Greenbrier Sheriff candidate Mark Robinson hopes to bring ‘justice and reasonable thinking’ to the office

By Matthew Young, RealWV

Mark Robinson is not the typical candidate to be Greenbrier County’s next Sheriff. 

“Mine is kind of a different story,” Robinson told RealWV on Wednesday. “I’ve been arrested and put in jail four times. I served more than a year in jail – all of it over in Virginia.”

His legal trouble, Robinson says, began seven years ago with the dissolution of his marriage. Since then, court battles and protective orders have severed all contact between Robinson and his seven children, four of whom are now over the age of 18. 

“I never hurt anybody or threatened anybody,” Robinson said. “I used to be a preacher. I was a chaplain at the boy’s home in Covington (V.A.). I had F.B.I. clearance to work with children of all ages by myself. No (criminal) record whatsoever, and a good reputation.”

“All that’s lost,” Robinson added. “Everybody just assumes there’s some truth to the charges. I’ve just been really rolled by the system, and I want to tell people my story.”

With Greenbrier’s County’s current Sheriff Bruce Sloan term-limited, Robinson is one of three Republican candidates hoping to succeed him. The 2024 election cycle marks the third time Robinson has sought public office. 

Robinson first ran for Greenbrier County Sheriff in 2018. And although he was incarcerated on Election Day, Robinson still received some 24% of the vote. In 2020, he was again incarcerated, and therefore unable to pursue elected office. Two years later, Robinson collected nearly nine-percent of the Republican Primary vote in an effort to unseat former Delegate Mike Honaker for nomination to the West Virginia House of Delegates. 

“I’m running now for sheriff,” Robinson explained. “I don’t really have any money to put into it, and I don’t have a law enforcement background. The other two candidates do, and they’re well known in the county. But I print up flyers that I pass out, and just tell my story and see what comes from it.”

“I’ve done a lot with the legislature over the years,” Robinson added. “I’ve talked with a legislator who was a sheriff, and he told me, ‘You’ll be fine. You don’t really do all the law enforcement stuff when you’re the sheriff.’ He said, ‘Really, you just need to be able to work with people, and you’ll be good.’ The actual hands-on stuff is done by all the deputies.”

Since filing his candidacy, Robinson said, and despite stating that he has had no contact, his former spouse has filed paperwork with the Commonwealth of Virginia seeking another court hearing, a situation which becomes more complex due to the involvement of two states. 

“You’re not ever going to fix anything without communication,” Robinson explained. “What a protective order does is just shuts down all communication, and I think that’s ridiculous. And because there’s two states involved, they kind of bounce off of each other and have been able to ratchet up the pressure.”

“I think I’m good with people and I respect people,” Robinson continued. “I think I could be the kind of sheriff who could certainly catch things like my situation. If something like this came across my desk, I would say, ‘Woah, wait a minute. Let’s look into this a little bit.’”

“I don’t think law enforcement needs to be a rubber stamp for situations that are not just, and are out of hand,” Robinson added. “You’re there to treat people well and do what’s best for people, and you don’t just rubber stamp things.”

In the race to be Greenbrier County’s next sheriff, Robinson knows his campaign is a long shot.

“But if I do win, everybody’s there, and they would keep doing what they’ve been doing,” Robinson said. “I would try to do a quick-learn, and try to bring some justice and some reasonable thinking to the office. I’d be low profile – not a heavy-hand or an authoritarian – but keep order in the community.”

“Certainly you’re dealing with people who do bad things, and life doesn’t go well for them when they do,” Robinson added. “But I want to be a presence in the community who gets along with people. And when you see a sheriff’s car, your heart rate is not increasing.”

To learn more about Mark Robinson’s campaign for Greenbrier County Sheriff, he can be reached at palearrow58@gmail.com. Robinson will also be appearing at The RealWV’s Candidate Debate at the Lewis Theatre in Lewisburg, at 6 p.m. April 11.

With no Democratic or Independent candidates challenging for the Office of Sheriff, the winner of the Republican Primary will be the presumptive winner of November’s General Election. Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 14. Voters must be registered independent or with a particular party to vote in that party’s primary.

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