Rep. Julia Howard (R-Davie) is an institution in Raleigh. A force of nature who does not always toe the party line, she’s been in office for 26 years. And she’s also the winner of this week’s highly coveted “Worst Week in Raleigh” award, the only such award of its kind in the entire country.
How did Howard earn this dubious honor? When committee assignments were handed out, Howard drew the short straw, getting knocked off her perch as chairwoman of the finance committee. It’s the second leadership post she’s lost in a week. Before that, we learned that she lost her position as co-chair of the ethics committee.
Sources say that ‘personality conflict’ with the new Speaker, Tim Moore, played a role in her demotion. You know how it is – Howard is the clean one, Moore is messy; Moore favors classic rock, Howard listens exclusively to opera. A personality clash was bound to happen.
Howard suspects she was removed because she did not support Moore’s bid for Speaker and so she could be replaced with someone more supportive of his agenda. Rep. Justin Burr, who actually ran against Moore for Speaker, received a similar treatment, getting demoted from his role as co-chairman of the appropriations committee, along with being removed as the vice chair from three other panels. On the other hand, he did get a few consolation prizes: he was named co-chairman of the health committee and also a new appropriations-related committee. Howard got nothing.
Despite the rough treatment from the new House leadership, Howard says she doesn’t plan on leaving the legislature any time soon. Earline Parmon, Democrat who represented Forsyth County with Howard, recently quit, in part because she didn’t like the new atmosphere in the House. Despite being stripped of a lot of her power, Howard apparently intends to go on legislating, being a thorn in the side of both Democrats and Republicans. It’s just that her ability to do that effectively has been somewhat compromised.
Julia Howard, for losing two leadership posts in the span of less than two weeks, you are this week’s winner of the “Worst Week in Raleigh” award. Congrats, or something.
Check out the past winners here:
January 9, 2015 – NC House Democrats
Do you know an NC political figure who had a bad week? Feel free to nominate someone by sending us an e-mail or by writing in the comments section and explain why you think they’re worthy of the prize.