Minnesota Rep. John Lesch, a four-term Democrat representing St. Paul's North End, has joined the Minnesota National Guard.  
 
Lesch leaves for basic training Monday, a Guard spokeswoman confirmed, immediately becoming the highest-profile Minnesota politician in recent memory to sign up for military duty during wartime.  
 
"We're tickled to have someone who is willing to to add another level of service" to his elected office, Guard spokeswoman Maj. Patricia Baker said.  
 
Lesch, who is not expected to give up his seat, declined immediate comment.  
 
Lesch will head to Fort Benning in Georgia for basic training. Baker said he is expected to return in time for the start of the next legislative session, which gets underway Feb. 4, 2010.