Press Releases

Rose Announces Retired Firefighter, 9/11 First Responder as State of the Union Guest

Staten Islander Rob Serra is leading advocate for first responders, played key role in passing 9/11 Victim Compensation bill into law

Staten Island, January 31, 2020

Congressman Max Rose, who helped lead a bipartisan effort to fully fund and permanently reauthorize the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), announced today that he will be joined at the State of the Union on Tuesday by Rob Serra of Staten Island, a retired firefighter with the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) who served on September 11, 2001 and during the aftermath. Serra is a leading advocate for fellow first responders and played a key role in building support for the Never Forget the Heroes: Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act which was signed into law last year.

“I’m honored to be joined by Rob Serra, a patriot and true public servant, at next week’s State of the Union,” said Rose, an Army combat veteran. “Rob didn’t only selflessly serve our City in the aftermath of 9/11, he continued to fight for all first-responders and their families to make sure we never forgot their sacrifices and always kept our promises. My hope is that he can serve as a reminder to all of us that when we put partisanship aside and focus on doing the right thing, Congress can still work the way it’s supposed to and tackle the issues that matter.”

“It’s humbling to receive this invite from my Representative, Max Rose,” Serra said. “I’ve long believed that our post 9/11 veterans took the baton from those of us that responded that fateful day. Max not only continued our fight through his military service but he continues to fight for us as a Member of Congress. I’m truly honored to join him on behalf of the 9/11 community and my fellow Staten Islanders.”

Last year, in urging passage of the legislation to permanently renew and fully fund the 9/11 VCF, Rose told Serra’s powerful story on the House floor. Serra graduated from the fire academy on September 10th, 2001 and showed up for his first day with the New York City Fire Department on 9/11.

Rose, an original cosponsor of the bipartisan  9/11 VCF legislation which passed both the House and Senate with broad bipartisan support, secured the support of every one of his freshman Democrat colleagues in the House and has helped secure nearly $500,000 in VCF benefits for constituents who were experiencing trouble or delays in receiving the benefits they earned and deserved from their service on 9/11 and in the days following. Last summer, Rose held a hosted a Town Hall with representatives from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, the World Trade Center Health Program and more than 125 attendees on Staten Island.

As chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Counterterrorism, Rose has worked tirelessly to ensure that law enforcement has the support it needs from the federal government to do its job. Following a bipartisan push by Rose, Congress passed legislation to increase funding for critical counterterrorism programs of which New York City relies upon by $90 million over current funding levels. Last year, Rose joined the NYPD for a tour and briefing of the city’s needs and capabilities in addressing threats of terrorism. Rose also passed into law legislation supported by the New York Police Department (NYPD) to crack down on unregistered and untraceable “ghost guns” by providing local law enforcement with annual updates on the threat posed by the availability of these weapons.

Last year, Rose was joined by a Staten Island mother who lost her son to opioid epidemic.