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Tommy F. Robinson

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Tommy F. Robinson

Tommy F. Robinson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 1985 – January 3, 1991
Preceded by Ed Bethune
Succeeded by Ray Thornton
Sheriff of Pulaski County, Arkansas
In office
1981–1984
Preceded by Ken Best
Succeeded by Carroll Gravett
Personal details
Born (1942-03-07) March 7, 1942
Little Rock
Pulaski County, Arkansas, USA
Political party Democratic (before 1989)
Republican (1989–present)
Residence Brinkley, Arkansas
Alma mater University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Occupation Law enforcement officer, Political Consultant, Small Businessman

Tommy Franklin Robinson (born March 7, 1942) is a politician from the state of Arkansas.

Contents

  • Early life 1
  • Law enforcement career 2
  • Political career 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life

Robinson was born in Little Rock and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He served in the United States Navy from 1959 to 1963.[1]

Law enforcement career

Robinson had a career in law enforcement, rising to the position of sheriff of Pulaski County. He previously served as a North Little Rock city patrolman, Arkansas state trooper, director of campus police at the University of Arkansas, and the police chief in Jacksonville, Arkansas. In 1979, he was appointed by Governor Bill Clinton as director of the short-lived Department of Public Safety, which was abolished in 1981 by Clinton's successor, Republican Frank D. White. Robinson was elected sheriff of Pulaski County in 1980, having defeated the incumbent Ken Best in the Democratic primary. He was re-elected in 1982.

Robinson's tenure was one of non-stop controversies. In early 1981, in order to relieve jail overcrowding he ordered a group of state prisoners being held at the Pulaski County Jail to be taken to the state prison at

Political career

Robinson was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1984 as a Democrat. He led a five-man field in the Democratic primary that included Secretary of State Paul Riviere, State Senator Stanley Russ of Conway, investment banker and former Senate aide Thedford Collins, and former U.S. Representative Dale Alford. He bested Riviere in the runoff, and defeated Judy Petty, a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives and a former aide to the late Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller, and Independent Jim Taylor, a liberal Democrat horrified by the more conservative Robinson. Petty ran as a Ronald W. Reagan Republican but lost to Robinson even though Reagan won her district. In the three-way race, Robinson polled 46 percent of the vote to Petty's 42 percent, while the underfinanced Taylor took 12 percent. Robinson financed his race on almost $900,000 in unsecured bank loans, making his the most expensive congressional race in state history up to that time.

While in Congress, Robinson was often at odds with the Democratic leadership of Tip O'Neill and Jim Wright, and identified closely with the "Boll Weevil" faction. On July 28, 1989, Robinson left the Democratic Party and joined the GOP, claiming that the Democratic Party had become too liberal. He ran for governor of Arkansas in 1990 but lost in the primary election to businessman Sheffield Nelson, who in turn was defeated by Bill Clinton. Robinson's House seat was assumed in 1991 by the Democrat Ray Thornton, a former congressman and a former Arkansas Attorney General. Thornton defeated the Republican candidate, Jim Keet, then a freshman state representative from Little Rock. In 2010, Keet was the unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial nominee against Mike Beebe.

In 1992, during the House banking scandal, Robinson, then an ex-representative, was found to have bounced 996 checks from the U.S. House bank, some of which were more than 16 months overdue.[2][3]

Robinson ran again for the U.S. House in 2002 in a district in the northeastern part of the state, but lost to the since retired Democratic incumbent, Marion Berry. Out of Congress, Robinson farmed an over 2,000 acre cotton, milo, and soybean farm near Brinkley. In 2010, after years of financial difficulties, a group of creditors obtained a forced bankruptcy against Ag-Pro Farms II, and Robinson lost ownership of the farm to satisfy some $6.5 million in debts.

During the administration of Republican Governor Mike Huckabee, Robinson served on the Pollution Control and Ecology Commission, and later served almost five years as Chairman of the Pardon and Parole Board.

Today, Robinson is the principal in a political consulting and lobbying firm called The Robinson Group, LLC. Along with local and state candidates, the firm has also had foreign clients as well, most notably the late Yasser Arafat. His partners are attorney Larry Wallace, a former law partner of one-time rival Sheffield Nelson, and lobbyist Rickey Hicks.

He and his family have also owned a liquor store in Brinkley for several years.

References

  1. ^ "ROBINSON, Tommy Franklin – Biographical Information". bioguide.congress.gov. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "The 22 Worst".  
  3. ^ Country Boy' Fights Overdraft Ranking"'".  

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ed Bethune
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Arkansas's 2nd congressional district

January 3, 1985–January 3, 1991
Succeeded by
Ray Thornton
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