justice
Education and Health
Privileges and Elections


Crime Commission, Virginia State
Criminal Justice Diversion
Elementary and Secondary Education Funding, Joint Subcommittee
Ethics Advisory Council, Virginia Conflict of Interest and
Ethics Laws of the Commonwealth, Joint Subcommittee to Study
Federal Action Contingency Trust Fund Approval, Commission
Growth and Opportunity Board, Virginia
Health and Human Resources Oversight, Joint Subcommittee for
Higher Education, Joint Subcommittee on the Future Competitiveness of Virginia
Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees
Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission
Joint Rules
Mental Health Services in the Twenty-First Century, Joint Subcommittee to Study
Reapportionment Joint Committee
State Training Centers, The Special Joint Subcommittee to Consult on the Plan to Close
Virginia Preschool Initiative, Joint Subcommittee

Voting Record

See: Vote Smart

New Legislation

Source: Virginia Legislative Information System


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