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Bob Turner, N.Y. Republican Congressional Candidate, Says 9/11 Health Law Shouldn’t Cover Ground Zero Volunteers

A Republican congressional candidate from New York City says the 9/11 health shouldn’t cover those who volunteered at Ground Zero.

According to the New York Daily News, Bob Turner, who is running for ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, believes the $4.3 billion James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act is “too broad” in who it covers. Turner, who has firemen in his family, says the law “had a lot of things that could have been a lot better.”

“If someone said, ‘I volunteered’ or walked through there, it’s just not the type,” he attempted to explain, adding that he does support the law. “I probably couldn’t go home if I didn’t support the Zadroga bill,” he told the Daily News. “I have firemen in my family, but is that bill beyond criticism?”

Of the $4.3 billion set aside by the law, $2.78 billion will be spent compensating family members of individuals killed or injured on 9/11 and after, including first responders, volunteers and residents and workers in nearby buildings. Another $1.5 billion will be spent monitoring the health of first responders, rescue workers and cleanup crews. Treatment will also be paid for out of the funds allocated under the law, which was named after NYPD detective James Zadroga, who died of respiratory disease four and a half years after he spent 470 hours helping out at Ground Zero.

John Feal, a 9/11 activist who lost half his foot at Ground Zero, told the Daily News that Turner is “missing the point” of the law. “That day [9/11], and for months after, there were no uniforms. Volunteers worked next to rescue crews for weeks,” he said. “For Bob Turner to turn his back on those New Yorkers, but use images of the burning towers in campaign ads – a circus monkey can out-politic Bob Turner, he’s an embarrassment to the Republican Party.”

Indeed, Turner has used 9/11 imagery to highlight his opposition to the planned “Ground Zero Mosque,” an Islamic center scheduled to be built two blocks from the site of the terrorist attacks. “I’ll do what I can to see that it’s not completed,” Turner vowed, displaying bigotry that is almost as repugnant as his desire to deny 9/11 volunteers the medical care many of them desperately need.

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