Ed Robinson can’t point to the specific event that made him decide to run for office. Over the past few years, he has been watching the way that government has been operating and has got a sense that the people are being shut out of the process. “I don’t get the sense today that our elected officials are listening,” Robinson said.
Robinson credits his family with instilling in him a strong sense of the need to perform public service. He volunteers in patient services at Capital Hospice and officiates high school football games, but he said he wanted to be able to do more for the community. “As you get older, you are always looking at different ways you can have an impact,” Robinson said. “I believe, at this point, we need more people such as myself who don’t have an agenda to become a politician.”
Robinson grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa., and is the product, he said, of public, private and parochial schools. He has lived in the 35th District for eight years.
Robinson said that he doesn’t have a specific political agenda. “I don’t come at this from any sort of angle or ideology,” he said. “People see that I’m someone who is just trying to make a difference.”
He added that he thinks the state’s tax code needs to be adjusted. “I believe our whole tax system and its relationship to our localities is out of date,” he said. “I don’t believe that we question enough the way things have been done.”
According to Robinson, the different taxing authorities given to cities and counties needs to be reviewed, along with the car tax, which his Web site [www.robinson2005.com] says he wants to end.
ROBINSON POINTS to his experience working as an aide to former U.S. Sen. John Heinz (R-Pa.) as an experience that will give him insight into the way the different levels of government are interrelated.
The federal government, he said, is dropping the number of programs it will fund and pushing those items to the states. These, in turn get pushed onto localities. “The counties are, quite often, left holding the bag,” Robinson said. He said that he will be able to see the “bigger picture” in the state legislature.
On many issues, Robinson said that he was not yet ready to take a position, but his views are generally in line with those of his party. One notable exception is his opposition to the death penalty. He places this in the context of “life” as a larger issue. “I believe that conception is life,” he said, noting his opposition to abortion, “as such it is to be protected.”
Robinson acknowledges that Virginia has a “special relationship” with gun owners. He finds it hypocritical that the legislators who are pro-gun want to ban guns from the state capitol.
He would support a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman, but he would not go much further. For example, he would not support legislation which would deny gay couples the chance to visit their partners in the hospital. “I do believe in the Commonwealth, at this time, some of the measures and proposals are more mean-spirited and anti-gay,” he said.
In terms of transportation, Robinson said that he does not have all the answers. “I’m not coming at this with all of those silver bullet proposals,” he said.
In an interview, Robinson said that he does not have many specific proposals, but his Web site notes several issues where he has concerns. According to the Web site, he has “serious reservations about the current plan to extend rail to Dulles.” The Web site elaborates that the rail line will use too much transportation funding and has already an increase on the Dulles Toll Road.
It further states that Robinson supports HOT lanes, widening current roads and tax incentives to encourage tele-commuting.
The issues have been studied so often, Robinson said, that the solutions are already out there. “I’m more concerned about solving the problems than who’s going to get credit for it.”
Robinson is facing Jim Hyland and Arthur Purves in the Republican primary on June 14. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, as of Dec. 31, Robinson had raised $55,800 while his challengers had yet to file a report.
His top donor gave $20,000 and the next two gave $10,000, according to the report. Robinson said one of the donors was an old mentor and the other two were college roommates.
The next reporting deadline is April 15, and Robinson says he will have raised over $115,000.
As of Dec. 31, the incumbent, Del. Steve Shannon, (D-35) had raised $113,327. Shannon does not face a primary challenge.