An Iowa National Guardsman is resigning from his post in the South Dakota state legislature. State Representative Bill Van Gerpen of Avon was just elected to a third term but he’s also a chaplain, serving with the 185th Tanker Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard in Sioux City. Van Gerpen says his active duty has been extended, probably until June. Knowing he won’t be available to serve constituents in the legislature, he’s sent his resignation to South Dakota governor Mike Rounds and he expects to hear soon who’s been chosen to replace him. Van Gerpen says he just couldn’t leave his legislative seat open for virtually the whole session.He says “it just wouldn’t be fair” for him to be absent virtually the whole session, and have a vacant seat in that district instead of someone serving constituents. Van Gerpen has served 32 years in the military, 7 of those on active duty with the Air Force, and is a Lieutenant Colonel. He says he’s giving up more than just a seat in the state house of representatives. He was asked this year to chair the South Dakota Ag and Natural Resources Committee, which make sit harder to give up, but he says there are good people available to take his place and he’ll be in Iowa with mobilized personnel. He says there is a lot of stress involved with the guard and reserve members that are on active duty and their families. A spokesman for the South Dakota governor thanked Van Gerpen for his “commonsense” approach to his legislative duties, saying he’ll be missed. Governor Mike Rounds is working to choose a replacement for Van Gerpen.
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