Brandon Lofton, a newly elected representative of the North Carolina General Assembly, chose to be sworn into office in Ketner Auditorium at Queens University of Charlotte on January 7.
Queens is within North Carolina House District 104, which Lofton will now represent in Raleigh. Lofton participated in a student-run candidate forum at Ketner in October.
The auditorium was nearly at capacity as friends, supporters and family came to support and congratulate their new legislator. Lofton, 39, arrived 15 minutes early with his wife, Kellie, and their two sons. He walked through the room, smiling and shaking hands with supporters.
The ceremony began with prayers led by a friend and Lofton’s father-in-law. They spoke of Lofton’s dedication and passion, as well as his goals going forward.
After taking the oath on a Bible, Lofton thanked many supporters in the audience individually, starting with his wife, Kellie, and their boys.
“I met Kellie my freshman year in UNC in Chapel Hill and we have been inseparable since then,” he said. “She is my best friend, my greatest supporter and the work she did during this campaign is remarkable.”
Lofton also addressed to his family members, saying he was raised to seek ways to help the community. He recognized colleagues in his law firm, Robinson Bradshaw, for their trust and support.
“People told me there is no way I am going to win in South Charlotte, where Democrats get only 20% (of the) votes,” Lofton said.
Lofton recalled an emotional moment during his campaign. While going door to door in a neighborhood, he heard that people there were voting for him at the urging of an elderly neighbor who had just died. A resident pointed to a window of the deceased woman’s home. A Lofton campaign sign was visible through it.
“I was standing there, sad, and didn’t know what to say, because she has done an incredible job to help me win, but I could not even thank her,” he said.
While the ceremony was a time to celebrate, Lofton said he is eager to get to work. His agenda includes improving pay and working conditions for teachers, making health care accessible for more people, lowering taxes and protecting democratic institutions. None of this will be easy, Lofton admitted, but he is ready to fight for his district.
“We are willing to face the hard work, fight for changes and hopefully send a message to those in power,” he said.
Asked why he chose Queens, Lofton said he has a lot of affection for the university. He noted that it is in the heart of Charlotte and that he took part in a candidate forum on campus. He said he also has friends who teach there.
He said he is extremely concerned about young people being able to get a good education.
“I am determined to keep college affordable and to protect the student community of Charlotte,” said Lofton. “I love this city, I care about its residents and I want it to be a good place to live.”