When U.S. Representative Marlin Stutzman announced his bid to succeed retiring U.S. Senator Dan Coats, Indiana conservatives did not have to look far to find their ideal candidate to replace him. They just needed o wait for him to return from Afghanistan. State Senator and Naval Reservist Jim Banks had been reelected to a second term in 2014, despite being deployed to Afghanistan in September. In his stead, his wife Amanda filled in ably.
Banks has been active in politics prior to serving in the Indiana State Senate. He was a staffer for former U.S. Representative John Hostettler and later worked in the policy department at Focus on the Family. He worked his way up the Indiana Republican Party, becoming Vice-Chair of the Third Congressional District Republican Party in 2009.
Banks won his first State Senate term in 2010. In his time in Indianapolis, he has become a true champion of freedom issues, particularly on right to work issues. He has co-sponsored bills forbidding employers from requiring employees to join a union. Banks also has focused on educational issues, particularly charter schools and the power of teacher unions. He has earned a 98 rating from Americans for Prosperity-Indiana, a 100 rating from the American Conservative Union, and an 83 rating on economic issues from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Banks is also a member of the influential American Legislative Exchange Council and was named a Top 10 Conservative under 40 by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2014.
Banks currently has two Republican opponents in his bid to succeed Stutzman as the representative of the northwest Indiana-based Third District. The district is rated 13 points more Republican than the national average, so the winner of the Republican primary will be a strong favorite to win the general election. Banks has already drawn an endorsement from the conservative site RedState. To learn more about Jim Banks, visit his website at www.jimbanks.us