Graphic by Desiree Tapia
Graphic by Desiree Tapia

Robinson’s family believes the 44-year-old leader died from coronavirus complications. 

DETROIT (AP) — First-term Michigan State Rep. Isaac Robinson died Sunday, according to this mother, who said she suspects her son’s death could be related to the coronavirus. He was 44.

Former Rep. Rose Mary C. Robinson said her son died hours after being transported to the hospital for breathing problems and the family suspected he suffered from COVID-19, but he had not been tested for the virus that causes the disease. A cause of death was not immediately released.

Isaac Robinson, a Democrat from Detroit who did not attend the last House session March 17, was transported by ambulance early Sunday morning to the Detroit Medical Center hospital, said his mother, who also was a former Democratic representative from Detroit.

“I called EMS, they took him to Receiving at 6 a.m. and he was dead by 11,” Rose Mary Robinson told Crain’s Detroit, adding that her son had breathing difficulty in recent days, but resisted seeking medical attention.

“He wouldn’t go to the hospital. I kept insisting the last three days,” she said. “I kept saying, ‘You should go to the doctor, go to the hospital.’ Of course, he resisted.”

Robinson’s death comes days after state Rep. Tyrone Carter of Detroit tested positive for COVID-19.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Isaac Robinson was a lawyer who was elected in 2018 to represent the 4th District in the Michigan House of Representatives, succeeding his mother in office.

Before working in private law practice, Robinson was a political director for a local Teamsters union.

He never married and had no children, according to his mother.

“It is with extreme sadness that I share the passing of Rep. Isaac Robinson who was a passionate advocate for his community and constituents,” House Democratic Leader Christine Greig said in a release. “Our entire Democratic Caucus is devastated by the loss of our colleague and send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Robinson “had a huge heart, a quick wit, and a genuine passion for the people.” She expressed sadness about his death.

“He was a fierce advocate for Detroiters and people across Southeast Michigan,” Whitmer said in a statement. “He dedicated his career to ensuring justice and security for those he served, and the impact he had on his community will continue to be felt for years to come.”

“It was an honor to serve the people of Michigan alongside him. My deepest condolences go out his family and loved ones, and to the people of Detroit and Hamtramck who elected him as their voice in the House.”

Robinson’s Views A Champion For Working Families, Disabled Residents

Committed to protecting the rights of workers, Robinson held several positions with the labor movement between 1998 and 2010.

He organized health care workers with the Service Employees Union, served as a law clerk for the UAW Legal Department, and coordinated the Michigan Teamsters Joint 43 political program for seven years.

In 2010, Robinson began seven years of legislative and constituent services work as an aide in the U.S House of Representatives (2010-2013), Michigan House (2014) and the Detroit City Council (2015-2017).

His advocacy with people with disabilities was recognized by the University of Michigan Council for Disability Concerns in 2008. Robinson received the ARC Detroit Public Servant of the Year in 2010. In 2015, Robinson spearheaded the effort to re-establish the Detroit City Council Disability Taskforce.

Robinson was also passionate about fighting blight and improving the quality of life in Detroit’s neighborhoods. As an aide to the Detroit City Council, Attorney Robinson built successful neighborhood partnerships to fight blight, board up houses, and clean up alleys. Robinson spearheaded grassroots foreclosure prevention efforts, too.

Robinson championed lowering auto rates for working families, making environmental justice a top priority, and fighting for economic and social justice for all people including people with disabilities.