Howard Morgan Griffith (born March 15, 1958) is the U.S. Representative for Virginia's 9th congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party. He was the majority leader of the Virginia House of Delegates and represented the 8th District, serving from 1994 until 2011. The district included all of Salem, Virginia and parts of Roanoke County.
Early life, education, and career
Griffith was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but his family moved to Salem, Virginia while he was a baby. He attended Andrew Lewis High School, graduating in 1976.
He attended Emory and Henry College, graduating in 1980. Griffith completed his education with a J.D. from the Washington and Lee University Law School in 1983.
After law school, Griffith settled in Salem where he worked as a private attorney with a focus on traffic violations and DUI. On June 23, 2008, Albo & Oblon LLP, a law firm run by fellow Republican delegate Dave Albo, announced that Griffith was joining the firm as head of its new Roanoke/Salem office.
Early political career
Griffith first became seriously involved in politics in 1986, when he was chosen as the chairman of the Salem Republican Party. He held that position from 1986 to 1988 and from 1991 to 1994.
Virginia House of Delegates
In 1994 Griffith was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.
He served as the Vice-Chairman of the Rules Committee in the House of Delegates. He served on the Courts of Justice Committee, and was the chairman of its Criminal Law Subcommittee. He also served on the Commerce and Labor and the Militia, Police, and Public Safety Committees. He was elected House Majority Leader in 2000 and was the first Republican to hold that position in Virginia's history.
U.S. House of Representatives
Griffith was the Republican nominee to face longtime U.S.
Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) who was first elected in 1982. A "GOP Young Gun", Griffith won the election.
Griffith's home in Salem is located just inside the neighboring 6th District, represented by fellow Republican Bob Goodlatte.
- Committee on Energy and Commerce
- Subcommittee on Energy and Power
- Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Griffith has voted to allow the Commonwealth of Virginia to enforce federal immigration laws to criminalize knowingly employing illegal immigrants or undocumented workers, and also voted to criminalize possession of firearms by illegal aliens.
While serving in the Virginia House of Delegates, Griffith supported a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage by defining marriage as between one man and one woman. He voted in favor of a bill to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for government employees.
Griffith voted in favor of several bills to reduce restrictions on gun ownership, including a bill to allow concealed weapons in vehicles without a permit and to allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry their firearms in restaurants and bars. Griffith also voted to prohibit consumption of alcohol while in possession of a concealed weapon. In 2004 Griffith voted to prohibit carrying firearms or ammunition in the non-secure areas of airport terminals, including baggage claim areas.
Early in 2010, Griffith voted in favor of a bill to prohibit any individual mandate to purchase health insurance.
This law passed Virginia's legislature before the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was enacted, which Virginia has used to challenge the individual mandate in federal court.
Griffith has voted consistently for expansions of the death penalty to include eligibility for accomplices to a murder, as well as for those who murder a judge or a witness.
When surveyed in 1999 on his political positions by Project Vote Smart, Griffith indicated that he supports legalized abortion in the first trimester and to save the life of the mother, while favoring the restriction of abortion through parental notification laws and prohibition of partial-birth abortion. Griffith's voting record has generally been consistent with his 1999 survey, voting in favor of restrictions on late term abortions such as parental-notification and parental-consent, while voting against bills that would restrict first-term abortions. In 2010 Griffith voted to restrict state funding of abortions, and to require abortion clinics to meet the same licensing requirements as surgical centers. In 2006 Griffith voted to restrict state funding for fetal stem cell research.
In 2007 Griffith voted against a bill in the Virginia General Assembly, HB 2797, which stated: "That life begins at the moment of fertilization and the right to enjoyment of life guaranteed by Article 1, § 1 of the Constitution of Virginia is vested in each born and preborn human being from the moment of fertilization" This was the only bill introduced to the General Assembly during Griffith's tenure that would have affected the legality of first-term abortions on the principal of the fetal personhood as opposed to regulating abortion on other grounds.
Griffith's 2010 campaign website reported that Griffith has a "100% pro-life" voting record and an "A" rating from the Virginia Society for Human Life (VSHL). However, VSHL's report on 2007 legislation in Virginia omits reference to HB 2797 Project Vote Smart indicated that Griffith declined to take their survey again in 2010.
Taxes and spending
Griffith supports raising the retirement age and reducing the number of American troops serving overseas as means of reducing the federal budget deficit.<
Griffith is married to Hilary Davis. The couple has three children.
February 28, 2012