FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – An Indiana state senator in the U.S. Navy Reserve expects to be deployed to Afghanistan in the fall for eight months.
State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) will be taking a leave of absence during the deployment. A caucus of Republican precinct committeemen will select a temporary replacement for Banks during his leave of absence and he will re-assume his seat upon his return.
Banks has served in the U.S. Navy Reserve since 2012. Starting September 5, he’ll serve as Supply Corps Officer, most likely helping in the process of removing troops from Afghanistan.
“That was a commission that I’ve been pursuing for several years, even many years prior to being elected to the Senate in 2010,” said Senator Banks.
Senator Banks said he was preparing to resign.
However, according to Indiana law, he doesn’t have to. The law allows a caucus of committee chairs to select a temporary replacement for Banks in the state senate while he is deployed.
Senator Banks hopes that his wife, Amanda will fill the temporary role.
“Amanda would be a great choice. She’s very bright. She’s politically astute. I’ve know her longer than I’ve known Senator Banks and I’m a big fan of hers. So, if that’s the choice the family makes and the precinct people decide to support that, the senate would be just fine with that,” said Senate President Pro Tem David Long.
The goal is to have whoever is selected, sworn in by November 18th.
Banks is running unopposed for re-election in Indiana’s 17th district. However, he’ll miss the 2015 legislative session.
Once he’s officially re-elected, he plans to take his oath of office from Afghanistan via skype under a process approved by the Indiana Supreme Court.
His projected return date is May 2015.