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‘I will miss his wise counsel’: Opelika officials on councilman’s resignation

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 9:43 PM EDT
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OPELIKA, AL. (WTVM) - An Opelika City Councilman is resigning after being diagnosed with a debilitating disease. We have reaction from the people in the community who know him best.

After serving as the councilman for Ward 3 for just over a year, Dr. Robert Lofton is resigning, effective November 2. Dr. Lofton represents Northern Opelika and the downtown historic district.

“A big loss for the community in general because he is such a wise man has had great counseling great thought process,” said Opelika City Council President Eddie Smith.

City officials said Dr. Lofton tendered his letter of resignation after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, a nervous system disease that weakens muscles and physical function.

“I am so sorry to see him have to resign but his, his illness is such that he just cannot continue,” said Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller.

Prior to his resignation, Mayor Fuller and Smith said Dr. Lofton was a great man everyone could depend on.

“He brought a degree of wisdom, calmness to our council meetings, very smart man that was very humble,” said Smith.

With Dr. Lofton’s council seat open, Opelika city council will hold a special election for the position Jan. 11 of next year. The deadline for candidates to apply is Nov. 23. To qualify, a candidate must live in the third ward & be a resident of that ward at least 30 days before the election and they must be registered to vote. If there is a runoff, it will be held in March.

“I have been contacted by three different people already about interest in the position,” said Smith.

In the meantime, while Dr. Lofton is unable to see visitors or take calls, his family is asking for privacy.

Dr. Lofton also served as a member of the Opelika City Council Planning Commission and that seat will also be filled soon. For more information about Opelika’s special election, click here.

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