House Speaker Bill Howell, R-Stafford County, has apologized to the woman who challenged him Thursday over his criticism of a ProgressVA report that spotlighted ties between state lawmakers and the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.
The confrontation occurred after a Thursday news conference. At one point, Howell told ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl: “I guess I’m not speaking in little enough words for you to understand.”
A Democratic Party tracker recorded the exchange and posted the video online. Two Democratic women’s political groups denounced the speaker and called on him to apologize.
Today, Howell issued a statement saying he has called Scholl “and offered my sincere and heartfelt apology for my comments to her.” Here is is full statement:
“Yesterday, I attended a news conference and joined with members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to highlight a new report, “Rich States, Poor States.” With Virginia ranking third according to the ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index, the report details how Virginia is outperforming nearly every other state in the nation based on a wide variety of economic competitiveness issues, including taxes, labor costs and regulations,” said Howell.
“After the news conference, I responded to a series of questions from Anna Scholl, Executive Director of ProgressVA, in a manner that was not consistent with my own standards of civility or reflective of the way I believe discussions over public policy disagreements should be conducted. I have since called Ms. Scholl and offered my sincere and heartfelt apology for my comments to her.”