Lawmaker to deploy to Iraq
Newly elected Kansas Rep. Melanie Meier, D-Leavenworth, has been called to report for active duty. On Feb. 22, Meier, who represents the 40th House District, which includes a portion of Lansing east of Kansas Highway 7, will head to Fort Hood, Texas, where she will complete training with the Army Reserve before her deployment to Iraq later this year. “The timing isn’t exactly how I would have chosen it, but I figure there must be some reason why I need to be in Iraq now,” Meier said. She said her 19 years of training with the Army Reserve, earning her a rank of lieutenant colonel, have her well-prepared. “I’m not nervous,” Meier said. “It’s just going off to a new job to support my country.” Meier will serve as the brigade inspector general with the 304th Sustainment Brigade. She will return in January 2010. Former District 40 Rep. Candy Ruff will fill the position while Meier is on her tour of duty. Ruff retired at the end of the 2008 session and Meier was elected in November. Ruff is also a Leavenworth Democrat. “Leavenworth is a military community,” Ruff said in a news release. “We all understand that when military duty calls, everything else must temporarily move to the back burner.” Meier is the second House member to be deployed to Iraq since the war began. Rep. Lee Tafanelli, an Ozawkie Republican, left the House to lead a Kansas National Guard engineer battalion from 2004 to 2005.