Former Congressman Tommy Robinson dies at 82

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 395 views 

Tommy Robinson (center) at White House Press conference when he switched parties. Photo courtesy of CSPAN.

Former U.S. Rep. Tommy Robinson has died at the age of 82, according to our content partner, KARK News. The St. Francis County coroner confirmed Robinson died around 7 p.m on Wednesday (July 10) at a hospital in Forrest City. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Robinson had a high-profile political career in Arkansas politics in the 1980’s. He was first elected Pulaski County sheriff in 1980 and was instantly controversial with his headline-grabbing antics, which ranged from handcuffing prisoners to a fence to highlight jail overcrowding to encouraging armed deputies with shotguns hidden at convenience stores to discourage a rash of robberies.

A colorful political figure, Robinson rode his notoriety from county sheriff to U.S. Congress in 1984 as a Democrat representing Central Arkansas in the Second Congressional District. He served three terms and often voted with Republican Ronald Reagan’s administration on many issues, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

In his third term in Congress, Robinson switched political parties and became a Republican. In 1990, he ran for the GOP nomination for Arkansas governor losing to Sheffield Nelson in the primary.

No longer in elected office, Robinson returned to Brinkley and ran a farm and other business interests. He did make another run for Congress in 2002, but was unsuccessful, losing to U.S. Rep. Marion Berry. During Gov. Mike Huckabee’s administration, Robinson served on several boards.

Talk Business & Politics will update this story as more information becomes available.