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Barry Finegold, who is running for congressman reads a book to his two daugthers while with his wife Amy in their home in Andover. From left is Ella, 15 months, his wife Amy, Barry and his daughter Ava, 3.

It was a typical scene in the Finegold household.

Barry Finegold, a state representative since 1997, was out on the job, giving an interview to New England Cable News. At home, his wife, Amy, watched on television while watching over the couple's children | Ava, now 3, and Ella, 15 months old.

Ella, who couldn't resist the sight of her father on the TV, started blowing kisses and yelling, "Daddy! Daddy!" Ava, noting her sister's animation, joined in with some noise of her own.

Amy Finegold never heard what her husband told reporters that day.

"It's chaotic; it's crazy; it's fun. Everything about having children is unexpected," she said.

Also relatively unexpected for the Finegolds: that Congressman Martin Meehan, D-Lowell, would step down from office this summer to become the next chancellor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Finegold, 36, along with a growing list of candidates, will try for Meehan's open seat, a race that will be decided by voters of the 5th Congressional District this October.

Balancing family life with political aspirations isn't anything new for the Finegolds, who will celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary next month.

Finegold will campaign this summer with the full support of his family, and if he has his way, Ava and Ella will be delighted at seeing him on C-SPAN instead of NECN.

"Amy married me when I was a state representative. She always knew this was something I wanted to do," Finegold said.

"Why would someone want to be away even one night a week?" he asked rhetorically, his wife by his side. "I believe in sacrifice. I believe in helping your country. I believe I can go down there and do great things."

With a young family that would continue to live in Andover, Finegold faces the prospect that, if elected to Congress, the former Andover selectman would be forced to spend multiple nights a week in Washington, D.C.

It's a difficult decision to make, one that saw state Sen. Steven Baddour decline to run for Meehan's seat, out of concern he'd be unable to spend enough time with his two daughters, ages 4 and 5. At the time, Baddour said, "Anyone can be a member of Congress. I'm the only one who can be the father of my two daughters."

"I think different families have different thoughts, and I respect that decision," Finegold said of Baddour's announcement. "I fully understand what it takes. I fully understand what it means. We have a great family, we're all very close, and we're excited about it."

If elected, Finegold would become the first member of Congress from Andover since Paul Cronin defeated John Kerry for the seat in 1972. Cronin, also a former Andover selectman, was the youngest member elected to the town board before Finegold was voted in in 1995 at the age of 24.

"I feel very much that this is Barry's calling," Amy Finegold said of her husband's decision to run.

"We've definitely discussed all aspects of how this changes our family, how we need to make it work," she said. "I said that I am in this 110 percent."

Finegold said he did plenty of research before beginning campaign fundraising several weeks ago, including chatting with friend and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who has three children, including twins, and makes regular flights from Washington to Florida as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Heck, if she can do it, I can do it. She says it's a breeze | you just have to hop on the shuttle," Finegold said. "I spoke to many members of Congress and spouses, too."

Amy Finegold, who has owned a downtown business since 2004, said the couple couldn't lead their busy lives without the support of their parents, neighbors and family friends.

"Barry manages, no matter what's going on outside of the house, to make the family a priority," she said. "One of the things I think we're proud of is in our marriage, and with our family, we've never gone the conventional route. I don't see Barry as a part-time father or a part-time husband. I feel incredibly supported. The kids have a great relationship with him."

Finegold said it was the work of his parents, both local educators with 33-year teaching careers, that inspired him into action at a young age. He hopes to instill that same set of values in his two daughters.

"That's what motivated me to get involved | seeing my parents. And I think it's also important for our kids to see that."

Whether he's at the Statehouse or in the U.S. House come this fall, Amy Finegold said the children are already used to their father's demanding job. With his campaign already up and running, Finegold's biggest supporters are right at home.

"They don't know any different," Amy Finegold said. "Even as a state rep, Barry has always worked hard hours."

Trading the regular gridlock on Boston's roads for regular flights to D.C. might be a welcome change, too.

"A lot of the time I feel it takes me longer to get out of traffic coming from the Statehouse than it does taking a shuttle from D.C.," Finegold said.

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