INDIANAPOLIS (WOWO): State Senator Jim Banks has announced he expects to be deployed to Afghanistan later this year as part of his service as a supply corps officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, although he is running for re-election in the state's 17th State Senate District this November. Banks' orders from the Navy call for him to report for active duty September 5th and deploy to Afghanistan this fall. He's projected to return in early May next year.
In a release sent by his office, Banks said,
“Like any member of the armed forces, I knew the day could come when I would be called upon to serve my country overseas…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. I’m thankful for the support I’ve received both inside and outside of the Statehouse, and I wish my colleagues the best in the upcoming legislative session.”
Senate President Pro Tem David Long joined Banks at a press conference Tuesday at the Indiana Statehouse to announce Banks’ deployment.
“Senator Banks is a true public servant, and the entire Senate family is proud of his commitment to serving our country as a naval officer…We will certainly miss Jim’s expertise and talent in the Senate while he’s away, but we wish him a safe and successful deployment and look forward to welcoming him back home when his service is completed.”
If he is re-elected, Banks says he intends to take his oath of office from Afghanistan via Skype under a process approved by the Indiana Supreme Court. A justice of the Court will give the oath. Banks would then submit a formal leave of absence for the period of his active duty with the Navy.
As required by Indiana law, a caucus of Republican precinct committeemen in Senate District 17 would pick a temporary replacement for Banks during his leave of absence. Banks would reassume his Senate seat upon his return.
State law does not require Banks to take a leave of absence during his deployment.