State senator called to duty in Georgia
As a delegate for eight years, J.B. Jennings didn't miss a single vote. As a new senator, he'll miss nearly his entire first legislative session.
That's because Jennings has been activated for a federal training mission in Georgia for the Air National Guard. It begins Wednesday and concludes April 30 -- weeks after the current 90-day session draws to a close.
Jennings, a Republican representing parts of Baltimore and Harford counties, said in a press release this morning that he'll return to Maryland for some voting sessions, at his own expense, but he acknowledged he'll miss some votes.
"I wish I could be in two places at once," he said in the release. "Being in Annapolis is very important to me. However, being fully trained and ready to serve as a member of our armed forces is also very important."
Jennings learned about his activation in November. He said he told Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller last month but shared the news on the Senate floor this morning -- an announcement that coincided with the General Assembly's fallen heroes ceremony.
During the morning session, Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters, a Prince George's County Democrat, announced the names of nine senators (himself included) who had served in the military, plus Jennings, who is serving now. Peters also read the names of Marylanders who have died in action in the past year.
Jennings' colleagues gave him a standing ovation when he explained his mission. He'll be training in a C-27, a new military aircraft, as a loadmaster. He's a private pilot, but in the military, he is part of the crew. His duties include monitoring flight systems and fuel management, as well as overseeing the plane's troops and cargo.
After training in Georgia, he'll return to his home base, Warfield Air National Guard Base at Martin State Airport, and continue gaining experience on the C-27. He said he expects his unit to be deployed overseas in the near future.