By Erika Brock
INDIANAPOLIS – Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, made his first visit Wednesday to the Senate chamber since returning from Afghanistan where he’d been deployed for the past six months.
Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, visited the Senate chamber on the last day of the session after returning from his deployment in Afghanistan. Photo by Erika Brock.
Banks gave up his seat temporarily – and Democratic officials assigned it to his wife – to go to the Middle East.
“I would like to thank all of you the members of the Indiana Senate,” Jim Banks said. “You have no idea what it meant to me to hear from each of you while I was gone.”
Banks had been reelected in November but deployed with the Navy Reserves before the session started. That’s when Banks’ wife, Amanda Banks, stepped forward to take over.
In adherence with state law, a caucus of Republican precinct committee officials voted to elect Amanda Banks to temporarily represent her husband.
“I am proud of Amanda,” her husband said. “She represents tens of thousands of spouses of military families.”
Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, visited the Senate chamber on the last day of the session after returning from his deployment in Afghanistan. Photo by Alec Gray.
Banks was away from his family for eight months. Banks said letters and messages he received from fellow senators helped him get through the toughest days.
Banks is still on active duty until Tuesday. He does not know when he will return to the Senate, but he said he is excited for the 2016 legislative session and getting back involved.
Erika Brock is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.