DRACUT, Mass. – The brother of a pilot whose hijacked airplane was flown into the World Trade Center in 2001 announced Tuesday he is running for Congress.
Air Force Lt. Col. James Ogonowski is the first Republican to announce his intention to run for the seat of Democrat Rep. Martin Meehan, who is leaving Congress to become chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
Ogonowski's brother, John, was one of 92 people killed aboard American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston to Los Angeles on Sept. 11, 2001.
He said his brother's death played a "significant part" in his decision to run for Congress.
"We lost our innocence that day," he said. "It's something we should never allow to happen again."
Ogonowski, 49, plans to retire from the Air Force next month after a 28-year career. He announced his candidacy at a memorial dedicated to his brother near the house where they grew up in Dracut, in northeast Massachusetts.
Ogonowski describes himself as a fiscal conservative and social moderate.
Two other Republicans are considering a run for Meehan's seat: former NFL defensive lineman Fred Smerlas and Lawrence Mayor Michael Sullivan.
Six Democrats have announced their candidacy, including Niki Tsongas, wife of the late U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas; Lowell City Councilor Eileen M. Donoghue; and state Rep. Barry Finegold.