Charles Blake (politician)

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Charles Blake
Minority Leader of the Arkansas House of Representatives
Assumed office
January 14, 2019
Preceded byDavid Whitaker
Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
from the 36th district
Assumed office
January 2015
Preceded byDarrin Williams
Personal details
Charles Jamaal Blake

(1983-04-18) April 18, 1983 (age 36)
Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationGrinnell College (BA)

Charles Jamaal Blake (born April 18, 1983)[1][2] is a Democratic member of the Arkansas House of Representatives for District 36 in the capital city of Little Rock in a portion of Pulaski County, Arkansas.[3]


An African-American, Blake is a graduate of Little Rock Central High School and Grinnell College, in Grinnell, Iowa, from which he holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science. He is a small businessman and the chairman of the South Main Street Board in Little Rock. He also chairs the holiday committee for Daisy Bates, the late civil rights activist from Little Rock who died in 1999. He is a director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Arkansas.[3]

Blake is affiliated with the Baptist Church, specific denomination unavailable.[3]

Political life[edit]

In 2014, Blake won the Democratic nomination by 103 votes over two intra-party rivals, Sheena Lewis and Rodney Hall, for the House District 36 seat vacated by the term-limited Democrat, Darrin Williams.[4] He sits on these committees: (1) Transportation Committee and (2) City, County, and Local Affairs.[3]

In February 2015, Blake was among twenty legislators who opposed House Bill 1228, authored by Republican Bob Ballinger of Carroll County in northwestern Arkansas.[5] The measure sought to prohibit government from imposing a burden on the free exercise of religion.[6] Blake's colleague, Representative Camille Bennett, a Democrat from Lonoke, called for a reworking of the legislation[7] on the theory that the Ballinger bill would establish a "type of religious litmus test" which could impact nearly any law under consideration by the legislature.[5] The legislation was subsequently passed by a large margin in the House and signed into law in revised form, SB 975, by Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson.[8]

In the 2015 legislative session, Blake joined with the Republican Nate Bell of Mena in an unsuccessful effort to sever Martin Luther King Day and the Robert E. Lee holiday, which are both observed in Arkansas on the third Monday of January. Bell proposed that Lee's holiday be transferred to November 30, a "Southern Heritage Day" to correspond with the birthday of a Confederate States Army general from eastern Arkansas, Patrick Cleburne, who was killed in the American Civil War in Franklin, Tennessee. Only two citizens spoke in a public hearing on the Blake-Bell measure; twenty-four signed to speak in opposition. Alabama and Mississippi also observe a combined King-Lee Day. Representative Trevor Drown of Dover said Arkansas should remain unique and not copy the majority of states on the issue because "it's our heritage."[9]


  1. ^ "Charles Jamaal Blake". intelius. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  2. ^ Charles Blake Facebook Page, April 27, 2014
  3. ^ a b c d "Charles Blake". Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  4. ^ "District 36". Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Opponents of Religious Freedom Bill Point Out Law Differences, Possible Unintended Consequences". Little Rock, Arkansas: Fox Channel 16. April 1, 2015. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  6. ^ "HB 1228". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  7. ^ "Indiana, Arkansas try to stem religious objections uproar". Atlantic Broadband. April 3, 2015. Archived from the original on April 14, 2015. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  8. ^ "Gov. Hutchinson signs revised religious freedom bill; HB 1228 recalled". Little Rock: KTHV-TV. April 2, 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-04-06. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  9. ^ Elahe Izadi (January 29, 2015). "Why Arkansas still won't stop celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee on the same day". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
Arkansas House of Representatives
Preceded by
Darrin Williams
Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
from the 36th district

Preceded by
David Whitaker
Minority Leader of the Arkansas House of Representatives