In 1980, King County Executive John Spellman (far right) and Robinson Newspapers Publisher Jerry Robinson at Jerry's 60th birthday party. At left, a proclamation declaring April 5, 1980 Jerry Robinson Day.
Jerry's View: I coulda been a contenda!
In early April of 1980 some of my friends threw a 60th birthday party for me at Kingston Village. It was a thrill to see so many friendly faces. As a surprise my kids arranged to have King County Executive John Spellman come to the party. About mid point of the event John gave a nice speech about how important community newspapers were to the lives of the residents and presented me with a plaque honoring my service to White Center. He called it Jerry Robinson Day. John was a candidate for Governor to replace Dixie Lee Ray. He succeeded and thanked me personally "for not running for Governor" as he believed my popularity might have threatened his candidacy. I was flattered.
What he did not know was that I was a big fan of his and had no intention of seeking political office. Yes, I have opinions and I used them in my newspapers but living in Olympia would have been quite a commute for me because I loved living and working in White Center. It is where I got my start as a newspaper man. And it was a mile from house.
Now that I'm almost 93 I can look back on those years and say I am glad I did not run for governor. I had too much to do with 8 kids and the governor's mansion does not have enough room for them.
Oh, I know there are plenty of chairs in the Capitol building and a lot of the folks in them don't get much done it seems. I would have sent them home when I got there and hired my kids. Yes, it is favoritism but if you think that does not already happen, let me tell you...
After my kids were running the state, I would ask for a vacation because raising all that brood was tough. A guy needs a break. January to March would be about right. If needed, I could ask for an extension just in case I was playing golf and had a good round going.
By summer time things would be humming along. I could settle in. I love work. I can sit and watch it for hours. Once we resolved all the disputes, which you can guess rarely happens in Olympia, we would likely franchise our system. It is the American way!
I was already a granddad at 60 so the legacy of Robinson's in government would continue.
So much for day-dreaming. I guess I'll have to live with the accolades from John Spellman and go back to watching movies. I coulda been a contenda!