Karrin Taylor Robson, Republican candidate for Arizona governor and a former member of the Arizona Board of Regents, spoke about border security policies, Big Tech censorship and the inclusion of critical race theory curriculum in schools in a visit with ASU College Republicans Tuesday evening.
An ASU alumna, Robson received two bachelor's degrees, one in political science and another in history, as well as a juris doctorate. While at ASU, Robson was elected student body president with the Associated Students of ASU.
Robson served on ABOR, the authority organization reigning over Arizona's state universities. She was the chair of the board's Finance, Capital and Resources Committee. She is also the founder and president of Arizona Strategies, a Phoenix-based land-use strategy firm.
Robson spoke extensively about immigration, explaining her frustrations with the Biden administration's handling of immigration thus far and claiming immigration is the country's biggest challenge.
"They (the Biden administration) have completely let us down," Robson said. "The border is a swinging door."
BBC News reported the influx of immigrants at the southern border has increased by about double the amount since former President Donald Trump left office. Pew Research Center reported the number of migrant encounters at the southern border is at a 21-year high.
The Biden administration has been taking continuous heat from Republican voters, politicians and activists for its handling of immigration. Prominent Republicans have visited the border, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey included, to see the situation for themselves. Robson said she has been to the border and will be visiting again Friday.
"The human tragedy that is going on down there should be enough to wake everybody up," Robson said.
Students at the event reacted enthusiastically to Robson's visit.
Alyssa Kihoi, a senior studying criminology and criminal justice and board member of ASU College Republicans said, "(Robson) is a mother, she's an Arizona native and she's a successful businesswoman, she sticks out a little because of that background."
Olivia Szewczyk, a freshman studying finance, said Robson "seems to be very honest and seems to care about the state, especially since she has some experience there."
Shifting focus to freedom of speech, Robson explained the First Amendment is one of her core values and should be the nations. Robson suggested Big Tech is encroaching on the First Amendment and that the mainstream media and technology companies work together to silence conservative voices.
"When we start shutting people down, we are going to shut down the creation of knowledge and the human condition," Robson said.
Robson pointed to the Hunter Biden story of last fall as an example of Big Tech censorship.
Soon after the story was published, social media companies banned the story's ability to be shared by users.
Twitter claimed the story ban was due to potential hacked materials used to report and write the story. Twitter also locked the New York Post out of its account under the stipulation that it could use the account after the story was deleted from the publication's record. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, later said in a tweet the company made a "wrong" decision by de-platforming the story.
Robson also correlated freedom of speech with education. She talked about critical race theory, a legal theory about race and the way that it interacts with society on an institutional and legal level. Critical race theory has become a national talking point over the last two years during a summer of Black Lives Matter protests and with books such as "White Fragility" by Robin DiAngelo and "How to Be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi shooting to the top of multiple national bestseller lists.
Conservatives across the country have taken up arms with critical race theory calling for its removal from curriculum and school settings, though many schools across the country do not teach the theory.
"It's teaching us to hate each other and teaching us to hate our country," Robson said. "I do not think it should be allowed to be taught, period."
Student attendees asked Robson to clarify some of her talking points, but little was said about other candidates in the race.
"We are to create a more perfect union, but we are not perfect," Robson said. "I'm prepared to lead from day one."
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