Janet Howell has been a community leader for more than thirty five years. She has proudly served the residents of the 32nd Senate District since 1992. Janet has used her position in the Senate to benefit the residents of Northern Virginia. She currently has several important responsibilities and is using them to champion change in Richmond.
In her capacity as the first woman to serve on the Senate Finance Committee, Janet has focused on education, transportation, human services and public safety. She is a leader in streamlining and downsizing state government as well as instituting cost-reduction measures.
Janet's responsibilities on the Finance Committee have grown dramatically in recent years. She is one of six budget conferees who negotiate the final budget with House conferees. She is ranking member of the Public Safety Subcommittee which oversees over $3 billion yearly in programs including State Police and local police, juvenile justice, prisons and jails. She is engaged in a multi-year effort to provide appropriate services for persons with mental illness who too often tragically end up in our jails and prisons.
Janet serves on the Virginia Crime Commission which reviews all matters dealing with crime and punishment. Over the years, she has been nationally recognized for reforming Virginia's domestic violence laws and establishing the Sex Offender Registry. Janet also was chief patron of the Omnibus Mental Health Law Reform Legislation. Lately she has focused attention on cigarette trafficking. Because Virginia's cigarette tax is 30 cents a pack and New York City's tax is $5.85, it has become lucrative to illegally traffic cigarettes. In turn, that has brought organized crime with ties to terrorists into Virginia.
Clearly, Janet takes seriously the trust the voters have placed in her. She works full-time to make state government responsible and responsive.
Janet was a community leader for more than 15 years prior to her election to the Senate. As a former PTA president and head of the Reston Council of PTAs, Janet worked hard to increase the quality of local schools and Virginia's fine colleges and universities. She was president of the Reston Community Association for three years, expanding the association's activities and accomplishments in land use, transportation and healthcare. She served five years on the State Board of Social Services, including a term as its chairman.
Janet community leadership has been recognized by many organizations. She was named National Child Advocate of the Year by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Senator of the Year by Virginia Sheriffs Association, Distinguished Leadership Awardee by the Coalition for Mentally Disabled Citizens, Legislative Champion by the League of Conservation Voters, and Legislator of the Year by the Alzheimer's Association.
Called the "Technology Senator" because of her work in that area, Janet was presented the first Lifetime Achievement Award by the Northern Virginia Technology Council.