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Sarasota County Commission Chair Christine Robinson focuses on economic development as Priority No. 1.
Sarasota Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012 5 years ago

IN THE PUBLIC EYE: Christine Robinson

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Age: 36
Hometown: North Tonawanda, N.Y.
Family: Married with three children
Education: Bachelors degree in criminology and criminal justice from Niagara University, law degree from University of Miami
Occupation: County commissioner chair and attorney

More than a year after former Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Christine Robinson to the Sarasota County Commission, she’s busier than ever meeting with community groups and running commission meetings as the board’s chair.

Robinson told the Sarasota Observer in December 2011 she didn’t plan to be in an office much and the chair of the commission is now busier than ever meeting people and attending numerous events and new business openings as the chair position dictates.

She vowed to meet county staff firsthand “to see how things got done” and that’s exactly what she’s done, working to study the inner workings of county government

The 36-year-old attorney and her husband, Eric, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota County, did quite a bit of studying before they made Sarasota County their home.

The two had just gotten married in Miami, where she worked in the state attorney’s office handling child-support enforcement cases. It was 2001, and the couple wanted to find somewhere within the state they thought was a better place to raise children.

They analyzed a statistical book that ranked all of Florida’s counties in terms of median income, crime, etc.
The Robinsons zeroed in on Sarasota County. But before they arrived they began attending Sarasota 2050 meetings, which plan and shape growth for the next four decades.

“We were interested in finding out about the community before we moved here,” she said.

After moving to Venice, Robinson joined the state attorney’s office in Sarasota. She quit in 2004, however, to stay home with her newborn son — the first of three children.

Four months later, she began her own private practice, collecting clients such as the Republican Party of Sarasota County, Rep. Vern Buchanan and Gov.-elect Rick Scott.

As her own political career takes off, Robinson continues to focus on one main goal — economic development.

“It’s the burning issue right now,” she said.

Targeting county government’s own inefficiencies is another goal.

An example Robinson cites as a good move was the purchase of iPads for each commissioner on which thousands of pages of documents for each County Commission meeting are now placed.

No longer will each commissioner and administrator get a massive book filled with the meeting’s paperwork.

Twelve thousand pages of paper were saved at just one meeting last December.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].

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