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The California Optometric Association has launched a new television spot featuring Republican Sen. Tom Berryhill lauding the centennial of late President Ronald Reagan's birth.

"We wanted to do something positive, something that reflects the optimism and the great possibilities that exist for every Californian. Regardless of political party, Ronald Reagan represents Californians communicating our highest ideals," said Marketplace Communication's Rachel Pitts, who produced the ad.

The 30-second spot says glasses helped the former president and 33rd California governor, who would have turned 100 Feb. 6, see the "clarity and depth of his surroundings." "A pair of glasses changed his world, and he changed ours," Berryhill, of Modesto, says in the ad.

Berryhill said signing on for the ad when he was approached several weeks ago was an "easy" decision.

"We're trying to educate kids that being able to see opens up opportunities and the fact that Ronald Reagan wore glasses and the fact that it changed his life when he was able to see things more clearly," he said.

Berryhill, a former assemblyman elected to the state Senate last November, is facing pressure from talk radio and other voices in his party's conservative wing for his refusal to join the Taxpayers Caucus, a new group vowing not to vote to put Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed tax extensions on the ballot.

The spot will air on Sacramento and Central Valley broadcast channels.

Editor's note: This post was updated at 4 p.m. with quotes from Berryhill.


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