About Charlie Collins
As a life-long conservative, US Navy veteran, Fortune 500 company leader, small business owner and committed family man, Charlie Collins brought a broad range of life experience to office in Little Rock. Running on the promise to help turn Arkansas into a Good Jobs Magnet, voters in 2010 and 2012 elected Charlie to the State House. Charlie is grounded in conservative principles like this — A firm belief that free enterprise, not big government, creates good jobs, economic growth, and prosperity for all. Charlie is strongly pro-life and a life member of the NRA. Charlie was one of just four elected officials in the 2012 election cycle in the entire state to earn an A+ rating from the NRA for his work expanding concealed carry rights. In the Arkansas State House, representing eastern Fayetteville, Springdale, Greenland, West Fork, and eastern Washington County, Charlie acted on his conservative principles, leading the fight to slow the growth of government, cut taxes, stop Obamacare, and increase personal freedom. In the last legislative session, Charlie served as chair of the Revenue and Taxation Committee. He wrote and passed the first cut in Arkansas income tax rates in history. He was also involved in supporting several other tax cuts including Capital Gains tax reduction, business input cost tax reductions and a triggered tax cut to reduce the sales tax on groceries.
Charlie was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in Livonia, a nearby suburb. After high school graduation in 1981, he left Michigan to attend the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, Maryland. Shaking President Ronald Reagan’s hand at graduation in 1985 is still one of his fondest memories.
During the 12 months after his USNA graduation, Charlie was commissioned a Naval Intelligence officer, married Leeann (his wife of nearly 30 years), completed his Masters degree in quantitative economics from George Washington University, and attended Naval Intelligence school at Lowry AFB, CO. As the top graduate in his class at Naval Intelligence School, he was able to select service aboard the aircraft carrier USS America CV-66. After completing a 2 ½ year tour aboard ship, Charlie was assigned as a Soviet military capabilities instructor at the Navy & Marine Corps Intelligence Center and gave training presentations all over the world.
After completing five years of active Navy service, Charlie joined Procter & Gamble at their Cincinnati, OH headquarters and moved up the management ranks. He continued serving as an active Navy reservist as well, earning eventual promotion to Lieutenant Commander. Charlie was transferred to the Procter & Gamble Wal-Mart Global Customer Team in Fayetteville, AR in 1996 with Leeann and their four toddlers. Jordan was three and the triplets, Andrew, Jamie and Austin, were not yet two.
Charlie and Leeann quickly realized that Northwest Arkansas was the place where they wanted to settle down and raise their family. Charlie resigned from the Navy Reserve and was honorably discharged after 12 years combined service so he would have more weekends at home with his young children. At Procter & Gamble, he was promoted to Associate Director, responsible for the $750+ million Wal-Mart Beauty Care sales team. After 13 years at Procter & Gamble, Charlie was recruited by Eastman Kodak to be Vice-President and Wal-Mart sales team leader. After two and half years with Kodak, Heinz recruited him as Vice-President managing their half-billion dollar US Wal-Mart business.
While corporate America was challenging and exciting, Charlie was lured away by an opportunity to be the co-owner of a small entrepreneurial business. He and his partner have run Crown Partners Executive Search together for the past eight years, helping to match executive talent to business needs in Northwest Arkansas and across the country.
Charlie has been active in the community as well. He is a member of the First Christian Church in Fayetteville and has served in a variety of roles, including Elder, Trustee, and Sunday school teacher, and a two year term as Chairman of the Board. He has served as the President of his neighborhood Property Owners Association and was active as a Boy Scout parent (his two sons earned Eagle Scout rank). Charlie is a member of the Arkansas Chapter of the US Naval Academy Alumni Association, the American Legion, and a Life Member of the National Rifle Association.
Charlie was appointed by the Governor to the Selective Service Appeals Board for the western district of Arkansas and has served as Chairman for five years. He has also served on the Third Congressional District, USNA Nomination Interview Committee. Charlie has been active in the Republican Party as a member of the Washington County Republican Committee for over a dozen years.
Running against a two-term Democrat who had already seen off two spirited Republican challenges was daunting, especially in light of the fact that no entrenched incumbent in the entire state had been defeated in 18 years. But Charlie worked hard; walking many miles, knocking on doors, placing signs, and taking every opportunity to spread his positive message to the voters that Arkansas could become a Good Jobs Magnet, if government would facilitate, rather than hinder business growth by a combination of tax reform, educational improvement, and promoting the quality of life in Arkansas.
People responded to Charlie’s conservative message, and in January 2011 he began his first term in the State House. He quickly showed that the voters’ trust had not been misplaced. He took seats on the Taxation and Revenue Committee and the Agricultural Committee. On Tax and Revenue he quickly became a key player, shaping first the revolt against increased spending on the House floor and then the negotiations with the Governor and Senate that led to much larger tax cuts and greater restraint in the growth of government spending than in the first proposed budget. His proposal to allow concealed carry of firearms by trained and licensed faculty and staff at Arkansas colleges and universities attracted considerable attention, but failed, at least this time, to clear the Democrat dominated Education Committee, in a tied vote.
And those toddlers he and Leeann moved to Arkansas with? Charlie’s four children attended Fayetteville High School and Jordan, Andrew and Austin are now enrolled in the University of Arkansas while Jamie is a Midshipman at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Believing every child should have the opportunities his kids have had, Charlie sponsored a bill to make available tax credits for corporations providing scholarships to private schools for the poorest Arkansan kids, currently trapped in failing schools. This bill has resulted in an interim study of the issue to further develop the mechanism and build consensus to give these children the chance for a decent education that they deserve. He sponsored the bill that established the Arkansas Statewide Energy Consortium between the University of Arkansas Fayetteville and Little Rock campuses, and Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. The Electrical Energy Advancement Program administered by this group is aimed at fostering the recruitment of world-class researchers in electrical engineering to educate the next generation of engineers. Arkansas is already a leader in electrical engineering research and this Consortium is a needed enabling mechanism to build on that lead and attract or build companies with the kind of high skill, high pay jobs Arkansas needs. This bill passed into law with the Governor’s signature.
On the Agricultural Committee Charlie made his presence felt in a way that nobody, himself included, would have predicted. The incumbent he defeated in 2010 is a part-time farrier, who shoes and trims horse feet. Surprisingly, the shoeing of horses by anybody other than a veterinarian was illegal under Arkansas law. Other animal care services such as filing down or ‘floating’ horse teeth seemed to fall in similar trouble. A wide ranging bill to legalize all such services ran in considerable opposition from Arkansas veterinarians and went down to defeat earlier in the session. Working with a wide group of horse owners, veterinarians, and his former opponent, Charlie crafted a compromise solution, legalizing some services and establishing a study to find consensus on what aspects of the more controversial services must be performed by veterinarians and which might require less extensive training and regulation. He guided this surprisingly contentious bill through the House and Senate, becoming to his shock, much more conversant with the details of horse teeth than he had expected when starting to run for office. He has promised to never, ever again, look a gift horse in the mouth.
In the last days of the legislative session, Charlie found himself opposing the Congressional redistricting plan which carves Fayetteville out of the Third District and attaches it to the Fourth. The State House district Charlie represented would have literally been split in half by this plan. Cited in newspaper articles for his compelling and articulate opposition speech on the House floor, Charlie also worked hard off the floor explaining to colleagues why he felt this was bad for both the Third District and the Fourth District.
In 2012, redistricting meant that much of his new district was unfamiliar with Charlie. His opponent was a multi-term Fayetteville Alderman and the race was the most expensive in Arkansas House history, with heavy spending by outside groups for his opponent. However, Charlie won convincingly, in the most Democratic district to be won by a Republican in the House, cinching control of House by Republicans for the first time since Reconstruction.
Serving as the Chair of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, Charlie fought hard for tax reduction. In the closely divided chamber, Charlie helped to forge a comprehensive tax reduction package, including the first reduction in income tax rates in Arkansas history. This package reduces Arkansas taxes by over $200 million per year.
Charlie Collins has established a record of effective, conservative leadership to add to his record of service to our country and business success. Charlie Collins is the conservative, articulate, energetic leader that Arkansas needs to become a Good Jobs Magnet and move toward a better quality of life for all Arkansans.
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