For Immediate Release | February 22, 2017
Contact Kelly Gee | 804-698-1066
Richmond, VA– On Monday, February 20th, Speaker Bill Howell announced he would not seek re-election to the House of Delegates.
Elected Speaker in 2003, Speaker Howell is currently the second-longest serving Speaker in the history of the House of Delegates with 14 years of service as Speaker. Of his many accomplishments, most noteworthy is his protection of the institutional integrity of the House. Speaker Howell instituted proportional representation on committees and enacted several transparency measures to include ending committee meetings on the House floor and enacting a 48-hour waiting period before budget votes. Following this announcement, the Caucus decided to elect their leadership team ahead of the 2018 swearing-in of new officers.
On Wednesday, February 22nd, the House Republican Caucus unanimously elected Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) as the Speaker-Designee. Cox will be sworn in as the 55th Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates in January of 2018.
“I’m humbled and honored by the trust my colleagues have placed in me. Since joining the House Leadership team in 2004, I’ve worked to cultivate a strong, pragmatic Republican caucus. My work is policy driven but I recognize we need a majority to advance our conservative principles. I look forward to continuing Speaker Howell’s legacy of an open, accessible, and fair administration.”
Cox will be the first Speaker of the House from Colonial Heights. He is the first Speaker to represent part of Chesterfield since the mid-1800s. Additionally, he is the first Speaker whose full-time job outside of the legislature was that of a public school teacher. The Office of the Speaker is an institutional role that rises above partisan politics. The Speaker is tasked with several constitutional obligations that include but are not limited to bill referral, committee appointments, citizen appointments to boards and commissions, and general oversight of the legislative process.
Speaker Howell will finish his term as Speaker that is set to conclude with the swearing-in of Delegates on the first day of the 2018 Session, January 10, 2018. At such time, the entire House of Delegates will elect the new Speaker of the House. Cox will remain Majority Leader of the House Republican Caucus until then.