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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, January 25, 2018 6:20 pm

Banks bought D.C.-area house

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

After spending much of last year sleeping on an air mattress in his office, freshman U.S. Rep. Jim Banks has been going home at night while in Washington, D.C.

Banks, R-3rd, said Thursday in an interview that his family bought a house last summer in Springfield, Virginia, 12 miles from the Capitol Building. They kept their home in Columbia City, he said.

"After eight months of being separated, we decided that what was best for our family was to have the family with me because I spend considerably more time there as a member of Congress than I do here" in northeast Indiana, Banks said during a Fort Wayne visit.

He and his wife, Amanda, have three young daughters.

Residency increasingly has been made an issue in Indiana congressional elections. Candidates with D.C.-area addresses – notably Richard Lugar in 2012, Evan Bayh in 2016 and Luke Messer in this year's Senate race – have been portrayed by their rivals as out of touch with Hoosier voters.

"I'm back and forth frequently and maintain our residence" in Columbia City, Banks said.

His predecessor, Republican Marlin Stutzman, also kept houses in Indiana and the Washington area when he was a member of the House.

Banks on Tuesday filed his candidacy for re-election in northeast Indiana's heavily Republican 3rd District. Fort Wayne residents John Roberson and Tommy Schrader have filed their candidacies for the Democratic nomination, and Fort Wayne residents David Roach and Courtney Tritch are announced Democratic candidates.

bfrancisco@jg.net