Arkansas State Representative Minority Whip/State Representative Dist. 36/President of CenArk Transportation/Business Consultant[dropcap]C[/dropcap]harles says he is “Little Rock born and raised.” He attended Central High School as a teenager, then went to Grinnell College in Iowa, a private liberal arts school. After graduation, he returned to Arkansas, where he worked in banking and insurance before serving as a founding administrator of the Little Rock Preparatory Academy. Charles also started his own business. He ran for office in 2014, winning a seat in the state House of Representatives. He is currently serving his second term in the House.
Charles was the first legislator to introduce a bill to separate the Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee holidays in Arkansas. The initial effort failed, but the holidays were divided two years later. Charles says the 2015 proposal is one of the highlights of his political career, along with legislation like the Democracy Act, which would have required automatic voter registration. Charles has also sponsored bills to change the burden of proof on the death penalty and to encourage Arkansas cities to conduct business locally, with companies inside their cities.
Hometown: Little Rock
First job: Lifeguard
What’s an interesting fact about you that would surprise others? I am a classically trained bassist.
What are you passionate about: Expanding educational opportunities to everyone, creating generational wealth for underserved communities and fighting injustices.
Favorite place in the world: Wherever my wife and kids are, preferably on a lake.
One word that describes you: Charismatic
What attracted you to your career? Service. I am mission-driven to make our city and state better before I leave this world. And I plan on doing that by serving my neighbors and my community. As a state representative, I have the opportunity to serve in a role where I can positively affect the lives of my constituents and neighbors.
What do you love about what you do? Being able to fight every day for my community and what I believe in.
Favorite food: Philly cheesesteak
Personal motto: “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
Volunteer work: Board of Directors Boys and Girls Club of Central Arkansas, President of SoMa, Board Member of Little Rock Central High School Tiger Foundation, Board Member at Junior Deputy Baseball Complex, Board Member of Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce.
What is the accomplishment you’re most proud of? Being elected to the House of Representatives to serve my community and being able to fight every day for them and what I believe in.
What’s left on your bucket list? Help get an African American elected statewide, bring college football to Little Rock, travel to Africa, run a bank.
Photo by Judea Robinett