Ms.Robinson is running on the idea that the 7th District needs a “fresh new start”, stating that while Councilperson McQuinn brought positives to her time as a representative, it is time to move forward. Identifying the larger issues of the 7th District as the schools, economic development, and overall community issues, Robinson has ideas on what can be done to “make our neighborhoods better”.
A college graduate with a BFA in Fashion Merchandising from VCU, Robinson moved into education as career. She has worked at several city schools (including Armstrong) and in Hanover County. In speaking to Ms.Robinson, it comes across clearly that her experience working in the schools and the parallel experience of raising a boy as a single parent have shaped her understanding of the East End community and its needs.
Robinson also cites the influence of a family history in the area, with a grandfather who worked as a butcher on 17th street and later lived on 28th Street. She recalls a connected community “where people lived together and had a sense of value”. Robinson says that “what I want for the community” is for everyone to get along, go to the same schools, and not be fearful.
Recalling walking to Cool Lane to go bowling as a young person, she calls for family oriented development in the East End and lists bowling, ice-skating, or a theater in Shockoe Bottom as examples. She calls herself “pro-development and pro-redevelopment”, but comes out quickly against the Echo Harbor development when asked. Calling the view from Libby Hill beautiful and historic, she questions why we would ask tourists to visit and then seek to destroy the ammenities that would attract them.
Describing the importance of getting young families to move to Church Hill, Robinson ackowledges that, for a myriad of reasons, many young families choose not to be a part of the district schools (Robinson herself sent her son out of district schools). She calls for the need to offer more technical training and education to students and goes on to recognize the success of Franklin Military Academy in presenting a viable option for students and parents.
She describes crime as “a neighborhood responsibility”, and focusses both on the need to take steps to offer today’s youth better educational and economic options and to give the adults in the area a chance to make better opportunities for themselves. Robinson says that there are pockets of people in the community “stuck in their own comfort zone”, and that we need programs to go into these pockets to help folks get jobs and skill training. She describes concrete objectives such as helping adults get driver’s licenses and helping teenagers get transportation to viable employment as being able to help offer hope and change. In the same vein she describes the need for resources to help the elderly keep their homes and to keep their homes maintained.
In what is shaping up as a referendum on the local legacy and political interconnectedness of Delores McQuinn, Henry Marsh, and their allied candidate Cynthia Newbille, Robin D. Robinson walks a fine line of casting herself as the the viable independent candidate without too stridently denying the influence and impact of Senator Marsh. When asked directly about the notion that there is a replacement candidate already chosen by the powers-that-be, Robinson smiles and replies in metaphor that while she has great respect for the cultivator and what has been grown, that is “time for a new garden”.
Robinson speaks highly of Council Representatives Ellen Robertson and Reva Trammel, saying that, “You hear good things about them from people in their communities” and cites the quality of their constituent services. She ackwnowledges Robertson’s tax abatement proposal as good legislation and a need for some kind of stimulus to fight blighted property.