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Meet Charles Whalen

Charles and family

The son of a machinist dad and a first-generation American mom, Charles Whalen knows the struggles of working families. His dad, who began his trade in the Marines, worked the night shift in a factory and a second job on weekends. His mom, whose parents emigrated from Italy, learned English as a second language and worked as a bookkeeper for small businesses.

Driven to make a difference in the lives of hardworking Americans, Charles worked his way through Cornell University — the first in his family to attend college. Since then, he’s earned national recognition for helping companies, working people, and community leaders in Western New York and across the country find ways to achieve business success and regional prosperity.

Over the past 30 years, while working in various settings, Charles's aim has remained constant: to improve the lives of working people, retirees, and their families. He's held countless late-night meetings with factory workers to help companies save and create jobs. He’s forged regional business and labor partnerships to promote economic development in seven Western New York counties. He's gotten tax rebates on the national agenda when the economy was in recession. And he's outlined policy options for lawmakers through work at the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Charles is married to his college sweetheart, Linda (Burns), a public health nutritionist for New York State. The couple lived initially in Steuben County, where Linda has deep roots and her grandfather ran a dairy farm. In 1990, after the birth of their daughter, Katie, the family moved to its current home in Geneva.

"I've devoted my career to fighting for working families. With your help, I'll take that fight to Congress. My neighbors and yours have been overlooked for too long by Washington politicians. It's time for that to change. I ask for your support, and look forward to working with you." — Charles


Charles Whalen On The Issues


Advancing Our Common Interests

Charles Whalen is on a career-long mission: to improve the lives of working families in New York’s 23rd Congressional District and across the nation. He believes it’s time to say "Enough!" to the agendas of deep-pocketed special interests — and instead craft a practical agenda to advance our common interests.

A stronger economy is at the heart of that agenda. We want good jobs so we can provide for ourselves and our families. We want abundant opportunities for our children. And we want a safe and secure retirement. Those interests unite us. They also show us the way to build stronger communities and a stronger America.

A stronger economy rests on four pillars:

  • Ensuring our children have access to world-class education and training;
  • Promoting opportunity for everyone able to work, which includes reaching out to young people and others who dream of starting their own business;
  • Supporting working people by doing all we can to foster business success and job security, good wages and benefits, and safe working conditions — including protecting workers' organizing and bargaining rights; and
  • Enabling retirees, and those unable to work, to live with dignity and security. 

Advancing our common interests also means:

  • Ensuring we all have affordable, high-quality health care at every stage of life;
  • Creating prosperity by leading the way with environmentally sustainable technologies and businesses;
  • Protecting national security and growing jobs by keeping vital manufacturing here at home and ensuring that trade deals are in America's interest; and
  • Supporting the region’s farm families and agricultural industries.

Charles looks forward to shaping a detailed plan of action with help from residents of the 23rd district — and he invites participation regardless of party affiliation. In fact, Charles is a member of "No Labels," a group committed to putting aside partisanship for the sake of practical action. "That’s the way I’ve always tackled problems, and that's what we need in Washington," says Charles.


Preserving Our Environment

America's interests and our leadership position in the world require us to be a pacesetter on environmental protection and sustainability.

For a long time, we didn't worry about the planet's resource limits. We were blessed with extraordinary abundance all around. Now we know better. Our resources are finite and must be treated with care.

Today, we're not only rapidly using limited resources, we're also finding that our use comes with major health and environmental costs. The ecosystem can withstand some strain, but at some point the supports give way — and there are no second chances.

The Earth absorbs half of the carbon dioxide humans produce each year. People argue over the consequences of the rest. But there's no denying the buildup can't go on forever. The human race is behind the wheel of a car that's turned on and locked in a garage — and it's not just idling; we've got our foot on the gas pedal. That's unsustainable.

Americans are innovative — and as a nation we can use our talents to do great things. It's time to restore America's global leadership by showing the way forward on conservation, emissions control, renewables, and the sustainable technologies of the future.


Protecting The Second Amendment and Preventing Gun Violence

At the start of public service with the Congressional Budget Office, Charles took the same oath of office as members of Congress — an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. As a member of Congress, he will protect our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

At the same time, the trend of mass shootings in America is also a constitutional issue — threatening our domestic tranquility, the general welfare, and our ability to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our familes. We must work together as one community, with the Constitution as our guide, to address this alarming trend and other preventable types of gun violence.


New York's 23rd Congressional District

Counties in NY 23:

  • Allegany
  • Cattaraugus
  • Chautauqua
  • Chemung
  • Schuyler
  • Seneca
  • Steuben
  • Tompkins
  • Yates
  • parts of Ontario and Tioga

Towns and Cities Include:

  • Amity
  • Bath
  • Caneadea
  • Chautauqua
  • Corning
  • Dunkirk
  • Elmira
  • Geneva


  • Hector
  • Hornell
  • Ithaca
  • Jamestown
  • Olean
  • Penn Yann
  • Salamanca
  • Wellsville
NY 23 highlighted

A full map of congressional districts is available at GovTrack.us