State Sen. Jim Banks announced Tuesday plans to take a leave of absence from the state’s General Assembly to deploy to Afghanistan in his role as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
Banks’ deployment will last almost eight months, beginning Sept. 5, and will cause him to miss the 2015 legislative session.
Banks, a Columbia City Republican, recently completed training as a supply corps officer.
“Like any member of the armed forces, I knew the day could come when I would be called upon to serve my country overseas,” Banks said. “While it will be very difficult being away from my family for so long, it’s an honor to have the opportunity to join our brave men and women in Afghanistan – just as it’s an honor to serve alongside my fellow legislators in the General Assembly.”
Banks will serve as supply corps officer.
Banks will remain on the November ballot for reelection to the Senate. If reelected, Banks will be sworn into office on Nov. 5 via Skype – a move that’s been approved by two Indiana Supreme Court justices.
Banks said he then plans to request a leave and a caucus of Republican precinct committee members residing in Indiana Senate District 17 will select a temporary replacement.
Banks said he hopes the caucus chooses his wife, Amanda Banks, to fulfill the role during his deployment.
Although she has not given him a final answer on if she wants to run for the position, he expects an announcement from her soon.
“I can’t imagine that anybody in my district could better step into the Senate position and represent our district as will as she could,” Banks said. “She’s imminently qualified.”
Banks said he was prepared to resign from the Senate after learning of his deployment until he found out about a state law allowing him to take a temporary leave of absence.