Janet Howell

Dick Saslaw 1


Current Position: State Senator since 1992
Affiliation: Democrat

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. Education, children, and families have always been top priorities.


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

2019 State SenatorArray

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

2015 State SenatorArray

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

2011 State SenatorArray

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

2007 State SenatorArray

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

2003 State SenatorArray

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


News Posts

Working Together in Richmond
Campaign Site – February 18, 2019

People are always surprised to learn that in Richmond we often work across party lines for a common goal. Let me give you a couple examples.

In late November the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission presented a highly critical report on the state of our foster care system in most of Virginia. While Northern Virginia was not negligent, most of the rest of the state was criticized.

I sit on JLARC and was devastated by the report. Sen. Bryce Reeves, a Republican and chairman of the Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee, was in the audience.   We knew we had to act. By the end of the day, we decided he would handle the code changes that were required to reform the system and I would make certain the funding is in the budget. We high-fived and the deal was made! We have been working hard to assure both essential elements are achieved this session.

Meanwhile, a nonpartisan Foster Care Caucus was set up. At least three members of the legislature were themselves in foster care as children. Several others have been foster parents. And some others, like me, have had a long commitment to improving our system. The. Caucus has been of immense help in assisting Sen. Reeves and me in promoting reforms and funding.

Another example of bipartisan ship is – surprisingly enough – the budget conference. The House and the Senate each has its own budget at this point and the job for us conferees is to reconcile them. The conferees in both houses are predominantly Republicans since they control both houses. However, our responsibility as minority party conferees is to fight for the Senate position. Of course, we also use our influence to promote Democratic priorities like education, human services and the environment.

The Senate conferees work as a team and often find that easy to do – the majority party, at least in the Senate, treats us as fellow team members, not as adversaries.

As the 2019 session winds down and we all go home to run for re-election, I fervently hope we will all remember that we share many values as Virginians. We can fight hard for our beliefs and point out our many differences. But when we return to Richmond in 2020, we will need to govern together.


Other Videos

Sen. Janet Howell on the 2015 Virginia Budget Picture
Published on January 7, 2015

At the Arlington County Democratic Committee meeting on 1/7/15.


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