State Assemblyman Ted Lieu has been recognized by the American Legion, Department of California, as its 2009 “Legislator of the Year,” a distinction given to state legislators who have been strong advocates for veterans’ issues.

“This is indeed a terrific honor to be recognized by the American Legion, which is renowned around the country for its outstanding service to our veterans,” said Lieu, who represents the 53rd District which includes Venice. “As a member of the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee and as an officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, I am reminded every day about the sacrifices that our men and women in the armed forces must face.”

The American Legion’s Legislator of the Year award is given to legislators who have shown their commitment to California’s veterans and their families by promoting the rights, benefits and entitlements of those who have served their country in times of peace and during war. The award was presented to Lieu during the American Legion’s Lobby Day at the State Capitol earlier this month.

“Assemblymember Ted Lieu’s successful efforts to carry legislation that protect the rights of California’s veterans are a testament to his active leadership on veterans’ issues,” said Dennis Fercho, American Legion, California Department commander. “Assemblymember Lieu has also brought his military knowledge to the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee, thereby providing his valuable experience to its deliberations.”

The American Legion, founded in 1919, is an organization of veterans of the United States Armed Forces who served in wartime. The organization is active in supporting the interests of veterans and lobbying on their behalf.

The American Legion, Department of California has 135,000 members and represents the interests of California’s 2.2 million veterans and their families.