Photo: Steve Thurston
Jason Howell, an Independent running to unseat Democrat Jim Moran in the House of Representatives' 8th District, took the podium last night to define himself. He was comfortable on stage at the Cherrydale Fire House on Lee Highway, joking with the audience. He said that he liked Arlington so much that he convinced his girlfriend to move here.
"She moved here, so I married her," he quipped. Later he said that it is really hard to run as an Independent. "Surprise anyone?" he asked.
He took questions from an audience of about 40 people. Moran did not show up until later in the evening and took a few minutes to tell stories and joke. Since he was late, however, there was no time for questions.
"I've been campaigning, I get the work that [Moran has] done," Howell said, but it's time for a 21st century candidate, someone for the next generation.
One plank on his platform that he took some time to focus on was telecommuting.
"No matter how much we spend, no matter how much we build, no matter how much we widen, we're still number one in [bad] traffic," Howell said, adding that he would be a champion of telecommuting in Congress. "That is the congressman that I will be."
He has extensive experience, he said, volunteering and working with nonprofits, but he said a defining event for him was spending time in "the little room" at the back of the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital.
"That's where they tell you that your family member isn't going to make it," he said, adding that no one should see the feeding tube removed from a loved one.
That experience "has prepared me to represent your families in Congress."