Tacoma City Councilmember Ibsen to return early from military leave

A Tacoma City Councilmember who took a leave of absence last month to undergo year-long military training announced this week he will return to City Hall earlier than expected.

In November, Councilmember Anders Ibsen announced he had been selected to become an Officer Candidate in the United States Marine Corps Reserves and would take a leave of absence from his elected post to undergo training beginning in January and lasting throughout the year. Ibsen planned to return to Tacoma and resume the rest of his term on council at the end of his training. Once commissioned as a reservist Second Lieutenant in the Marines, Ibsen planned to continue on as a Tacoma City Councilmember for District 1, while also drilling with his Marine Corps unit one weekend per month. State law allows for elected officials to take extended leaves for military service.

Tacoma attorney Joseph Lopez was selected out of 15 applicants and appointed by the Tacoma City Council on Dec. 17 to Ibsen’s position on council. Councilmember Lopez’s term began on Jan. 1 and was expected to end upon Ibsen’s return from military service.

“Public service has always been very important for me and my family, and I appreciate the opportunity that I had to train as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps reserves,” Ibsen announced Tuesday. “Due to medical reasons, I am unable to complete this program. I am grateful for the support that I have had from my constituents, colleagues, friends and family along the way, and I thank interim Councilmember Joe Lopez for his representation of District 1 during this time. I look forward to returning to Tacoma to serve my community on Feb. 11.”