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In surprise announcement, State Rep. Oliver Robinson to retire

Photo courtesy of Oliver Robinson Facebook page

By Barnett Wright

The Birmingham Times

Photo courtesy of Oliver Robinson Facebook page
Photo courtesy of Oliver Robinson’s Facebook page

State Rep. Oliver Robinson announced Wednesday that he will retire from the Alabama House of Representatives.

The Birmingham Democrat served District 58 for the past 18 years.

In a one page press release, Robinson said he wanted to step aside to allow his daughter to become the Governor Robert Bentley’s liaison to the House of Representatives.

“She is the first female as well as the first African-American female to hold this position in Alabama’s history,” Robinson wrote. “With the responsibilities to ascertain all votes on the floor, we can easily see in this highly-ethical and conflict-of-interest environment where I could cause her problems in her job.”

Robinson, 56, added, “this is why I’m retiring now to give my child every opportunity to succeed.”

Bentley will call a special election to fill the seat.

The lawmaker said he wanted to wait until after the Nov. 8 elections to announce his retirement which included a vote on Amendment 14, which validated hundreds of local laws.

He also cited as accomplishments legislation that changed the Mayor Council Act. That Act gave Birmingham Mayor William Bell authority over some budget matters held by the City Council.

He sponsored another bill, which divided many in the city, that allows Bell to appoint two members of the Birmingham Water Works Board. The council previously made all of the appointments.

As for his future, Robinson said in his statement, “My retirement is permanent and I plan to focus on the children where I once lived, Gate City and Harris Homes.”

Robinson ran unopposed for re-election in 2014, and first won election to the House in 1998. He is vice chair of the Jefferson County Legislative Delegation and a former chair of the House Government Operations Committee and served on the House Education Policy, Financial Services, Military and Veterans Affairs and Rules committees.

Robinson is a former University of Alabama at Birmingham basketball standout and who had a stint with the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association.