By Jacob Rund

INDIANAPOLIS – Amanda Banks officially stepped into her husband’s Senate seat Tuesday, taking the oath from Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush as her husband serves in Afghanistan.

Jim Banks, who was reelected in November, will miss the 2015 session due to his service in the Navy Reserves.

In adherence with state law, a caucus of precinct committeemen voted on Dec. 4 to elect Amanda Banks to temporarily represent her husband’s district in his stead.

“It’s an exciting day,” Amanda Banks said. “I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to serve and represent the district.”

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R- Fort Wayne, called the swearing in – the first ever under a state law that allows lawmakers to take a leave of absence – a significant event.

“This is a historic moment in the sense that I don’t think we’ve seen in modern times, maybe ever, a situation… where we are seeing his (Jim Banks’) spouse step forward,” Long said. “I will say that Amanda has a great deal of experience and history in politics, knows the district well and I know she will do an outstanding job.”

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush, left, administeres the oath of office Tuesday to Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, who was unable to be at the Statehouse to be sworn in last month on Organization Day. Photo by Lesley Weidenbener,

Amanda Banks, who majored in public policy at Indiana University, spent several years before the birth of her children serving in the fields of both government policy and communications. Her past work experience includes stints as a federal policy analyst for Focus on the Family and as a communications manager for the Indiana-Ohio region of the American Red Cross.

“I think I have a lot to offer from my experience there,” Banks said. “I’m a full-time mom, I’m a military wife, and I think those perspectives will bring a fresh view to this Statehouse, to this body, and I look forward to offering that.”

Banks said Tuesday that her legislative style should line up closely to that of her husband’s.

“I think it’s going to be very similar. We share the same conservative values,” she said. “I can’t imagine there’s not anything we’ll disagree on, but it will be small if it is.”

Banks made it clear that both her husband’s deployment and her election to take his place in the senate were not anticipated circumstances.

“My husband’s deployment was a surprise,” Banks said. “Being here today and being sworn in as a state senator is also a surprise. I am grateful that I have this opportunity while Jim is serving our country, I can serve our state.”

“This is an interesting moment in time and in history,” Long said.

Sen. Mike Delph, R- Carmel, and Sen. Karen Tallian, D- Portage, were also sworn in to their senate positions Tuesday, after they were not able to attend to original swearing-in ceremony.

Jacob Rund is the assistant editor of, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.