Legislator says he will continue to be voice for ‘sensible center’
On Sept. 10, U.S. Congressman Charlie Dent, R-15th, hosted what was supposed to be a “formal announcement” concerning his intentions next year. But news of his retirement leaked out Sept. 7. Dent revealed his intentions to a few of his congressional colleagues, and they spilled the beans.
“They’re wonderful friends, but they have big mouths,” Dent joked Sunday at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Allentown.
“I just wanted to say thank you to everybody in this room,” said Dent, who apologized for interrupting one of the biggest sports weekends of the year.
Instead of a sad announcement, the atmosphere was festive as many of Dent’s longtime supporters began to trickle in. So did most of his current and former staffers in homage to their boss.
Looking more relaxed and cheerful than he has in a long time, Dent eventually arrived with his wife, Pam, as well as his son and daughter.
“I’ve been so proud of him,” said state Sen. Pat Browne, R-16th, who introduced Dent. “What he’s done to stand up for governance and good public service — being a man who stood up nationally for those principles — is something we all should be proud of.”
Dent said he will continue to be a voice for the “sensible center.” He is currently considering his options but told his supporters not to cry for him.
“There’s no crying in baseball ... or in politics,” he joked.
He made no reference to the specific attacks lobbed by congressional candidate Justin Simmons and Northampton County GOP Chair Lee Snover. Both have attacked Dent for refusing to blindly follow President Donald Trump. But Dent did speak in general terms.
“I do think we need to give a stronger voice to the center at the moment,” he said. “The sensible center is being left behind in too many cases. I tend to bring that voice outside of Congress as well as inside.”
He also warned of a “growing trend toward nativism, isolationism, protectionism and, at times, nihilism. These are not attributes of a great nation.”
Despite his bleak assessment, Dent remained positive: “The good news is, as Churchill said, Americans will always do the right thing, but not till they exhaust every other possible alternative.”