- The Washington Times - Monday, August 12, 2002

DIX HILLS, N.Y. (AP) When Joe Finley was 10 years old, his father was one of a dozen firefighters killed in a blaze that at the time caused the single largest loss of life for the New York fire department.
Mr. Finley followed in his father's footsteps, and 35 years later raced to the World Trade Center from his Long Island home after watching on TV as the twin towers crumbled.
Now Mr. Finley, 46, says stopping terrorism is his top priority as the Republican candidate in the 2nd Congressional District.
"We need somebody in Washington to do something about it, like secure our borders," Mr. Finley said. "Five of the people that attacked us that day were on terrorist watch lists. I mean, there are a lot of things that should have been taken care of."
The soft-spoken Northport resident is retiring from the fire department, citing lung damage from his days working at ground zero in the aftermath of September 11.
"It's sort of like an asthma condition," he said. "I can't go into burning buildings any more, but it's not life-threatening."
Mr. Finley faces a tough fight against Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, who has raised more than $1 million and has also been a supporter for the families of September 11 victims.
"I think that we have an obligation to respect and honor Mr. Finley and Mr. Keenan for what they did as firemen on 9/11," Mr. Israel said of Mr. Finley and Green Party candidate John Keenan, another September 11 veteran.
"In every election I've ever run, I've focused on my record, my position, my visions, my specific records of accomplishments," Mr. Israel said.
The Republican Party is planning some fund-raisers on Mr. Finley's behalf, and Suffolk County Republican Chairman Tony Apollaro said he thinks donations will build shortly after Labor Day.


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