10,180 votes translated into approximately 3 percent of the vote on Tuesday.  It was a far fewer count of votes than we worked for but significant for many reasons.  On a larger scale, you won.

Here are your top 10 campaign wins:

  1. You garnered the most votes for an independent congressional candidate in all of Virginia
  2. You raised the most money among all independent U.S. House campaigns in Virginia
  3. You gave us the credibility to receive donations from nearly 100 friends and neighbors
  4. You gave us over 1,800 signatures for the State Board of Elections ensuring ballot access
  5. You made us the featured subject of 11 press articles
  6. You generated and we accepted invitations to attend 15 candidate forums
  7. You helped us recruit over 60 volunteers
  8. You helped us maintain a debt-free campaign
  9. You helped us keep our focus on the issues that matter
  10. You gave your neighbors someone to vote for rather than just against

 

THANK YOU

Thank you for allowing my wife Jennifer and me to serve you these past 14 months.  While we’re on the subject, I will thank my wife publically for not just being a spouse but the most important surrogate for our campaign.  I remember one Saturday at the Falls Church Farmers Market, looking over as she “manned” the parking lot while I stood across the street.  She was so relaxed, sharing the message of our campaign with a couple of your neighbors.  I could see them nodding in agreement and willingly receiving one of our trusty 4×8 campaign postcards.  Thank you dear wife, for making this campaign possible and authorizing this campaign, in the first place.

To the many people who volunteered, donated, prayed and even those who sent “tweets” of encouragement now and again –thank you.  Our campaign was just that –ours.  We were not experienced politicos, typical campaign donors or members of a political party.  Nearly every one of you had regular jobs and limited resources.  What you contributed you took out of your ever fleeting free time and seemingly fixed income.  Thank you.  We were merely citizens who thought the world could be a better place (and we still do).  As card carrying members of “We the people…” we knew we could do better and we did.

To the members of the local press I offer you my utmost thanks.  You dealt me a fair hand, especially in the corporate environment of your industry.  The deregulation of the media and communications industry by the 1996 Telecommunications Act, ensured that the mission of sharing the news with the public would become a streamlined, corporate exercise.  Now all that is new and different – from music to TV, to politics – is typically substituted for the trite and tired.  The 1996 Act is one reason we have extreme media channels pandering either to “liberals” or “conservatives,” and it is also why changing the radio station sometimes lands you on the same song you were trying to avoid.  This is one of many pieces of legislation for which Mr. Moran voted, leaving us the consequences of media consolidation and partisanship.  To the reporters who courageously covered our independent campaign story, thank you.

NEXT STEPS

After the campaign I was left with a numb feeling; and not just from my feet and back.  There was a sense of what now?  Our campaign was prefaced on the assumption that the only way to factually reduce partisanship – and impact not just an election but the direction of our country – was to elect an independent to the U.S. Congress.  All of you did your part by voting your conscience.  I take responsibility for not getting, oh, just a few more neighbors to join us.

Even with the makeup of the legislative and executive branches remaining exactly the same, there are some things you can do to influence progress:

  1. Write your representatives in Congress: Jim Moran, Tim Kaine, and Mark Warner.  Let them know you are paying attention and that you have ideas that matter
  2. Stay connected to our campaign themes.  Our economy was not saved on Election Day so our mission persists.  My wife Jennifer and I have some decisions to make but we will remain engaged.  Stay with us.  My email address has not changed:  Jason@VoteJasonHowell.com
  3. Talk politics.  Somewhere along the line politics became taboo and we systematically disengaged.  The next 12 months are crucial for our country; please stay engaged.

 

It has been my pleasure to serve you this year.  In campaigns, you do begin serving before you are elected.  In 2013, I choose to continue this brand of unelected service with you.  After all, we are the stewards of this exceptional country.

We can do better, we must do better and with your attention all year long, we will do better.

An easy way to stay connected is to follow Facebook.com/VoteJasonHowell

 

ABOUT JASON HOWELL

Jason Howell is an Independent candidate for U.S.Congress. He has lived in Northern Virginia for 25 years, worked in accounting and finance for nearly 20 years and has spent 0 years prior as a politician. He is running to represent Virginia’s 8th Congressional district as a fiscally responsible, socially reasonable and personally relatable elected official. Virginia’s 8th District covers all of Arlington County, City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, Fort Belvoir, Lorton and parts of Fairfax County. For more, and to contact Jason, see www.VoteJasonHowell.com


 

On matters of policy, we can do better.  This blog posting is fifth in a five-part series of policy comparisons between Mr. Moran and me.   Part 1 of this series was on Traffic, part 2 was on Regulation, part 3 was on Immigration and part 4 was on the Economy.

Like his legislative colleagues who share in the all-time low approval rating, Mr. Moran has T.R.I.E.D. – Traffic, Regulation, Immigration, Economy and Debt – on critical issues but unfortunately failed.  Passionate partisanship has painted many politicians into a political corner.  I am running as an Independent to take responsibility for our biggest challenges.  Helping reduce our debt is one important challenge I will tackle during my first term.

DEBT

Debt is an ugly word that has caused a lot of ugly partisanship.  We can do better.

It helps to know what exactly we’re talking about i.e. how much.  As of October 31, 2012, we had $16,261,470,510,720.74 in debt.  We hear about $16 Trillion in debt a lot but about 25% of that is debt we owe to the dedicated accounts of Medicare and Social Security (to ourselves).  This is only important because in the years we “balanced the budget” in the 1990’s, we did so by borrowing from those dedicated accounts.  Mr. Moran often recounts these years as years when he “crossed the aisle” to make a difference.  Borrowing from Medicare and Social Security to balance our budget is not making a credible difference.  We can do better.

With a $1 Trillion annual deficit, and the aforementioned $16 Trillion debt load we will not cut our way to both balancing the budget and paying off what we owe long term.  Eventually, taxes will rise (a good financial planner will tell you this).  I support taking some actions in the short term to buffer our still weak economy – like continued tax relief in 2013 – that I may not take in the long term to reduce our debt.  We lose a few hundred million dollars in tax revenue each year due in part to complexity.  During 2013 I will leverage my background in accounting to work with other legislators on comprehensive tax reform that will make the tax code more clear, defined and effective.

For example I will work to eliminate tax loopholes (i.e., co-sponsor H.R. 1935 to treat “Carried Interest” income as ordinary income rather than investment income (nearly $18 Billion in additional revenue over 10 years).  But there’s even more we must do together.  In 2013 I will encourage my colleagues in Congress to evaluate effective tax rates rather than marginal tax rates.  The Tax Foundation reported in September that the average effective tax rate for all taxpayers is 10.1% and those who make more $250,000 effectively average 23% in income tax payments.  Those making less than $30,000 actually pay an average, negative effective rate because they are refunded more than they’ve paid in.   I do not believe in pitting one income group against another and we can see from the current data that our tax system is already progressive, as intended.  The last major tax reform was 1986, nearly 30 years ago.  This may sound unique, but I would enjoy getting into the weeds of tax compliance, payments, deductions and restrictions to create the “Tax Reform Act of 2013.”

The growth of the economy is a factor in reducing our debt.  As I mentioned in my previous post, reducing the corporate tax rates paid for by reducing the corporate interest loophole is an idea I support. My expectation is that a corporate environment with less doubt about taxes and regulation – not removal of either but clarity – will encourage businesses to invest in the greatest country in the world.

And what about cutting federal government costs?  I will work directly with the Government Accountability Office’s 2012 report to detail an organized plan for reducing the 51 areas of government program overlap.  It is a non-partisan plan we need now.  Over the long term, a plan to combine overlapping agencies, departments and reducing repetition is a vote for an even more effective government that leads the world in efficiency.

We have a simple debt problem –as a country we have too much of it.  We need a serious citizen who is willing to cool the hot air, lower the volume and has a laser focus on effectiveness so we can do better.  I have that drive, desire and during my first term we will do better.

For more information about our campaign, please visit VoteJasonHowell.com

 

ABOUT JASON HOWELL

Jason Howell is an Independent candidate for U.S.Congress. He has lived in Northern Virginia for 25 years, worked in accounting and finance for nearly 20 years and has spent 0 years prior as a politician. He is running to represent Virginia’s 8th Congressional district as a fiscally responsible, socially reasonable and personally relatable elected official. Virginia’s 8th District covers all of Arlington County, City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, Fort Belvoir, Lorton and parts of Fairfax County. For more, and to contact Jason, see www.VoteJasonHowell.com


 

On matters of policy, we can do better.  This blog posting is fourth in a series of policy comparisons between Mr. Moran and me.   Part 1 of this series was on Traffic, part 2 was on Regulation and part 3 was on Immigration.

Like his legislative colleagues who share in the all-time low approval rating, Mr. Moran has T.R.I.E.D. on – Traffic, Regulation, Immigration, Economy and Debt – critical issues but unfortunately failed.  Passionate partisanship has painted many politicians into a political corner.  As a country we are better when we embrace ideas and innovation rather than ideology and dogma.  I am running as an Independent to take responsibility for our biggest challenges.  Helping grow the economy is one important challenge I will tackle during my first term.

THE ECONOMY

If you are a federal worker, Mr. Moran has been unable to secure the most important part of your personal economy –your job.  Sequestration has put your job at risk and though you should receive a job loss warning next week, you won’t.  Even your pay freeze has been extended until April and unfortunately Mr. Moran could do little about that decision.  Mr. Moran and the rest of Congress have also done little about creating an environment for private sector jobs.  We can do better.

In Congress, I will be a good steward of our responsibility to manage fiscal policy.  The better we are in Congress with fiscal policy – spending and taxing – the better managed our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will be.  GDP is a measure of consumption, investment, government spending and net exports.  The faster our GDP growth, the more jobs are created in our economy.  To stimulate our economy I will leverage my finance background to help lead in three areas: taxes, housing and trade.

Taxes

Our U.S. tax policy is a mess.  Specifically our corporate tax policy prevents companies from investing more domestically.  If we reduce our “world leading” corporate tax rate from 35% to something closer to 25%, we will encourage more of our corporations to invest trillions of dollars into the U.S. economy.  A rate reduction like this could be paid for the way a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School describes: reducing the corporate interest deduction (loophole).  By removing the incentive for corporations to finance themselves through debt we accomplish two things:

  1. Discourage companies from overleveraging themselves and risking bankruptcy
  2. Encourage companies to finance through the equity markets creating added available cash

A 25% corporate tax rate is not the lowest in the world but it would be a significant enough reduction from 35%.  A newly competitive tax rate will allow us to leverage our domestic advantages and encourage multi-national corporations to invest their “trillions” in American jobs.  More jobs means the “consumption” portion of GDP will increase and our economy will grow.

Housing

The health of our housing industry is directly related to the “investment” portion of GDP.  In 2010 Mr. Moran voted for the Dodd-Frank Act including section 1413 of this act.  There is bipartisan agreement that section 1413 unduly concentrates the mortgage market, nearly eliminating smaller loan originators.  This creates “too bigger to fail” and restricts our ability to get a mortgage through relationship banks and other small lenders.  I will work with my colleagues to reverse parts of this provision so we can continue to invest, increase our GDP and economic growth.

Trade

Our U.S. trade deficit may have more to do with our stagnant economy than any other issue.  Our trade imbalance has directly led to jobs being created in foreign countries.  Unfortunately, Mr. Moran has rarely made a mention of this issue; one that is driving the record gap between the rich and the poor.  If anyone needs a better economy it is the poor.  Even in Arlington and Alexandria the Falls Church News Press reported that children living below the poverty level are 13.9% and 13.7% respectively.  We can do better.

Former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) co-authored the Balanced Trade Restoration Act of 2006 which quickly “died” in the Senate.  This bill would begin to equalize the trade goods deficit that was $737.1 billion in 2011.  The Balanced Trade Act is one that I will rewrite and revive in the U.S. House.  Equalized trade would mean less job loss to new trade partners like Panama, Korea and Colombia.  When “net exports” are higher, GDP grows and our economy will grow.

Most of us know that new businesses create jobs.  Government has an important role in creating the economic environment for those jobs. Northern Virginia needs a Congressman who has an understanding of what truly drives economic growth.  I have that understanding of our economy and during my first term we will do better.

 

ABOUT JASON HOWELL

Jason Howell is an Independent candidate for U.S.Congress. He has lived in Northern Virginia for 25 years, worked in accounting and finance for nearly 20 years and has spent 0 years prior as a politician. He is running to represent Virginia’s 8th Congressional district as a fiscally responsible, socially reasonable and personally relatable elected official. Virginia’s 8th District covers all of Arlington County, City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, Fort Belvoir, Lorton and parts of Fairfax County. For more, and to contact Jason, see www.VoteJasonHowell.com


 

On matters of policy, we can do better.  This blog posting is third in a series of policy comparisons between Mr. Moran and me.   For Part 1 of this series, click here and Part 2, click here.

Like his legislative colleagues who share in the all-time low approval rating, Mr. Moran has T.R.I.E.D. on – Traffic, Regulation, Immigration, Economy and Debt – critical issues but unfortunately failed.  Passionate partisanship has painted many politicians into a political corner.  As a country we are better when we embrace ideas and innovation rather than ideology and dogma.  I am running as an Independent to take responsibility for our biggest challenges.  Desiginging comprehensive immigration policy is one important challenge I will tackle during my first term.

IMMIGRATION

Comprehensive immigration reform is one of those issues that demands leadership.  It takes someone who has the ability to take a long view of what is both a family and an economic issue.

My parents were immigrants, I have friends who are immigrants and my non-profit experience has given me perspective on the challenges associated with immigration.  As the most recent past President of the Washington, DC chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA), I personally understand the challenges we face with immigration reform.

Jim Moran voted for the last major piece of federal immigration legislation called the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Reconciliation Act of 1996 (IIRIRA).  An October 4thWashington Post article reported the adverse affects of this bill which among other things “limits judicial discretion” for deportation proceedings.  By removing a judge’s ability to adjudicate crimes worthy of deportation, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) set a record of 396,906 “removals” in 2011.  Our immigration policy must be about more than deporting people, some of whom are legal residents.  We can do better.

The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act would repeal the portion of (IIRIRA) that penalizes colleges and universities for providing in-state tuition to students whose parents brought them to America as children.  It would also reduce the fear of juvenile deportation.  The DREAM Act takes a conservative approach to immigrant education.  It separates the power of the federal government to regulate naturalization – Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution – from the power of the state government to determine in-state tuition.  In-state tuition is the state’s opportunity to attract the best talent and thereby recruit the best companies to employ that talent.  I support the DREAM Act as one portion of comprehensive immigration reform.

The Startup Act 2.0 is bipartisan legislation that creates opportunities for 50,000 STEM Visas (green cards) and 75,000 Visas for immigrants who are entrepreneurs.  The Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Visas would ensure that America retains some of the foreign talent we educate.  The 75,000 entrepreneur Visas would motivate foreign entrepreneurs to start businesses here and hire American workers.  The Startup Act 2.0 has been stalled “in committee” since May.  It’s a Senate bill that I would look to replicate in the U.S. House.  I support the Startup Act 2.0 as another portion of comprehensive immigration reform.

Two pieces of legislation are not enough to correct the problems associated with immigration reform.  To truly “go big” I am willing to address a much more fundamental problem: access to resources.  Currently the US Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the organization tasked with legal immigration into the United States.  It doesn’t cost us taxpayers anything unless we use it.  As with all user-fee agencies, USCIS funds are sent to the federal government’s general fund at the end of the year.  I support changing this policy.  We could allow USCIS to expand by retaining these immigrant fees.  This will reduce lines for Visas that are in some instances, 10 to 20 years long.  Even your grocer knows that if lines are long then “all cashier’s are needed up front.”   Similarly we need a Congressman who will address the backed up technology and human capital issues that serve to discourage legal immigration.  We can do better.

As part of a comprehensive legislative package, I will encourage my colleagues to include provisions for permanent legal status for the approximately 11 million undocumented residents.  We must work to incentivize rather than stigmatize our neighbors who are afraid to come forward.  A path to permanent legal status is important not just for those individuals but for our economy.

Our neighbors need an advocate for comprehensive immigration who has a personal understanding of this issue.  I have that understanding and during my first term we will do better.

 

ABOUT JASON HOWELL

Jason Howell is an Independent candidate for U.S.Congress. He has lived in Northern Virginia for 25 years, worked in accounting and finance for nearly 20 years and has spent 0 years prior as a politician. He is running to represent Virginia’s 8th Congressional district as a fiscally responsible, socially reasonable and personally relatable elected official. Virginia’s 8th District covers all of Arlington County, City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, Fort Belvoir, Lorton and parts of Fairfax County. For more, and to contact Jason, see www.VoteJasonHowell.com


 

With the election merely days away, this series of blog postings will provide a policy comparison between Mr. Moran and those I would like to implement.   For Part 1 of this series, click here.

Like his legislative colleagues who share in the all-time low approval rating, Mr. Moran has T.R.I.E.D. on – Traffic, Regulation, Immigration, Economy and Debt – critical issues but unfortunately failed.  Passionate partisanship has painted many politicians into a political corner.  As a country we are better when we embrace ideas rather than ideology, innovation rather than dogma.  I am running as an Independent to take responsibility for our biggest challenges.  Regulation, specifically financial regulation, is one issue I will tackle during my first term.

REGULATION

A refrain that I have received from some voters in our district is that Mr. Moran “votes the right way.” On regulations that led to the financial crisis he did not.  On regulations that will improve America’s financial sustainability, he has not.

Mr. Moran voted for the Financial Modernization Act of 1999 (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) which repealed the depression-era Banking Act of 1933 and led to the financial crisis of 2008.  The 1933 Act preserved the American economy for nearly 70 years.  The 1999 law “modernized” the financial industry and added complexity by allowing commercial and investment banks to operate as one company.  Of course, 1999 was a different, nearly nostalgic time: the Euro officially entered the world markets on January 1st and Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France on July 25th.  Now the Euro is struggling and Lance Armstrong has had not one but all seven of his titles stripped.  Mistakes were made.

The Financial Modernization Act was signed into law on November 12, 1999.  This was merely a few months before the stock market bubble peaked and subsequently burst in the year 2000.  It wasn’t until the end of 2007 that we began to see the negative effects of the newly complex financial industry.  2008’s financial collapse was preceded by the onslaught of complex financial instruments created by mega-banks and another bubble; this time in the housing industry.

In 2010 Mr. Moran voted for the Dodd-Frank Act to undo the damage done to our economy by his vote for the 1999 Financial Modernization Act.

The Dodd-Frank Act was supposed to stop big banks from doing bad things –like failing.  Unfortunately, what it’s been better at is stopping small banks from doing good things –like lending.  On September 13th of this year, the Government Accountability Office completed a report on the impact of Dodd-Frank implementation on community banks and credit unions.  The report is 88 pages long but focuses on the 398 proposed rules required under Dodd-Frank. 398.

Smaller community banks and credit unions are unequally impacted by these new rules because they don’t have lots of lawyers and accountants to muddle through them all.   Large banks like Citigroup are positioning themselves to take advantage of Dodd-Frank.  I wrote about this earlier in October, the day after Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit resigned.

In summary, Mr. Moran voted to repeal the 1933 Banking Act that protected us from another Great Depression and replaced it with the 1999 Financial Modernization Act that led us to a Great Recession.  He then voted for the 2,000 page Dodd-Frank Act that is making small banks go away and big banks become “too bigger to fail.”  We must do better.

I will work to refine the Dodd-Frank legislation into a better bill: more clear and less demanding upon the community banks and credit unions that had little or nothing to do with the financial crisis of 2008.  To slow relationship bank consolidations and the influence of the now “too bigger to fail,” I will work with other legislators to create criteria for smaller banks that allow exemptions from Dodd-Frank.  Just recently Patch reported on the news that First Virginia Community Bank acquired First Commonwealth Bank of Virginia.  Banks like John Marshall Bank headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia Commerce Bank headquartered in Arlington and Burke & Herbert in Alexandria, need to be preserved.   We need to preserve them because what’s bad for small banks is bad for small business.  What’s bad for small business is bad for our local economy.

Financial regulation is not easy work.  It takes a commitment to get “into the weeds” of the issues and make nonpartisan decisions about difficult legislation.  I will work through these decisions, likely on the House Financial Services Committee.  I will join others to help deliver balance to the banking industry and health to our economy.

We can do better than has been done with financial regulation and during my first term we will do better.

ABOUT JASON HOWELL

Jason Howell is an Independent candidate for U.S.Congress. He has lived in Northern Virginia for 25 years, worked in accounting and finance for nearly 20 years and has spent 0 years prior as a politician. He is running to represent Virginia’s 8th Congressional district as a fiscally responsible, socially reasonable and personally relatable elected official. Virginia’s 8th District covers all of Arlington County, City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, Fort Belvoir, Lorton and parts of Fairfax County. For more, and to contact Jason, see www.VoteJasonHowell.com


 

ARLINGTON, VA, October 24th, 2012 – Independent Congressional Candidate Jason Howell responds to the sting video and subsequent resignation of Patrick Moran; the son of his opponent, incumbent Congressman Jim Moran.

“From the very beginning, our campaign has been about giving my neighbors the opportunity to vote for someone rather than merely against Jim Moran.  I was saddened watching video of the apparent sting operation on Patrick. The Moran campaign may now have many distracting, legal and ethical questions to answer. 

Our campaign is about my generation taking responsibility for the systemic political and economic challenges we face as a country. We must do better.  If you elect me on November 6th, a business owner, community volunteer, former accountant and jobs recruiter, we will do better,” said Howell.

 

ABOUT JASON HOWELL

Jason Howell is an Independent candidate for U.S.Congress. He has lived in Northern Virginia for 25 years, worked in accounting and finance for nearly 20 years and has spent 0 years prior as a politician. He is running to represent Virginia’s 8th Congressional district as a fiscally responsible, socially reasonable and personally relatable elected official. Virginia’s 8th District covers all of Arlington County, City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, Fort Belvoir, Lorton and parts of Fairfax County.  For more, and to contact Jason, see www.VoteJasonHowell.com


 

Most of the political air is being consumed by the Presidential race but the most important debates may not be on national TV.

Jim Moran, myself and at times the other candidates for U.S. Congress have participated in multiple forums since the beginning of

At the Korean Coalition Candidate’s Night

September.  During and in between these candidate forums each of us has respectfully made the case for why we want your vote.  Unlike what’s displayed on television, the organizations invite us to forums rather than true “debates.” We mostly state our positions in a limited round of questions and glide into closing remarks.  You deserve a clearer comparison and with each of my next few Patch postings you will get one.

I respect Mr. Moran’s passionate service to our congressional district, Virginia’s 8th.  For better or worse, his imprint will forever be etched into the history of Arlington, Alexandria the City of Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County.  In 2012 though, Northern Virginia is in a different place than when Mr. Moran was first elected in 1990.  And on too many federal issues our representative has not led.  We cannot solve 21st century problems with 20th century solutions.  With a trillion dollar budget deficit, we cannot merely spend our way out of big problems.

Like his legislative colleagues who share in the all-time low approval rating, Mr. Moran has T.R.I.E.D. on – Traffic, Regulation, Immigration, Economy and Debt – critical issues but unfortunately failed.  Passionate partisanship has painted many politicians into a political corner.  As a country we are better when we embrace ideas rather than ideology, innovation rather than dogma.  I am running as an Independent to take responsibility for our biggest challenges.  Traffic is one issue I will tackle in my first term.

TRAFFIC

We are number one in traffic.  Despite the millions of dollars spent on widening roads and expanding metro; and despite the recent release of $180 million credited to Mr. Moran, we still hold the dubious distinction of being number one.  Building more road was a 1956, Dwight D. Eisenhower solution.  In 2012 we will not build or spend our way out of our transit challenges. We must work smarter.

There will always be opportunities to advocate for rail and widening roads but I will be the member of our Northern Virginia congressional delegation that stands out: I will emphasize and prioritize implementing telecommuting policy.  In the 21st century we have had the technology to make our jobs more efficient and effective for years; we have lacked the political will.

The best example of well implemented telecommuting policy is the 10,000 person United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Between 2006 and 2012 The USPTO tripled the number of employees who telecommute leading to savings of $20 million per year.  First responders may not be able to telecommute but within many of our federal agencies, we can telecommute more. Doing so will improve our quality of life and reduce the costs associated with leasing, owning and managing federal office space.  It will also reduce the costs of the infrastructure projects – potential overruns due to inevitable rush hour related construction delays – we do have in place.

With so many of our neighbors in the outer and inner suburbs performing government related work, championed telecommuting policy will have a tremendously positive local effect on our rush hour and our lives.  I want to save the number of hours wasted per day and per year commuting.  I want to increase your quality of life and decrease the negative effects commuting has on our environment.  I want you to eat dinner with your family more often.

Our commonwealth took a leadership position in telecommuting as the first state to institute a “Telework Day” in 2009.   We can continue to lead on this issue in the federal government.  We can do better.

I will work during my first term so that we will do better.

For more information about our campaign, please visit VoteJasonHowell.com

 

ABOUT JASON HOWELL

Jason Howell is an Independent candidate for U.S.Congress. He has lived in Northern Virginia for 25 years, worked in accounting and finance for nearly 20 years and has spent 0 years prior as a politician. He is running to represent Virginia’s 8th Congressional district as a fiscally responsible, socially reasonable and personally relatable elected official. Virginia’s 8th District covers all of Arlington County, City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, Fort Belvoir, Lorton and parts of Fairfax County. For more, and to contact Jason, see www.VoteJasonHowell.com


 

ARLINGTON, VA, October 16th, 2012 – Independent Congressional Candidate Jason Howell pounced on the news that Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit, will be resigning from the world’s largest financial services corporation.

“The Dodd-Frank act has encouraged the now “too bigger to fail banks” to focus on a relationship banking takeover; something that will ruin small business lending,” said candidate Howell.  “Mr. Pandit’s exiting comment that “Citigroup is well-positioned for continued profitability and growth, having refocused the franchise on the basics of banking,”  speaks precisely to the problem Dodd-Frank has created – combined with low interest rates, “the squeeze” is being put on smaller bank profits.

Unfortunately, Citigroup would be correct in thinking that as Dodd-Frank is implemented, they and other large banks will be able to monopolize the traditional banking market.  The U.S. Government Accountability Office studied the potential impact that Dodd-Frank could have on community banks and credit unions – a.k.a. relationship banks – in an 88 page report on September 13, 2012 (GAO-12-881).  At the time the report was written, the GAO concluded that the “full impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on these [small] institutions is uncertain.” One month later, we can be certain -unless we appropriately amend the Dodd-Frank bill to preserve small, relationship banks, we are going to lose these drivers of small business lending.  I will work with colleagues in Congress to make these proper amendments.”

In 2008 the United States Government, at the behest of then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, agreed to insure $277 billion of Citigroup’s troubled assets and infuse up to $45 billion in cash to the banking conglomerate (according the Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2008).  This year Citigroup celebrates its 200 year anniversary and its historical affect on the financial industry has been recently significant.  In 1999, Congress passed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (or Financial Modernization Act of 1999).  This act largely repealed the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933 which prevented banking, insurance and security companies from operating under one umbrella.  Many analysts credit the Glass-Steagall Act with preventing future “Great Depressions.” Two University of North Carolina Law Professors, Dr. Lissa L. Broome and Dr. Jerry W. Markham, argue that replacing Glass-Steagall with the Financial Modernization Act was largely inspired by the merger of Citicorp and the Travelers (Insurance) Group in 1998.   Their report is simply titled The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act:  An Overview and can be easily found on-line.  In 2008, world financial markets suffered their greatest collapse since the Great Depression and kicked off a global recession.

 

ABOUT JASON HOWELL

Jason Howell is an Independent candidate for U.S.Congress. He has lived in Northern Virginia for 25 years, worked in accounting and finance for nearly 20 years and has spent 0 years prior as a politician. He is running to represent Virginia’s 8th Congressional district as a fiscally responsible, socially reasonable and personally relatable elected official. Virginia’s 8th District covers all of Arlington County, City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, Fort Belvoir, Lorton and parts of Fairfax County.  For more, and to contact Jason, see www.VoteJasonHowell.com


 

Responses to Questions from WAMU

WAMU 88.5 asked me to complete their 2012 Voter Guide Questionnaire.  I thought to share the answers with you directly.

Why are you running for this office, and why should voters consider you the most qualified candidate? What in your personal or professional background best prepares you to serve in this post?

Our slow economy, our U.S. debt and the incessant partisanship are challenges that hurt our country and our standing in the world. The love, liberty and leadership of the United States of America is too important to let persistent, partisan politics ruin our republic. I’m running as an Independent for Congress to take responsibility for these big problems.

My professional background in accounting, finance and recruiting qualify me professionally for the challenges we face with our budget, our debt and our lack of jobs.  Having no party affiliation will allow me to work with each of my legislative colleagues without the negotiation impediment of party or prior partisan allegiance.  Personally, I have lived in Northern Virginia for 25 years; most of my life.  I understand how important our federal workers are because they are my neighbors and friends. I have lived to see success and suffer the personal loss of family members. All has prepared me to represent people instead of parties.

 

What are the three most important actions you would take if elected?

The three most important actions I will take when elected are 1) open the dialogue between me and my predecessor 2) knock on the doors of the two major party leaders 3) draft legislation to implement my ideas to: balance the federal budget, reform our tax code and champion government-wide telecommuting policy.

1) My goal is to defeat a 21 year incumbent and though I disagree with Mr. Moran on policy, after 21 years I expect he has accumulated some tacit knowledge about our district that will help me be an effective freshman Congressman. I will ask for a meeting. 2) Democrat and Republican party leaders are important people for me to establish a relationship if I want to get anything done.  I will ask for a meeting with each of them. 3) My ideas for tax, telecommuting and budget policy are bipartisan.  Having established early relationships, I hope to join the House Budget and Financial Services Committees and earn an up or down vote for the bills I write.

 

What are the key differences between you and your opponent(s) that make you the best choice?

Jim Moran has spent the past 20 years being painted into a corner as a partisan politician.  I have spent the past 20 years of my life in the private industry -banking, accounting, recruiting and small business. Having no party affiliation provides me the opportunity to represent you directly.

Mr. Moran has voted for lengthy legislation with the perhaps unintended consequence of supporting “too big to fail.” For example, the Dodd-Frank bill was supposed to stop big banks from doing bad things. Unfortunately, smaller community banks and credit unions are unequally impacted by this regulation and are now merging to manage the cost of compliance.  Dodd-Frank is creating “too bigger to fail.” Mr. Moran has had over 20 years to join House Committees on Budget and Financial Services where our budget & debt problems can be debated and fixed. He hasn’t. My passion is for these areas and during these hyper-partisan times, I can be a non-partisan negotiator with a financial background.

 

Would you vote to extend the Bush tax cuts or would you vote to let them expire?

With nearly $16 trillion in short term debt and $60 trillion in long term debt obligations, we cannot just cut our way to balancing our budget and repaying our debt.  I support taking some actions in the short term to buffer our economy – like continued tax relief in 2013 – that we may not take in the long term to reduce our debt.

During 2013 I will leverage my background in accounting and finance to work with other legislators on comprehensive tax and regulatory reform.  I will work to eliminate tax loopholes (i.e., H.R. 1935 to treat “Carried Interest” income as ordinary income rather than investment income (nearly $18 Billion in additional revenue over 10 years). For long term debt reduction, I will work with the GAO’s 2011 report to detail an organized plan for reducing the 81 areas of government program overlap.

I will specifically work to broaden our national tax base by adjusting the Dodd-Frank Act so small, community banks that only lend and deposit are granted exemptions.

 

Should the retirement age for Social Security be raised? If so, what is the appropriate age?

To “fix” Social Security we need broad, public understanding of how it is funded, how much its benefits are currently out of balance and what exactly are the options to get it in balance. We haven’t implemented substantive reform since 1983 because this time, neither party is willing to negotiate with the other on the choice of higher payroll taxes or fewer benefits (i.e. an increase in the retirement age).

Raising the retirement age is one option that is available but before we choose it more emphasis should be placed on improving the economy to get people back to work and thereby paying into the system. I would advocate for the idea of removing the wage based cap of $110,100 that arbitrarily limits contributions into the system.  Also I suggest as a government, we invest the payroll taxes in a balanced set of low and high yielding securities to earn a higher return for taxpayers.

After adjusting for the above we can then “run the numbers” for the appropriate age of a retiree.

 

Do you support a constitutional amendment to ban abortion in all instances, including rape and incest?

No. I support women retaining all of their medical options as part of the liberty promised them in our U.S. Declaration of Independence.

From a federal government perspective, I agree with the legality of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision and the responding federal legislation of the 1976 Hyde amendment.  Between the Supreme Court decision and the Henry Hyde legislation we strike federal balance on this issue.

As Congressman, I will advocate for preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place and simplifying the adoption rules nationwide so that option becomes an easier choice for those who want it.

 

Have you signed Grover Norquist’s “Taxpayer Proection Pledge?”

No. I will not sign the so called “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” because it does not protect taxpayers. Taxpayers need to know that their government is able to pay the debts we’ve incurred and remain a sound, sovereign nation.

In the short-term I support taking some actions to buffer our slow economy – like continued tax relief in 2013 – that we may not take in the long term to reduce our debt. During 2013 I intend to leverage my background in accounting and finance to work with other legislators on comprehensive tax reform.  These reforms may include the elimination of loopholes  (i.e., H.R. 1935 to treat “Carried Interest” income as ordinary income rather than investment income (nearly $18 Billion in additional revenue over 10 years). I support reducing loopholes and refocusing our reform away from marginal rates and more on effective rates.

 

What’s your plan to avert sequestration? Would you accept tax increases as a part of the deal?

One of the first things I will work to do in Congress is ensure that government workers are relieved from doubt associated with the “pay freeze” currently in effect until April 2013.  I will also work with legislators to prevent another sequester that arbitrarily threatens federal jobs.  Part of that means working with other legislators to pass a federal budget.  Working with the budget committee and everyone in our Virginia Congressional delegation to broker compromise will be my number one goal in office. To work with other legislators, including Democrats Gerry Connolly and Bobby Scott here in Virginia, I will accept tax increases as part of a deal that prevents sequestration.

My primary, fiduciary obligation is to protect the citizens of the United States of America.  That protection includes financial sovereignty.  As an Independent, I will treasure my ability to focus on this obligation rather than that of any political party. America deserves that kind of leader.

 

ABOUT JASON HOWELL

Jason Howell is an Independent candidate for U.S.Congress. He has lived in Northern Virginia for 25 years, worked in mostly accounting and finance for nearly 20 years and has spent 0 years prior as a politician. He is running to represent Virginia’s 8th Congressional district as a fiscally responsible, socially reasonable and personally relatable elected official. Virginia’s 8th District covers all of Arlington County, City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, Fort Belvoir, Lorton and parts of Fairfax County. For more, and to contact Jason, see www.VoteJasonHowell.com


 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why are you running as an Independent?

I’m running as an Independent because we don’t need any more partisanship in the U.S House of Representatives; what we need is more common sense citizenship.  Having no party affiliation provides me the opportunity to represent you directly.  It will allow me to work with each of my legislative colleagues without the negotiation impediment of party.  I will not have a party “machine” directing my votes over the two year term.  Your direct involvement in subsequent elections – even getting me on the ballot – keeps me accountable while in office, for the 2014 election and onward.

How are you going to get anything done as a freshman Independent Congressman?

This is one of my favorite questions because it assumes we’ve won. Winning means so much.  Before I start work on January 3rd, the country – and the rest of the politicians – will take note of what you did.  There will likely be just as much news about our election outcome as there is for the Presidential election.  Our win will stiffen the spines of my new colleagues in the U.S. House. Each will reason, “Since his community supported him, maybe I can vote my conscience rather than just my party platform.”  Your courage will resonate around the country.  It is with your mandate that I’ll get our phone calls answered and build the relationships with the other representatives to get work done.

What exactly do you want to “get done” in Congress?

I want to tackle the structural challenges of our economy and our debt.  I want to take responsibility for our big problems. With nearly $16 trillion in short term debt and $60 trillion in long term debt obligations, we cannot just cut our way to balancing our budget and repaying our debt.  I support taking some actions in the short term to buffer our economy – like continued tax relief in 2013 – that we may not take in the long term to reduce our debt.  During 2013 I intend to leverage my background in accounting and finance to work with other legislators on comprehensive tax and regulatory reform.  For long term debt reduction, I will work with the Government Accountability Office’s 2011 report to detail an organized plan for reducing the 81 areas of government program duplication and overlap. To help grow the economy I support making revisions to the Dodd-Frank Act to facilitate the recovery of the housing industry and protect the independence of small banks that do the lending to small businesses.  I want to be a part of crunching the numbers to balance our federal budget while serving on the Budget Committee or working with those who do.  All of this work will be a down payment towards reducing the doubt and worry restricting our economy’s growth.  As a result of a more positive economic environment, I expect hiring to improve along with wages and overall quality of economic life.

How will you protect federal workers?

Government employees are my neighbors and friends.  One of the first things I will work to do is ensure that government workers are relieved from doubt associated with the “pay freeze” currently in effect until April 2013.  I will also work with legislators to prevent another sequester that arbitrarily threatens federal jobs.  Part of that means working with other legislators to pass a federal budget.  Working with the budget committee and everyone in our Virginia Congressional delegation to broker compromise will be my number one goal in office.  During my first term I will also sponsor or co-sponsor legislation that spreads the adoption of telecommuting policy government wide, especially within the Department of Defense.  The US Patent and Trademark Office currently leads the government in telecommuting policy use with 68% of their workers telecommuting.  First responders may not be able to participate but within many of our federal agencies, we can telecommute more. Doing so will improve quality of life and reduce the costs associated with leasing, owning and managing federal office space.

 

ABOUT JASON HOWELL

Jason Howell is an Independent candidate for U.S.Congress. He has lived in Northern Virginia for 25 years, worked in mostly accounting and finance for nearly 20 years and has spent 0 years prior as a politician. He is running to represent Virginia’s 8th Congressional district as a fiscally responsible, socially reasonable and personally relatable elected official. Virginia’s 8th District covers all of Arlington County, City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, Fort Belvoir, Lorton and parts of Fairfax County.  For more, and to contact Jason, see www.VoteJasonHowell.com