A 5th generation Oregonian, Charles was born in St Helens, Oregon, the great grandson of Ephram Peter Roberts who settled in The Dalles.
As child, shortly after losing his own father to a drunk driver, Charles watched the horse drawn casket of John F. Kennedy on a black and white television, and saw the tearful faces from around the world
Then… John Jr.’s salute.
“Why is everyone crying?,” he asked his mom. She said “he was a great leader, people all over the world loved him. and he gave people hope.” That experience made an indelible impression, setting into motion a lifelong desire to understand leadership, government, politics, and justice.
Charles’s interest turned into a passion and then a career. He put himself through college, earning a Bachelor’s degree with Honors in Political Science, Middle East Specialist, and went on to earn his PhD in Public Administration and Policy.
He has worked with some of Oregon’s greatest leaders. Served as a legislative page to Senator Jason Boe, volunteer staff to city commissioner Mildred Schwab, interned for county commissioners Ben Padrow and Don Clark, and staff to Rena Cusma, studied with the colorful character Marko Haggard, volunteered for Betty and Barbara Robert’s campaigns, and helped elect Congresswoman Elizabeth Furse.
He watched as Tom McCall marshaled in the bottle bill, beach protection, the Columbia Gorge scenic area designation, and novel comprehensive land-use planning. Working as intern to help craft Multnomah County’s first land use plan, he learned the unique role and value of public participation in decision-making; this being something that makes Oregon unique. He saw how citizens struggled with competing values, in open community discussions, that laid the foundation for the Oregon Health Plan – and he continues to connect with these values.
His life hasn’t been all public service, however. He background includes running a small manufacturing company in Damascus that made outdoor gear, traveling across the country and the world for sales and supplies, interacting with many different cultures, and he has helped healthcare companies and organizations identify issues and resolve them to improve the quality of care.
He has done this work not just in Oregon, but in Alaska, California, Washington, West Virginia, and Washington DC as well. To this day he fights to assure that everyone has access to high quality health care, no matter their backgrounds or socioeconomic status.
Charles lives in the house he designed and hand built himself near the Clackamas River in Carver. He is an avid climber, runner, skier, and community volunteer. He has volunteered at the Wallace Medical Concern, a free clinic for the homeless, co-founder of the Oregon Pediatric Improvement Partnership, a volunteer mentor with the Oregon Youth Authority, and currently serves on the Clackamas County Parks Advisory Board and Economic Development Commission.
When asked why is he running for the House he said, “I think the voters of this district deserve better representation, mainstream, a real positive voice. It’s time we stopped pitting education, healthcare, public safety, and the environment against one another in our budget process. There is a better way and we can do it
…and I really do love Oregon.”