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The only California Assembly member currently a member of the military, Democrat Ted Lieu, was promoted from major to lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Air Force Reserves in a 30-minute Capitol ceremony today.

Lieu, 40, is a 15-year member of the military, including four years on active duty. He currently serves as a military prosecutor in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, known as JAG.

The Torrance resident said he always has been proud to serve in the military, recalling how his parents had immigrated from Taiwan, unable to speak English and making ends meet initially by selling in swap meets. They ultimately achieved the American Dream by opening a half-dozen stores, Lieu said.

"I believe I can never give back to this country what it has given my family," he told the assembled crowd, which included his wife, Betty Chim-Lieu, his two young sons and about a half-dozen legislative colleagues.

Lieu, who is running for attorney general, said the promotion will not alter his ballot designation, which he said will be either "Judge Advocate General;" "JAG/legislator;" or "military prosecutor/legislator."

His new title of lieutenant colonel could be mentioned, however, in biographical information sent to voters, said Lieu, who obtained his law degree from Georgetown University.


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