INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indiana State Senator is stepping down temporarily to serve in the Navy in Afghanistan. Republican Jim Banks of Columbia City will miss the 2015 General Assembly and wants his wife to take over for him in the Senate.
Banks is a Republican and an officer in the Navy Reserve who missed the last week of the 2014 legislative session to take part in training.
Now he is leaving for 8 months of active duty in Afghanistan.
“I was prepared to resign from the Senate when learning about my deployment,” he said.
But Senate Leader David Long informed him of a 1971 law that permits a leave of absence for active duty.
“We didn’t think it was right that a member of the legislature or anyone else would have to give up their job,” said Long. “They don’t have to do that in civilian life.”
But somebody needs to take over in the Senate and Banks says he encouraged his wife Amanda to be the one.
“I can’t imagine that anybody in my district could better step into the Senate position,” he said, “and represent our district as well as she could.”
“I know she’s very bright,” said Sen. Oong. “She has a great political history.”
GOP precinct committeemen in the Senate district will have to vote on a Banks replacement.
Here’s what Sen. Banks wants them to consider, “Amanda and I and our three daughters are learning firsthand about the sacrifice that so many thousands of families have made before us and gaining a new appreciation for those who have served.”
Officer Banks reports for duty in September.
Senator Banks is up for re-election in November but has no opponent. Even so, Banks must stay in office until after the election.
Plans call for him to take a new oath of office by Skype from Afghanistan, a move approved by the state Supreme Court, before he takes his leave of absence.