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Opelika city councilman to resign following ALS diagnosis

Opelika City Councilman, Dr. Robert Lofton, Ward 3, has announced his resignation following a...
Opelika City Councilman, Dr. Robert Lofton, Ward 3, has announced his resignation following a diagnosis of ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.(Source: Opelika City Council website)
Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 4:48 PM CDT
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OPELIKA, Ala. (WSFA) - An Opelika city councilman has announced his resignation after a recent medical diagnosis left him convinced that he’s “no longer able to perform the duties that I feel responsible for and that the citizens of Opelika deserve.”

Dr. Robert Lofton won his seat representing Opelika’s Ward 3 just a year ago, but ALS, more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, has taken its toll. Lofton will step down from his seat effective Nov. 2.

“I want to thank my fellow council members, Mayor Gary Fuller, all city employees and the administration for their hard work,” Lofton explained. “It has been a joy to work with them all. I ask for your prayers as I navigate this new journey in life.”

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

“We are eternally grateful to Dr. Lofton for his leadership and service to our community,” said Mayor Fuller. “He has represented Ward 3 with great honor and a proven love for Opelika. I know this decision was difficult for Dr. Lofton and his family. We ask the community to pray for Dr. Lofton as he fights his battle with ALS.”

Council President Eddie Smith asked the community to respect the councilman’s privacy and noted that he’s not able to take visits or phone calls at this time.

“He has navigated his diagnosis with grace and humility and can step away knowing he served the people of Ward 3 honorably,” Smith said.

A special election will be held to fill Lofton’s vacated seat on Jan. 11, 2022.

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