STATEHOUSE (July 8, 2014) — State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) announced today that 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. Banks’ orders from the Navy call for him to report for active duty on Sept. 5 and deploy to Afghanistan sometime this fall. He is projected to return in early May 2015.
Banks has served in the Navy since 2012 and currently holds the rank of lieutenant junior grade.
“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. 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 (R-Fort Wayne) joined Banks at a press conference today 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,” Long said. “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.”
Banks is currently running for re-election in Indiana’s 17th State Senate District and will remain on the ballot in November.
Should he be re-elected, Banks intends to take his oath of office from Afghanistan via Skype under a process that has been approved by the Indiana Supreme Court. A justice of the Indiana Supreme Court will administer the oath. He 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 select 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; however he is choosing to do so if reelected so that the people of Senate District 17 are represented during his absence.