1. Archive

Q & A

In this series before the Nov. 6 elections, opposing candidates answer questions on issues facing Pinellas. Today's candidates are seeking the District 54 seat in the state House of Representatives. The questions were prepared and the answers solicited by the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area.Q What are your priorities for ethics reform? What ethics and election reforms would you work toward?

A Lars A. Hafner, Democrat: I support and have voted for a prohibition on the soliciting of gifts. I favor a more complete disclosure of the receipt of gifts. I have supported and will continue to support putting more teeth into the Ethics Commission's abilities to investigate.

Dorothy Eaton Sample, Republican: Abolishment of "games." Frankness and honesty.

Q Low voter turnout continues to be a problem, and many believe that increased opportunities for voter registration would improve voter participation. Do you agree, and if so, what state legislation would you support to address this problem?

A Hafner: Yes, I agree that we need to increase voter participation. We could do this by eliminating the use of voter rolls for jury selection and by passing the "Motor Voter" bill that would allow people to register to vote at the same time they apply for a driver's license.

Sample: Repugnance and distrust of government is the major reason for low turnout.

Q Would you support state legislation or a change in the Constitution to allow county school boards to be elected on a non-partisan basis? If not, why not?

A Hafner: Yes, in fact, in 1989 I introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to allow county school boards to be elected on non-partisan basis. Education should not be a partisan issue.

Sample: No. Genuine interest in education exists in both parties, members of which have equal opportunity to become board members.

Q The Department of Health & Rehabilitative Services (HRS) has received a lot of negative press recently. What are the most serious problems facing HRS, and what solutions would you propose?

A Hafner: No Floridian should be satisfied with the current performance of HRS. We need better administrators, improved training and higher pay grades to improve morale and stability in the agency.

Sample: Diverse responsibilities _ such as fertilizer and child care _ don't belong in one agency! Logical assignment of responsibilities should be made to more than one agency.

Q What recommendations do you have for solving the health care crisis, particularly the dilemma facing the thousands of Florida citizens who have no health insurance?

A Hafner: The growing number of medically indigent residents make greater access to health care imperative. I will support expansion of the Primary Care Program, universal school based coverage for children and their families and continued funding of the Public Medical Assistance Trust Fund.

Sample: Does it make sense, and is it possible and realistic, to require minimal self health insurance of all citizens _ as accident and liability insurance is required (or should be) of all automobile owners? This should be investigated.

Q What should be the role of the Legislature in moving the state of Florida toward mandatory recycling of most solid waste products?

A Hafner: The Legislature mandated in 1988 that every county in the state initiate a recycling program by July 1989. The current goal is to recycle 30 percent of all solid waste materials by 1994. As the markets for recycling products increase, I believe the state should adjust the goal upward.

Sample: The present law (requiring municipal reduction of solid waste by 1994, by one-third) seems acceptable.

Q A proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot requires a three-day waiting period when purchasing a handgun. Do you favor such action, and would you support any further restrictions on firearms purchases? Why?

A Hafner: Yes, I supported and voted for the three-day waiting period. I was also a prime sponsor of legislation to prohibit the sale and/or possession of military style semiautomatic weapons.

Sample: No. Past occurrences don't indicate a three-day wait is effective. To purchase a handgun, one must show proof of ability to operate it.

Q What are your views on the current status (successes and failures) of the Growth Management Act of 1985. What revisions, if any, would you make in this law?

A Hafner: I supported Growth Management Act and believe it has turned Florida in the right direction in managing our growth. I do not support any revisions at this time.

Sample: Growth management is the way to go and concurrency is a valuable ingredient thereof. The process is clumsy at best, judgment calls are often in the wrong places, and perhaps too late in many cases, however. Refinement is in order.

Q What major tax reforms, if any, would you support that might help Florida's current fiscal crisis?

A Hafner: I supported the creation of the Tax and Budget Reform Commission because I realize that the current tax base is not adequate. As a legislator I will carefully review the commission's recommendations for greater efficiency in budget decision making and for a more equitable tax structure.

Sample: More important than tax reforms are spending reforms.

Q Do you support legislation at the state level to limit freedom of choice as it pertains to a woman's right to an abortion? If given the opportunity, list any restrictions which you would support or oppose.

A Hafner: I do not foresee supporting any changes in our current abortion laws.

Sample: No. Roe vs. Wade decision by the Supreme Court (U.S.) seems reasonable.