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Charlie Dent

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Charlie Dent
Charlie Dent official photo.jpg
Chair of the House Ethics Committee
In office
January 3, 2015 – January 3, 2017
Preceded by Mike Conaway
Succeeded by Susan Brooks
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 15th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2005
Preceded by Pat Toomey
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
from the 16th district
In office
January 5, 1999 – November 30, 2004
Preceded by Roy Afflerbach
Succeeded by Pat Browne
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 132nd district
In office
January 1, 1991 – November 25, 1998
Preceded by John Pressman
Succeeded by Jennifer Mann
Personal details
Born Charles Wieder Dent
(1960-05-24) May 24, 1960 (age 57)
Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Pamela Serfass
Children 3
Education Pennsylvania State University, University Park (BA)
Lehigh University (MPA)
Website House website

Charles Wieder Dent[1] (born May 24, 1960) is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district since 2005. He is a member of the Republican Party.

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Dent worked in a variety of occupations after graduating from Pennsylvania State University. He earned a master's degree in public administration from Lehigh University and served as an aide to Congressman Donald L. Ritter. From 1991 to 2004, he served in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. In 2004, Dent won election to the United States House of Representatives, succeeding Pat Toomey.

In the House, Dent became a member of the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership and the Tuesday Group. He became co-chair of the Tuesday Group in 2007. He serves on the House Committee on Appropriations, and previously chaired the House Ethics Committee.

In September 2017, Dent announced that he would retire from Congress and not seek re-election to another term in 2018.[2]

Early life, education, and early career

Dent was born and raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the son of Marjorie L. (née Wieder) and Walter R. Dent. He is of German, English, and Irish descent.[3] Dent is a 1978 graduate of Allentown's William Allen High School. He received a bachelor's in international politics from Pennsylvania State University in 1982 and a masters in public administration from Lehigh University in 1993.[4] He is a member of Phi Kappa Psi,[citation needed] and previously worked as a development officer for Lehigh University, an industrial electronics salesman, a hotel clerk, and an aide to U.S. Representative Donald L. Ritter.[4]

Pennsylvania legislature

Before being elected to the United States Congress, Dent was a member of the State Legislature for 14 years. He represented Pennsylvania's 132nd house district from 1991-99 after unseating Democratic incumbent Jack Pressman in a heavily Democratic district in 1990.

In 1998, Dent won an open 16th District Senate seat when Democrat Roy Afflerbach (who later served as Mayor of Allentown from 2002–06) retired to take up an ultimately unsuccessful bid for Congress.[citation needed]

U.S. House of Representatives


Dent was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2004, succeeding Pat Toomey, who gave up his seat to challenge Arlen Specter for the U.S. Senate. He defeated Democrat Joe Driscoll 59%–39%.


He won re-election 54%–44% against Charles Dertinger.


He won re-election 59%–41% against Allentown Democratic Party Chairman Sam Bennett.


Dent won re-election against Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan with 54% of the vote,[5] the smallest percent of the vote he received in his four elections.[6]


Dent defeated Democrat Rick Daugherty, the Chairman of the Lehigh County Democratic Party, 57%–43%.[7]


Rep. Charles Dent, R-PA, introduces legislation (HR 1254) to ban the ingredients found in synthetic marijuana Dec. 7, 2011, on the House floor. The House passed the legislation Dec. 8, 2011. Video:C-SPAN

In April 2011, Dent voted in favor of a 2012 budget proposal authored by Paul Ryan entitled The Path to Prosperity, which included several controversial changes to both health care and tax policy. Dent said of the bill that, "It's a serious, sober document ... There are some things in there that I think are interesting."[8]

Dent was ranked as the 47th most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the 114th United States Congress (and the fourth most bipartisan member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania) in the Bipartisan Index created by The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy that ranks members of the United States Congress by their degree of bipartisanship (by measuring the frequency each member's bills attract co-sponsors from the opposite party and each member's co-sponsorship of bills by members of the opposite party).[9]

Citizenship and immigration

In April 2010, Dent introduced a resolution urging the U.S. State Department to issue a Certificate of Loss of Nationality to Anwar al-Awlaki. He said al-Awlaki "preaches a culture of hate" and had been a functioning member of al-Qaeda "since before 9/11", and had effectively renounced his citizenship by engaging in treasonous acts.[10]

In January 2012, Dent co-sponsored the Enemy Expatriation Act with Senator Joe Lieberman. The bill's purpose was 'To add engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality', where the term "hostilities" means any conflict subject to the laws of war.[11] The proposal would allow the United States government to strip U.S. citizens of their citizenship without requiring that the citizen have been convicted of a crime.[12]

Dent criticized President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to temporarily curtail Muslim immigration until better screening methods are devised. He stated that “This is ridiculous. I guess I understand what his intention is, but unfortunately the order appears to have been rushed through without full consideration. You know, there are many, many nuances of immigration policy that can be life or death for many innocent, vulnerable people around the world.”[13]


Dent is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2005, he cosponsored H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[14]


At the start of the 112th Congress, Dent received a new position on the coveted House Appropriations Committee, and continues to serve on the House Ethics Committee. In June 2013, Dent decided to co-sponsor the Safe Schools Improvement Act (SSIA), a bill that would require schools and districts to adopt policies specifically prohibiting bullying and harassment against all students, including LGBT young people. Dent is known for his efforts to promote LGBT equality throughout the nation.[15]


Dent is a proponent of hydrogen fuel and is one of the four founding members of the House Hydrogen Fuel Cell Caucus. In 2006 he proposed legislation aimed at promoting the rollout of commercial hydrogen fueling stations. He has spoken of his vision for the development of a "Hydrogen Highway East", similar to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's plans for a Hydrogen Highway on the West Coast. Dent is a member of The Republican Main Street Partnership. In 2007 he was elected to co-chair the Tuesday Group, a centrist organization of Congressional Republicans.

Drug policy

Dent is a proponent of drug prohibition, and is outspoken on the dangers of novel synthetic drugs, having personally sponsored several bills aimed to schedule new psychoactive compounds. In 2011, he sponsored the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011, which sought to schedule a large number of cannabimimetic agents, as well as 26 other psychoactive substances. The bill passed the House but did not make its way through the Senate.[16] On March 27, 2017, the bill was re-introduced as the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2017.[17] If passed in its current text (as of May 14, 2017), this bill would schedule a large number of novel psychoactive substances, including 96 phenethylamines, 94 cannabimimetic agents, 15 arylcyclohexylamines, 21 tryptamines, 8 benzylpiperazines, 4 benzodiazepines, 4 opioid or opioid-like substances, 8 piperazines, and 2 tropane alkaloids.


As a Republican representing a district with Democratic leanings, he sometimes crosses party lines on legislation. In December 2010, Dent was one of fifteen Republican House members to vote in favor of repealing the United States military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on openly gay service members.[18][19]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

  • Congressional Arts Caucus
  • Congressional Cement Caucus, Co-Chair


In 2014, Dent introduced a bill to give states more flexibility in how they provide health insurance to children from families between 100 and 133 of the federal poverty level, according to The Ripon Advance.[20]

The Next Generation Choices Foundation selected Dent to be the Elsie Hillman Speaker at their annual National Cancer Prevention Day event in 2016 in recognition of his efforts to support legislation related to cancer prevention.[21]

Electoral history

U.S. House, 15th District of Pennsylvania (General Election) [22]
Year Winning candidate Party Pct Opponent Party Pct Opponent Party Pct Opponent Party Pct
2004 Charlie Dent Republican 59% Joe Driscoll Democratic 39% Frank Gonzalez Libertarian 1% Greta Browne Green Party 1%
2006 Charlie Dent (inc.) Republican 54% Charles Dertinger Democratic 43% Greta Browne Green Party 3%
2008 Charlie Dent (inc.) Republican 59% Sam Bennett Democratic 41%
2010 Charlie Dent (inc.) Republican 54% John Callahan Democratic 39% Jake Towne Independent 7%
2012 Charlie Dent (inc.) Republican 57% Rick Daugherty Democratic 43%
2014 Charlie Dent (inc.) Republican 100%
2016 Charlie Dent (inc.) Republican 58% Rick Daugherty Democratic 38% Paul Rizzo Libertarian 4%

Personal life

Dent is married to Pamela Jane Serfass and has three children.


  1. ^ Pennsylvania Abstract - Pennsylvania State Data Center. 2010-11-09. Retrieved 2016-11-12. 
  2. ^ DeBonis, Mike. "Rep. Charlie Dent, outspoken GOP moderate, will not seek reelection". Washington Post. Retrieved 7 September 2017. 
  3. ^ "Dent". Retrieved 2016-11-12. 
  4. ^ a b "Charlie Dent". House Republicans. Retrieved June 6, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Pennsylvania Election Results". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ "House Races". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2016. 
  7. ^ 2014 Election Results Senate: Live Map by State, Midterm Midterm Races Races,; accessed November 12, 2016.
  8. ^ Miller, Sean J.; D'Aprile, Shane (April 26, 2011). "Vulnerables offer praise for Ryan plan". Ballot Box: The Hill's Campaign Blog. The Hill. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  9. ^ The Lugar Center - McCourt School Bipartisan Index (PDF), The Lugar Center, March 7, 2016, retrieved April 30, 2017 
  10. ^ Levine, Mike (April 22, 2010). "Rep. Introduces Resolution to Strip Radical Cleric of US Citizenship". Fox News Covers Congress. Fox News. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  11. ^ (112th Congress), H. R. 3166. "Enemy Expatriation Act". GovTrack. Retrieved 28 October 2017. 
  12. ^ New Bill Known As Enemy Expatriation Act Would Allow Government To Strip Citizenship Without Conviction,, January 6, 2012.
  13. ^ Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved 30 January 2017. 
  14. ^ "H.R.4411 - Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act: Co-Sponsors" (109th Congress, 2005-2006). Retrieved 2017-03-23. 
  15. ^ Middleton, Josh (June 17, 2013). "Pennsylvania Congressman Charlie Dent to co-sponsor LGBT-specific anti-bullying Bill". Philly Magazine. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  16. ^ "Text - H.R.1254 - 112th Congress (2011-2012): Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2011 - - Library of Congress". May 14, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2017. 
  17. ^ "H.R.1732 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2017 - - Library of Congress". May 14, 2017. Retrieved May 14, 2017. 
  18. ^ Chris Geidner, House Passes DADT Repeal Bill Archived 2013-10-21 at the Wayback Machine., Metro Weekly (December 15, 2010).
  19. ^ House Vote 638 – Repeals 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Archived 2016-01-18 at the Wayback Machine., The New York Times, December 15, 2010.
  20. ^ Martin, Aaron. "Dent bill aims to protect state-run CHIPs" Archived April 21, 2014, at the Wayback Machine., Ripon Advance. January 28, 2014; retrieved January 31, 2014.
  21. ^ "Dent outlines congressional cancer prevention efforts". The Ripon Advance. The Ripon Society. Retrieved February 26, 2016. 
  22. ^ "CQ 2008 Election Guide". CQ Politics. Archived from the original on 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 

External links

Media related to Charlie Dent at Wikimedia Commons

  • Congressman Charlie Dent official U.S. House site
  • Charlie Dent for Congress
  • Charlie Dent at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
  • Appearances on C-SPAN
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Preceded by
John Pressman
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 132nd district

Succeeded by
Jennifer Mann
Pennsylvania State Senate
Preceded by
Roy Afflerbach
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
from the 16th district

Succeeded by
Pat Browne
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Pat Toomey
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district

Preceded by
Mike Conaway
Chair of the House Ethics Committee
Succeeded by
Susan Brooks
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Henry Cuellar
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Jeff Fortenberry
Retrieved from ""
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