Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson announced his bid in the 2024 race for North Carolina governor April 22 in Alamance County. Robinson is the first Black lieutenant governor in North Carolina, serving since 2021, and hopes to be North Carolina’s first Black governor.
“I look out across this crowd, I see a cross section of Americans,” Robinson said. “I’m more proud right now in this moment in North Carolina than I’ve ever been.”
He is the second Republican to declare his gubernatorial bid in North Carolina, behind State Treasurer Dale Fowell. Robinson brought up issues of the economy and supporting working class families and protecting teachers. Robinson said he is running to represent average North Carolinians as he understands the struggles working class families face. Before Robinson spoke, some Republicans in the North Carolina state legislature shared their support for Robinson.
State Senator Danny Britt said he supports Robinson for his Christian values and who will listen to the Republicans in the state legislature, who hold the majority.
“We have had a governor who has not fought for the majority,” Britt said. “He has fought for the minority in this state. We have a governor who has locked this down in this state who has caused many businesses to lose their livelihoods. Mark Robinson would stand up and fight for those individuals. Mark Robinson would not serve as a dictator and king, he would serve as a leader for the majority in this state.”
Robinson announced his bid at ACE Speedway, a racetrack that was temporarily shut down in June 2020 for not following COVID-19 mass gatherings limitations. Jason Turner, the owner of ACE Speedway, spoke at the event as well to endorse Robinson. In 2020, Turner told Elon News Network that he felt the COVID-19 guidelines, put in place by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, was a violation of his first amendment rights.
“You have a lot in common, doesn't matter what you look like. You got two things in common. You've got your freedom, and you've got your right to vote,” Turner said. “I've witnessed firsthand what happens when one of those things is challenged. Mark Robinson will protect both of those things.”
Robinson, who has only been in office since 2019, is campaigning for governor not as a politician, but as someone representative of North Carolina.
“We don't need another politician who spent their life climbing the political ladder,” Robinson said. “We need a public servant, someone who's actually lived through the struggles of everyday North Carolinians. I know what it's like to grow up poor in a household mired by alcoholism, violence and uncertainty.”
Robinson said he is able to understand the struggles of North Carolinians after growing up in Greensboro as one of 10 kids. His father, the sole provider in his family at the time, died when Robinson was in fifth grade. After that, Robinson said his mother went to work as a custodian to support her family.
“I remember lying awake at night questioning how much of a man I was and how I was going to pay my bills and a million other questions,” Robinson said. “But I never forgot what my mother taught me and I never forgot how mightily she struggled.”
Because of his background, Robinson said he supports lowering taxes and doesn’t support the decisions politicians are making in Washington D.C., which he said is leading to higher prices overall.
“You are forced to make hard decisions on how you spend your money at home,” Robinson said. “This runaway spending by the liberal elite in Washington is creating devastating effects on the cost of living and it's everyday North Carolinians that are paying the price.”
Robinson supports the work of the Republican majority state legislature, crediting the work they have done with North Carolina earning the number one rank in top states to do business in a CNBC study. Robinson wants to continue this work by investing both in infrastructure and in the workforce.
Robinson said he plans to do this by supporting education. This includes investing in higher education, including community colleges, to help people looking to graduate quickly and without debt. Robinson said something he’s proud of that he’s already worked on is securing $12 million for apprenticeship programs in North Carolina.
“We have got to undo the narrative that the only way to success is through a four year university degree,” Robinson said. “We must open up the myriad of ways for success that our students have in front of them and that includes opening up our community college systems and our apprenticeship programs.”
Another aspect of supporting education for Robinson is investing in teachers. Robinson said teachers should not be expected to, on top of teaching, be counselors, parents and law enforcement.
“We need to give them that respect,” Robinson said. “That means treating them as professionals, protecting them as professionals and paying them as professionals and holding them to a professional standard.”
Another platform Robinson addressed was abortion. Robinson said while he is adamantly against abortion, his wife received an abortion decades ago — a decision both of them regret. Robinson said he now wishes to work to invest in things like the childcare, foster care system and the adoption system.
“We need to make sure that young mothers and young couples who are facing the hardest decision of their life know that they have resources available to help them through those trying times,” Robinson said.
Robinson said throughout his career, he has been called a bigot for expressing his beliefs and hopes North Carolinians can move beyond talking about issues on a political spectrum and realize that the issues he’s working to fix affect everyone.
“Make no mistake,” Robinson said. “Despite what you've heard here today, the media, the radical left will still try to destroy me. The road ahead of us is not just a challenge, one of historic proportions.”