President & CEO
Charles grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs in a family of railroaders, teachers, and small business owners. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania’s public schools, Bucknell University, the Koch Associate Program, and the Claremont Institute’s Publius Fellowship.
Charles first became associated with the Commonwealth Foundation when he was a college newspaper editor under attack for defending free speech. He became a Commonwealth Foundation investor in 2006, joined the staff as Chief Operations Officer in 2010, and became CEO in 2016. During that time, he has been honored with the State Policy Network’s Overton Award and the Heritage Foundation’s Distinguished Intern Alumni Award and recognized as one of City & State Pennsylvania Forty Under 40 Rising Stars.
In addition to his Commonwealth Foundation responsibilities, Charles serves as an elder of his family’s church, a founder of Threefold Schoolhouse: An Acton Academy, president of the Open Discourse Coalition, and a board member of Americans for Fair Treatment and the Franklin News Foundation.
Charles lives in the Harrisburg area with his wife and their four daughters.
Pennsylvania’s losing economically to other states
Originally published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Like so many Pennsylvanians, I’ve had to say goodbye to another dear friend who left our commonwealth on the promise of work. The…
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Wisconsin’s union law worked. Now it’s Pennsylvania’s turn.
Originally published at The Philadelphia Inquirer Talk about unions is heating up. Just look at Amazon and Starbucks. Bernie Sanders says that Democrats need to encourage…
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Op-Ed: States rebel against governors’ arbitrary COVID-19 powers. Pennsylvania is the latest.
Pennsylvanians continue to pay a steep price for Gov. Tom Wolf's lockdowns while the state ranks in the top 11 of coronavirus deaths per capita.
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Op-Ed: Pennsylvania Voters Fight Back Against Power-Hungry Governor Abusing Emergency Powers
Following the disastrous shutdowns in states like New York and New Jersey, lawmakers may want to emulate Pennsylvania’s constitutional remedy.
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Op-Ed: The last line of defense against a governor’s overreach
Pennsylvanians understand the dangers of COVID-19. Sadly, they also fear how Wolf’s unilateral powers imperil their future. That’s why the state Legislature, whose members just heard from their constituents during…
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Will the Shutdown Debacle Finally Spell the End of Pennsylvania’s Government-Owned Liquor Stores?
The pandemic has provided us with proof—Pennsylvania’s liquor market is in dire need of privatization and has been for decades. Along with streamlined service, privatization will increase sales tax revenue…
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Op-ed: 3 steps to ensure that Pa.’s private and Catholic school students can go back to class
Considering there are 50,000 private school kids in the Philadelphia region, and 200,000 in Pennsylvania, the implications of children in private schools going back to public schools is staggering. Private schools save…
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Pa. Supreme Court Grants Governor Unchecked Emergency Powers
July 1, 2020, Harrisburg, Pa. — The Pa. Supreme Court ignored the commonwealth’s tradition of checks and balances between branches of government in a ruling on a lawsuit between…
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Pa. Shutdown Revolt Met with Threats from Governor
May 11, 2020, Harrisburg, Pa. — After this weekend's news that at least eight counties in Pennsylvania would no longer participate in the governor's reopening directives, Gov. Wolf has…
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Op-ed: Lawmakers offer a way out of the coronavirus chaos
Gov. Wolf's insistence on going it alone and making decisions behind closed doors is crippling his credibility.
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Wolf’s Budget Borrows Billions and Attacks Schools of Choice
February 4, 2020, Harrisburg, Pa. — Today, Gov. Wolf outlined a massive spending and borrowing plan in his annual budget address. The $36.1 billion proposed General Fund Budget represents a…
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CF Responds to Pa. House Speaker Mike Turzai’s Retirement
January 23, 2020, Harrisburg, Pa.—Today, Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Mike Turzai announced he will not seek reelection at the end of his term. Turzai, an outspoken…
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Students Need Scholarships, Not Vetoes
While the governor has repeatedly voiced support for freeing students from zip code-assigned schools that aren’t meeting their needs, he vetoed a sorely needed expansion of Pennsylvania’s scholarship…
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Pa. Governor to Block Education Opportunity for Thousands of Students
June 13, 2019, Harrisburg, Pa.—According to news reports, Governor Tom Wolf plans to veto a school choice bill, HB 800, that would expand tax credit scholarships in Pennsylvania.
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Public Union Democracy
For Union Members, Knowledge is Power
Francisco Molina is standing up for himself and other public workers because he believes everyone deserves the opportunity to know and act on their rights. That’s the kind of bedrock…
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Criminal Justice Reform
Can Criminal Justice Reform Unite America?
The following op-ed first appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Are partisan division and political bickering unavoidable in American politics? The headlines make it seem so, but it’s not true.
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Remembering Yvonne Morgan
I have been blessed with some amazing moms in my life, and Yvonne Morgan—my “BUCC Mom”—was one of them. …
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Criminal Justice Reform
Tough on Crime, Smart on Justice
Commentators called it a “Christmas miracle.” In late December, Congressional Republicans and Democrats cooperated to pass the FIRST STEP Act, America’s most significant federal sentencing and prison reform…
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Supreme Court Restores Government Workers’ Rights
Nobody should be forced to pay for unions' political activity.
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Public Union Democracy
Time to Shed Light on New Workers’ Rights
This Labor Day marks ten weeks since the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that government employees should not be forced to pay a union or risk losing their…
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Public Union Democracy
Government Workers’ Rights Restored
In Janus v. AFSCME, the Supreme Court righted a decades-old wrong, striking down a coercive system and clearing a pathway for 330,000 Pennsylvania government workers to regain their long-denied First…
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