Charlie Dent

For other people with the same name, see Charles Dent (disambiguation).
Charlie Dent
Chair of the House Ethics Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded by Mike Conaway
Succeeded by Susan Brooks (Designate)
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
Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Pamela Jane Serfass
Children 3
Alma mater Pennsylvania State University, University Park (BA)
Lehigh University (MPA)
Website House website

Charles Wieder "Charlie" Dent[1] (born May 24, 1960) is the U.S. Representative for Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district, serving since 2005. He is a member of the Republican Party.

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.[2] 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.[3] He is a member of Phi Kappa Psi 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.

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.

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,[4] the smallest percent of the vote he received in his four elections.[5]


Dent defeated Democrat Rick Daugherty, the Chairman of the Lehigh County Democratic Party, 57%–43%.[6]


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

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.

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.[7][8]

Dent is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he cosponsored H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act[9]

He voted against Federal intervention in the Terri Schiavo case. Dent opposed government intervention in a personal matter and has said he would have voted the same way had courts sided with Schiavo's parents.

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 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."[11]

In January 2012, Dent co-sponsored the Enemy Expatriation Act with Senator Joe Lieberman. 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]

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.[13]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships


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.[14]

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.[15]

Electoral history

U.S. House, 15th District of Pennsylvania (General Election) [16]
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 Dent and has three children.


  1. Pennsylvania Abstract - Pennsylvania State Data Center. 2010-11-09. Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  2. "Dent". Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  3. "Charlie Dent". House Republicans. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  4. "Pennsylvania Election Results". The New York Times.
  5. "House Races". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  6. 2014 Election Results Senate: Live Map by State, Midterm Midterm Races Races,; accessed November 12, 2016.
  7. Chris Geidner, House Passes DADT Repeal Bill, Metro Weekly (December 15, 2010).
  8. House Vote 638 – Repeals 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', The New York Times, December 15, 2010.
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-04-08. Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  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. 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.
  12. New Bill Known As Enemy Expatriation Act Would Allow Government To Strip Citizenship Without Conviction,, January 6, 2012.
  13. Middleton, Josh (June 17, 2013). "Pennsylvania Congressman Charlie Dent to co-sponsor LGBT-specific anti-bullying Bill". Philly Magazine. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  14. 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.
  15. "Dent outlines congressional cancer prevention efforts". The Ripon Advance. The Ripon Society. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  16. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2009-03-02.

Media related to Charlie Dent at Wikimedia Commons

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
United States 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
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Henry Cuellar
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Jeff Fortenberry
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