“I am running because we have so many needs in Western North Carolina and no representation in the state Senate,” said the 68-year-old Sylva Democrat. “I am running to represent everyone rather that just a few.”
Robinson’s remarks were aimed at incumbent Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin. Robinson accuses the current state senator from the 50th District — which includes Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain, Clay, Cherokee and Graham counties — of representing “Art Pope and the rich people in the state.”
Pope is Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget director and is the founder and primary donor to several conservative political organizations in North Carolina.
Robinson graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. He spent his career as a management consultant, with his own firm called Land of Sky Advisory Group.
He is married and has five children. Over the last decade he has lived in Sylva, Franklin and Asheville, but his grandfather was born and raised in Jackson County, where is now settled.
Robinson ran for school board in Jackson County last year but lost. He was an active volunteer with the 2012 campaign of Cecil Bothwell, a liberal Asheville Democrat who made a failed run for U.S. Congress but still serves on Asheville City Council.
He says his primary objective is to “bring prosperity back to the mountain through economic development.”
His plan has three focus areas:
• Improve and invest in education so that North Carolina has top-performing schools.
• Improve health care for the state’s citizens by expanding Medicaid eligibility, which would mostly be funded by the federal government and would increase the number of state citizens eligible for the health care benefits.
• Take advantage of improved schools and expanded healthcare benefits to attract good-paying jobs.
“By declining to expand Medicaid, we have our tax money going to other states,” Robinson said. McCrory chose not to expand Medicaid eligibility last summer, a move that would have made approximately 377,000 additional state residents eligible for the government healthcare program for low-income individuals and families.
Robinson also took aim at the tax overhaul approved by state GOP leaders. The plan lowered income tax rates for individuals, families and corporations while increasing the number of transactions subject to sales taxes.
“The tax plan passed by the GOP is hurting small businesses. They have to charge sales tax on more items and that will hurt them,” said Robinson.