Rep. Melanie Meier, D-Leavenworth, has received orders to report for active duty on Feb. 22 at Fort Hood, Texas. She will complete pre-deployment training then leave for a tour of duty in Iraq. Meier has served in the Army Reserves for 19 years, earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

"The work we are doing in Iraq is important," said Meier.  "I am honored to be a part of the military's effort to help the Iraqi people defeat extremism, defend their nation and fully exercise their sovereignty."

In 2008, she was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives, replacing retiring legislator Candy Ruff, D-Leavenworth.  To ensure the people of District 40 continue to receive exceptional representation, Meier will temporarily resign her duties as a state lawmaker.  Ruff has agreed to fill the post for the duration of Meier's deployment and will relinquish the position upon Meier's return in January 2010.

"Leavenworth is a military community," said Ruff.  "We all understand that when military duty calls, everything else must temporarily move to the backburner.  I am happy to return to the Legislature on Melanie's behalf as she serves our country and state in another capacity.  Together we'll make sure the people of District 40 continue to have a strong voice in the Kansas House of Representatives."

Meier will become part of the 304th Sustainment Brigade that is to assume several important functions from its Headquarters at Balad Air Base. As the Brigade Inspector General (IG), Meier will lead a team of field grade officers and senior non-commissioned officers as they help soldiers solve problems that cannot be handled through normal channels.  She will also investigate possible systemic issues. Meier's deployment will last approximately one year.

"Melanie has demonstrated unwavering dedication to public service throughout her career," said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence.  "We will miss her in the House while she is away, but look forward to her return to the Legislature for the 2010 session.  We will be praying for her safety and keeping her family in our thoughts and prayers throughout her deployment."

Meier represents the 40th House District, which covers portions of Leavenworth, Lansing, Fort Leavenworth, all of northern Leavenworth County and part of Walnut township in Atchison County. She serves on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, the Veterans, Military Affairs & Homeland Security Committee, and the Vision 2020 Committee. Meier and her husband, Tom, reside in Leavenworth.  

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