City Council candidate profile: Lawrence Robinson

Photo courtesy of Lawrence Robinson
Photo courtesy of Lawrence Robinson

As a Phoenix native born in District 8, he got a good sense of the city early and as an emerging leader of Phoenix, Lawrence Robinson is looking forward to the future of the city he knows well and is running for the city council seat of District eight.

After being born and raised in District eight of Phoenix, Lawrence attended Claremont McKenna College in California, where he earned two degrees in religious studies and government. After his undergraduate studies, Lawrence attended New York University Law School where he received his Juris doctorate in constitutional law.

While in New York, Lawrence helped establish a public defense practice for families in family court. After living in New York and California, he returned to Phoenix. Upon his return, he began work as staff attorney for the Democratic Caucus of the Arizona House of Representatives. In 2011, Lawrence also worked as the community liaison for Mayor Greg Stanton’s campaign.

Joseph Larios, who met Lawrence while also working on Mayor Stanton’s campaign as a field director, appreciates the work ethic that Lawrence has. “I work hard, but Lawrence works really hard,” he said emphasizing his meaning.

In an effort to continue serving the under-served, Lawrence currently teaches first and second-year law students at the Phoenix School of Law.

It was the vision of a more vibrant Phoenix that brought him back to his hometown. “I’m the guy that has lived in L.A. and New York, but is from here. I want to make sure everyone has the resources and amenities to make it a more vibrant city,” he said.

Aside from working as a law professor, Lawrence is also a member on the Roosevelt School District Board. As a board member, he has drafted a resolution that bans Sheriff Joe Arpaio from performing sweeps within the Roosevelt School District.

Delivering on a key school board promise and  with local community support, Lawrence is drafting an anti-bullying policy that he hopes to pass at the local level and eventually the state level.

Lawrence has only been a member of the Roosevelt School District Board since 2012, but has been personally involved with the district since he was a child. His mother was a small-business owner and teacher in the Roosevelt School District and his father served on the administration for the first Mexican-American Governor of Arizona, Raul Castro.

Lawrence’s grandmother was the first African-American judge in Phoenix and one of the leaders in the effort to recognize Martin Luther King Day as an official holiday in Arizona.

In one of his early memories as a child, Lawrence remembers marching down Central Avenue and witnessing the Klu Klux Klan marching parallel. “It taught me as a child that, no matter what, you have to keep marching and standing up for what you believe in, he said. “You’ve got to march forth no matter what the circumstances.”

Lawrence credits his experience as a child with embedding in him a sense of leadership and ownership of the community, which has led him to join the race for councilman of District eight.

Sen. Katie Hobbs, AZ-D of district 24, has known Lawrence for four years. “Lawrence has a strong and compelling vision for the district he is running to represent, she said. “He is young, engaged, a great leader and truly represents the future of both the district and the city.”

The vision Lawrence Robinson has for the city is one that is based on an understanding of public policy and how to get things done creatively in a climate where progressive policies are moving forward.

“I want to create a city where people like me who are younger professionals are proud to live; where they can stay after graduating college; a city that is vibrant, accepting; an embracing place that is accepting of all ideas and all peoples; and to create an environment where the Googles, Intels, Apples, want to belong,” Robinson said.

Lawrence wants to beef up opportunities by bringing interesting jobs, training and more educational campuses to the core of the city in order to bring Phoenix to its full-potential as an emerging big city.

“We have to be a city that looks forward. It’s one thing to say what you’ve done, but it’s another to say what you’re going to do,” he said.

Lawrence hopes to bring his vision for Phoenix by thinking outside the box and providing a new generation of leadership.

“I believe people realize it’s not about having a seat at the table, but what you do with that seat,” he said.

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