Curtis Robinson’s name has been on a ballot every Kanawha County election since 1992, excluding the one year he didn’t run because he was in the hospital for open heart surgery.
Despite never being elected to any office (including several attempts for the House of Delegates and the Board of Education,) Robinson is running again for the county school board, and if he’s not elected in next month’s primary, he’ll just try again, he said.
“I’ve been on every single ballot. They call me a perennial candidate. But I always heard quitters never win and winners never quit. I’m not a quitter, so one day I’ll win,” said Robinson, 47, of Campbells Creek. “I’ll be back next time around and eventually people will realize I’m dedicated to this.”
Robinson, who works as the gatekeeper at Laidley Field and also as a glass technician, is mostly concerned about the school board’s “waste” of finances, and is pushing for budget reform.
“We have to get the waste under control. I think we can cut budgets here and there, and the things that we don’t need, just do away with them and refund that money where it’s needed,” Robinson said. “I don’t know what needs put on the chopping block yet but some of these teachers have to buy stuff on their own to help students and I don’t think that’s right. I just want to cut taxes, put more money in the classrooms and give teachers more to work with to educate.”
“We just all need to sit down and figure out what schools need — what to keep them operating in the 21st century instead of having to build new schools,” he said.
Robinson’s also concerned about the Common Core standards being implemented in West Virginia classrooms and across the country.
“That Common Core stuff they want to put in effect, it’s hard on us parents to teach them that because what we was taught was different, and when they bring it home, we’re lost,” he said.
Robinson grew up in Kanawha County Schools and also put several children of his own through the system. He has six children ranging in age from 17 months to 23-years-old, plus three grandchildren.
He calls himself a community activist, having formerly served as the president of the Quick Community Center, and has volunteered for several campaigns including former President Bill Clinton’s and Sen. Joe Manchin’s , D-W.Va.
Robinson said above all else, he cares about his community — that’s why he keeps trying.
“When I didn’t make it through the primary, I was there to help others get in the general. I was still out in the community listening,” he said. “I’m dedicated to my party and my family and I want a better education for my kids. I think me being on the board could bring a new perspective.”
Reach Mackenzie Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 304-348-4814.