July 14, 2024

Gaston County lawmaker now known for Jan. 6 protest. What about before that?

The News & Observer | by Paxton Guion | November 8, 2021

Donnie Loftis made national headlines about as early as possible after landing a seat in the North Carolina General Assembly. Democrats walked out of the House chamber before he was sworn in.

The planned protest followed the revelation that Loftis, a former Gaston County commissioner, had been part of the protest in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6 that became a deadly insurrection.

Until then Loftis was known as a Gaston County Republican with a conservative track record and a recent penchant for getting in hot water over his political positions.

“People are focusing on the whole Jan. 6 thing. He’s definitely somebody that’s much more than that, someone who’s been around our party and our community longer than that,” said Jonathan Fletcher, chairman of the Gaston County GOP.

Twice before he was sworn into the North Carolina House of Representatives, Loftis sought the same seat representing the state’s 109th District.

Both times he lost the Republican primary. The third attempt was the charm when Gaston County Republican Party members appointed him to finish the term of powerful state Rep. Dana Bumgardner, who died Oct. 2.

Before that, Loftis was in and out of local public office since 2000, scattering clues as to who he is outside the recent controversy.

Taxes, veterans, social issues

The newly seated representative is considered to be a steady Republican hand on the local party’s top issues, said Fletcher, who has known Loftis and his family for more than 15 years. During his time on the Gaston County commission, Loftis pushed to keep taxes low and boost funding for police and veterans in Gaston County. Back in 2003, Loftis persuaded county officials to add another employee to help the county’s overburdened Veterans Services office, according to The Charlotte Observer.

Read more at: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article255621511.html#storylink=cpy

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