8th District race: Immigration, taxes key points for Robinson

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 15, 2011

By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — Congressional candidate Vernon Robinson says he’s willing to “cast the tough votes” in Washington to help turn the country around.
Robinson, a former Winston-Salem city councilman, is seeking the Republican nomination to run against U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell, a Democrat, for his seat in the U.S. House.
Robinson said Kissell, and even the Republican leaders in Congress, supported bad deals with President Barack Obama regarding the debt ceiling and spending cuts. He said he is willing to compromise on certain issues, but not those that matter most.
“I’m entirely comfortable with doing what’s right for the Constitution and, if necessary, serving one term,” Robinson said. “The Republicans have been criticized for not compromising enough. I would argue that on issues like the fundamental character of the country, they have compromised too much.”
Conservative legislators who stand their ground, Robinson said, are likely to upset interest groups and party leaders.
Immigration has long been an important issue for Robinson, who previously ran high-profile campaigns in the 5th and 13th districts.
He said he supports securing the country’s southern border, making English its official language and keeping both illegal immigrants and foreign nationals from receiving public benefits.
Robinson also wants to repeal Obama’s new health care reform law and oppose an increase in the estate tax, which he says hurts family farms.
“We have to shrink the size and scope of the federal government in order to get it out of the way of the private sector, which is the engine that creates jobs,” Robinson said.
Robinson served on the Winston-Salem City Council for eight years, and he says he has a clear track record that matches his rhetoric.
“I was an implacable foe of using public money for subsidizing private businesses, in terms of loans or grants, under the rubric of economic development,” Robinson said. “I never voted for a tax increase and never will vote for a tax increase.”
Five other announced candidates will join Robinson in the Republican primary — Dan Barry, mayor pro tem of Weddington; Richard Hudson, a Concord business consultant; former Iredell County Commissioner Scott Keadle; N.C. Rep. Fred Steen, who represents the 76th District in the state House, and John Whitley, a Fairmont neurosurgeon.