J. Kenneth Robinson

Last updated
J. Kenneth Robinson
J Kenneth Robinson 98th Congressional Portrait.jpg
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Virginia's 7th district
In office
January 3, 1971 January 3, 1985
Preceded by John O. Marsh Jr.
Succeeded by D. French Slaughter Jr.
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 21st district
In office
January 12, 1966 January 3, 1971
Preceded by Curry Carter
Succeeded by William A. Truban
Personal details
James Kenneth Robinson

(1916-05-14)May 14, 1916
Winchester, Virginia, U.S.
DiedApril 8, 1990(1990-04-08) (aged 73)
Winchester, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)Kathryn M. Rankin
Alma mater Virginia Tech (B.S.)
Occupationbusinessman, orchardist
Military service
AllegianceFlag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1941–1945
Rank Major
Battles/wars World War II

James Kenneth Robinson (May 14, 1916 April 8, 1990) was a State Senator and U.S. Representative from Virginia. [1]


Early life

Born in Winchester, Virginia, Robinson attended the city's public schools, including Handley High School. He graduated with a B.S. in horticulture from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Virginia in 1937. He served as infantryman in the United States Army from 1941 to 1945. He was discharged with the rank of major, and was active in the American Legion despite his Quaker faith.


Like the powerful Democratic Byrd family of Winchester, Robinson owned a fruit orchard and operated a fruit packing business, and had real estate and other business interests in the Winchester area. He was active in the Winchester Rotary Club, Izaak Walton League, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, Boy Scouts, Winchester-Frederick County Chamber of Commerce and the Winchester Elks Lodge. [2]

Political career

After redistricting following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Davis v. Mann as well as Virginia Governor Albertis Harrison's appointment of state Senator Harry F. Byrd Jr. to succeed his deceased father in the U.S. Senate, voters in Byrd's long-held state senatorial district encompassing Clarke, Frederick and Shenandoah Counties and the City of Winchester (previously numbered the 24th (with the new addition of Loudoun County now numbered the 21st) elected Robinson to the Virginia Senate in 1965. He was re-elected to a four-year term in 1967. [3] Robinson served as chairman of the Republican delegation to the 1968 and 1969 general assembly.

Robinson was elected as a Republican to the Ninety-second and to the six succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1971 January 3, 1985), representing a district that included the Byrds' hometown of Winchester. This district had long been moving away from its Democratic roots; the conservative Democrats in this area had begun splitting their tickets in national contests as early as the 1930s. In 1972, he became the first Republican to win a second term in this district since Reconstruction. During his tenure, he served as the ranking minority member on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

He did not seek re-election to the Ninety-ninth Congress due to ill health. He continued work in the fruit growing and packing business in Winchester, Virginia, until his death from pancreatic cancer on April 8, 1990. [4] [5]

Electoral history

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    • United States Congress. "J. Kenneth Robinson (id: R000337)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress .
  1. Clerk of the House of Delegates, The General Assembly of Virginia 1962-1981 (Richmond, 1983) at p. 228
  2. Clerk of the House of Delegates, The General Assembly of Virginia 1962-1981 (Richmond, 1983) at p. 92
  3. "Kenneth Robinson, 73, Former House Member". New York Times. New York, NY. April 11, 1990. p. 26.
  4. "FORMER VA. CONGRESSMAN KENNETH ROBINSON, 73, DIES". Washington Post. Washington, D.C.
Senate of Virginia
Preceded by
Curry Carter
Virginia Senator for the 21st District
Succeeded by
William Truban
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
John O. Marsh Jr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 7th congressional district

Succeeded by
D. French Slaughter Jr.