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Candidate profile: Karrin Taylor Robson, Republican candidate for Arizona Governor

12News talked to Taylor Robson about her views on a number of issues including education, inflation, abortion, the border and elections.

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. — In early July, Republican gubernatorial candidate Karrin Taylor Robson took the stage in a room full of constituents at Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek just weeks before the Arizona primary.

“We don’t normally do political events here at the farm. We felt so strongly that we wanted to be able to give people the opportunity to meet Karrin to hear what she has to say," said Mark Schnepf.

Taylor Robson is looked at as the establishment GOP candidate in a contentious battle against Trump-backed candidate Kari Lake. 

Taylor Robson has been endorsed by many including former Vice President Mike Pence, Gov. Doug Ducey, the National Border Patrol Council, the National Troopers Coalition, former congressman and GOP gubernatorial candidate Matt Salmon, and former Arizona governors Jan Brewer and Fife Symington.

Taylor Robson has run an expensive campaign, putting more of her own money into her primary campaign than any other candidate for governor in Arizona's history. According to a campaign finance report through the first half of July, she alone has spent $15.2 million on trying to become Arizona's next governor. Her competitor accuses her of trying to buy the election.

RELATED: Who's who in Arizona's 2022 governor race

Amongst the crowd in Queen Creek were some of Taylor Robson's family members including some of her four children, her grandchild, her husband, and her father, Carl Kunasek.

“I am beyond words proud. I’m tearing up already," Kunasek said. “You dream of things like this happening. And it feels like a dream to me."

Taylor Robson grew up in Mesa working at her father's drug store where she said she learned what it takes to build a business.

It may have also been where she planted the seed for her political future. She grew up in a Republican family.

Her father, Carl Kunasek, was a state Senate president who presided at the impeachment trial of a fellow Republican, then-Gov. Evan Mecham, in 1988. Mecham was ousted from office; five months later, Kunasek was booted out of his job by Republican primary voters sympathetic to Mecham.

Taylor Robson's brother, Andy Kunasek, served as a Maricopa County supervisor for 20 years.

“I think she will do an excellent job as a governor in Arizona," Kunasek said.

At her Queen Creek event, Taylor Robson recounted her resume. She earned her law degree at ASU and went on to work for President Reagan. She later returned home to Arizona and started a law firm. She then launched a career in real estate development. She has also served on the Arizona Board of Regents.

“I have 30 years of experience in the private sector working on issues that matter to Arizonans from tax policy, to transportation, to water to education, I will bring all of that experience to the table," Taylor Robson said.

Taylor Robson is married to billionaire home builder Ed Robson, founder of Robson Communities.

Taylor Robson's top legislative priority:

She says her top legislative priority is the border.

“The very first thing I will do after I take the oath of office is call a special session, an emergency session of our legislature so that we can find the resources necessary to send down to our local law enforcement along the border who are truly on the front lines of what is now a 50 state border war," Taylor Robson said.

On education and teachers:

The conservative candidate says she has a plan to address Arizona's education crisis when it comes to growing classroom sizes and teachers leaving for higher-paying jobs.

"We are going to rethink education in Arizona. We have a moment of opportunity where we're going to put the parents in charge of our kids' education. Parents should be in charge. They're best positioned to choose which educational pathway is appropriate for their kids. We're going to have our taxpayer dollars going to go into the classroom with the kids," Taylor Robson said.

“We continue to put money into our school system. It gets laundered through the bureaucracy and pennies on the dollar make it into the pockets of our teachers. And if we paid our teachers like we wanted to keep them, we wouldn't have teachers leaving the profession and leaving the state.”

On rising cost of living:

12 News asked Taylor Robson what her plan is to address the rapid rising cost of living in Arizona from housing costs to increasing rent.

"Arizonans are suffering from the disastrous Biden Harris administration and the disastrous policies of this president. And just today, we read 12% inflation in Arizona," Taylor Robson said. 

"That is seen at the gas pump and housing costs at the grocery store. So what a governor can do is make sure that our environment, our business environment, and our economic environment are as robust as it can to try and blunt the blow of the disastrous inflationary policies of Joe Biden."

On abortion:

Taylor Robson is a pro-life candidate. 12News asked if she supports law enforcement having the authority to monitor communications related to abortion services and whether she believes mailing the abortion pill to Arizona should be restricted. Here is how she responded.

"What I can tell you is I'm pro-life. I always have been. I have a long record of supporting crisis pregnancy centers. And I will tell you that when I'm governor, we will continue to be one of the most pro-life states in the nation," Taylor Robson said.

"We also are going to take care of women. Abortion is evidence we have failed women. We are going to care for the woman that walks into that abortion clinic as much as we care for her unborn baby. Women need to know that they have non-violent choices and non-violent alternatives. And when I'm Governor, I plan to do something similar to what they did in Texas where they appropriated $100 million for the Texas Alternatives to Abortion Act. That is a step that we will take to make sure that we're taking care of women."

On safe and secure elections:

Taylor Robson's top contender in the contentious primary, Lake, has stated Taylor Robson can't win unless the election is "stolen" and Lake appears poised to challenge the primary results if that happens. 12 News asked Taylor Robson about those statements.

"Kari Lake has come out and said she won't accept the results. She has come out and said that if she loses or if I win, it will be because of election fraud. That, unfortunately, undermines our election system," Taylor Robson said. 

"I think it's pathetic. It's a pathetic attempt by her to basically cause chaos."

On not receiving Trump's endorsement:

Despite being a strong supporter of former President Trump, Taylor Robson did not get his endorsement. Lake did.

A voter in Queen Creek asked Taylor Robson why she believes she didn't earn Trump's backing.

She replied that the only endorsement that matters to her is that of voters.

“I'm the candidate that can win in November. But more importantly, I'm the candidate, as the CEO of the state, who can lead this state on day one," Taylor Robson said.

RELATED: Maricopa County officials have a plan to ensure security during upcoming elections. Here's what you need to know

Decision 2022

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