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Remembering Michigan State Representative Who Died Of COVID-19

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We are remembering some of the lives lost to COVID-19 this morning. More than 230,000 Americans have died. And as we mark the election this week, we're focusing on those who are dedicated to voting, to politics and the election process.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Like Isaac Robinson. Friends remember him as a state representative in Michigan.

TYRONE CARTER: He was authentic, but more importantly, he was passionate about service.

INSKEEP: His friend and colleague in the Michigan state legislature, Tyrone Carter, remembers him as a go-getter.

CARTER: I know he's looking down, saying, what the heck? Let me back in the game. Let me back in the game, God.

MARTIN: Robinson came from a politically engaged Detroit family. His mother also served in the Michigan House of Representatives. He won his state seat just two years ago.

CARTER: I tell you, there is surely a missing seat at the table because he's not here.

INSKEEP: Back in August, on what would have been Robinson's birthday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in his honor. She said he had a huge heart, a quick wit and a genuine passion for the people, which is something that stood out to Tyrone Carter as well.

CARTER: He had this way of making people feel special. And I think that's really what's missing today is that love, that, oh, man. You know, I'm sitting up here thinking about the world. I mean, the world needs some love today.

MARTIN: Isaac Robinson also loved Motown, and he used that music to bring together folks on opposite sides of the political aisle. Once while in office, he brought Martha Reeves and the Vandellas to the capital to perform.

INSKEEP: He also had a passion for uniting people in a common cause.

CARTER: There was no place that Isaac couldn't go that he wasn't comfortable, and that's because his soul touched people.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STAND BY ME")

MARTHA REEVES: (Singing) Stand by me.

CARTER: He was Detroit.

INSKEEP: Michigan State Representative Isaac Robinson died in March at 44.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STAND BY ME")

REEVES: (Singing) Like the ocean needs the rain, through your fortune and fame. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.