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ha_assembly8797.JPGMonths after taking office, Jeff Gorell is leaving the Assembly today - for a military deployment to Afghanistan.

The Camarillo Republican, a lieutenant commander in the Navy reserve, previously was deployed to Afghanistan shortly after the 911 attacks on the World Trade Center.

"I felt very safe when I was there before. and I hope I'll feel the same way when I'm there this time," Gorell said when asked about dangers inherent in his "boots on the ground" job as an intelligence officer. "I'll see when I get there."

Gorell, a 40-year-old freshman who was sworn into office in December, has introduced 15 Assembly bills, most of which have joint or co-authors who will shepherd them through policy committees while he is gone, he said.

"It's frustrating to be gone from my family and from the job I've grown to love, but I've laid a lot of groundwork with my legislative package and with joint authorship with other members," he said.

Gov. Jerry Brown has invited him to discuss big-picture reform issues and to lobby him for a signature on his key bills, if they pass the Legislature during the Afghanistan deployment, Gorell said.

Gorell will spend part of today on the Assembly floor, fly to his Camarillo home late this afternoon, then undergo temporary training in California and at Fort Dix, New Jersey, before heading to Afghanistan.

Gorell's constituent work in Kern, Los Angeles and Ventura counties will be overseen by his district director, Ernie Villegas, former mayor of Fillmore in Ventura County.

"I hope to come back and prove to my constituents and to my community that I've had an incredibly successful legislative session," said Gorell, who is married and the father of two young children.

Gorell, who opted not to accept a state-leased vehicle when he joined the Assembly, will receive no legislative pay or per diem during his yearlong deployment.

PHOTO: Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, R-Camarillo, waits to be sworn in with wife Laura on the Assembly floor Dec. 6, 2010 in Sacramento. Hector Amezcua/The Sacramento Bee


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