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Mark Robinson, North Carolina antigay governor hopeful, condemned public spending while benefiting from it

North Carolina governor candidate Mark Robinson speaking at Faith and Freedom Road to Majority event Washington DC
Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post via Getty Images

He has denounced government assistance programs as a “plantation of welfare and victimhood” while his family's company has made money from administering one.

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Mark Robinson, the virulently anti-LGBTQ+ Republican running for North Carolina governor, has often denounced government assistance programs — but it turns out his family’s company has benefited from one.

“Over the past decade, Robinson’s household has relied on income from Balanced Nutrition Inc., a nonprofit founded by his wife, Yolanda Hill, that administered a free lunch program for North Carolina children,” the Associated Press reports. The organization’s revenue comes entirely from taxpayer funds, amounting to $7 million since 2017, according to the AP. Salaries for Robinson, Hill, and other family members have totaled at least $830,000.

Robinson and Hill’s family had struggled financially for many years before starting the company. They endured bankruptcies and a home foreclosure, and were charged with misdemeanors for writing bad checks, although the charges were eventually dropped. The income provided by Balanced Nutrition made it possible for Robinson to quit his manufacturing job and enter politics. He was elected North Carolina’s lieutenant governor in 2020, the first Black person to hold that position. Now he is seeking to become the state’s first Black governor.

He has frequently condemned public aid to the poor, at one point calling it a “plantation of welfare and victimhood” that has made Black people dependent on government and kept them in poverty.

He has directed just as much ire at LGBTQ+ people. “There’s no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality, any of that filth,” Robinson said in an appearance at a North Carolina church in 2021. He has said transgender women should be arrested for using women’s restrooms and should instead relieve themselves on street corners. He has claimed former First Lady Michelle Obama is secretly trans.

He also is deeply opposed to abortion rights, having said that if a woman is pregnant, “it’s not her body anymore,” even though Hill had an abortion during the early part of their relationship. He has made anti-Semitic comments and advised people to read quotes from Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. He has been endorsed by Donald Trump, who calls him “Martin Luther King on steroids.”

Now Balanced Nutrition “has become a political liability,” the AP reports. State regulators are investigating it “after flagging years of financial irregularities, including over $100,000 in unaccounted spending,” the news service notes. The investigation was launched in March, and Hill shut down the organization in April.

She has called the probe “some type of vendetta, be it personal or political.” Michael Lonergan, a spokesman for Robinson’s campaign, told the AP that “Democrats are weaponizing bureaucracy against the family of their political opponents.”

Robinson is also under investigation for alleged misuse of campaign funds in 2020.

He is facing Democrat Josh Stein, currently North Carolina's attorney general, in the November election. The present governor, Democrat Roy Cooper, is term-limited.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.