State senator sworn in via Skype, submits leave of absence

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WANE) The state senator who’s currently deployed in Afghanistan took his oath of office via Skype Tuesday, which was the first time in Indiana history an oath has been administered that way.

Senator Jim Banks first announced back in July that he would be deployed and would need to take a leave of absence. In order to take a leave, he needed to take his oath of office first.

Although Senator Jim Banks is deployed thousands of miles away, an American flag and a yellow ribbon at his seat symbolize how close he is in his colleagues’ thoughts.

Senator Banks of Columbia City has submitted a leave of absence to Senate President Pro Tem David Long.

During the first week of December, a caucus of Republican precinct committeemen will select a temporary replacement for Banks during his leave of absence.

However, before that can take place, he took his oath of office from Afghanistan via Skype, officially becoming the State Senator representing District 17 for the next four years.

“Really good to see him and see that he’s safe and sound and proud of his service to the U.S. Navy and to our country but also just proud of him for continuing to serve the people of northeast Indiana as well. It was a great moment,” said Senator Long.

In July, Senator Banks had mentioned his wife, Amanda, was considering serving as his interim replacement.

At this point, Senator Long said she is the only candidate.

Jim Banks has served in the U.S. Navy Reserve since 2012.

He’s been serving as a supply corps officer since September.

Banks was prepared to step down. However, Indiana law states that he doesn’t have to. In fact, Senator Banks is the first state lawmaker to use this law that allows for an extended leave of absence due to military service.

Senator Banks is expected to return in May 2015.

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