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THE RACE FOR STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 54

The campaign for the District 54 House of Representatives seat will be something of a tie-breaker. Incumbent Rep. Lars Hafner, D-St. Petersburg, and former state Rep. Dorothy Sample have run against each other twice before. Sample won in 1986. Hafner unseated her in 1988.

On Tuesday, the voters will decide whether to give Hafner a second straight term or to resume Sample's career in the Legislature.

Hafner says his first two years in office have given him a chance to prove his leadership ability.

He was elected president of the freshman class in the House of Representatives and sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee. He also is a member of the Pepper Commission on Aging, created by the Legislature to study issues affecting the elderly.

Hafner helped win more than $2-million in financing for senior citizen programs that were threatened when a lawsuit challenged a state allocation formula for the money.

Hafner stresses that he has supported a program to buy environmentally sensitive land in Florida and to protect manatees. He also points out that he helped get a $5.5-million juvenile detention center for Pinellas County.

Both candidates say they are good listeners. Hafner says he walks the district year-round to hear people's opinions. Sample says she was widely recognized as a legislator who was good at responding to her constituents' requests.

Sample lists several accomplishments from her 12 years in the Legislature. She says she helped pass bills to reduce increases in certain condominium fees; to require nursing home workers to be certified; and to have designated parking places for handicapped people.

She says there is wasteful spending in government. By reducing the waste, the government can avoid tax increases, she says. One way the state could save money is to reduce the number of meetings in Tallahassee, she says.

Sample was the lone member of the Pinellas legislative delegation to vote against a $30-million package to ready the Florida Suncoast Dome for a baseball team. She considered it a "turkey."

Although the measure passed, it never took effect because the Chicago White Sox decided against moving to St. Petersburg.

_ CURTIS KRUEGER

THE JOB

District 54 includes an area bounded roughly by 40th Avenue N on the north, U.S. 19 on the east and the waterfront on the west and south. House members serve two-year terms and are paid $22,560 a year.

DEMOCRAT

LARS HAFNER, 29, is an associate professor of communications at St. Petersburg Junior College. He has been a state representative two years. He received an associate degree from St. Petersburg Junior College, a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a master's degree from the University of Maryland. He is single. ASSETS: Home, cash, investments. LIABILITIES: Mortgage. INCOME: Salaries as a state representative and as an associate professor.

REPUBLICAN

DOROTHY EATON SAMPLE, 79, has been a lawyer and teacher. She received an undergraduate degree from Duke University. She was a state representative for 12 years before her defeat in 1988. She is widowed and has three adult children. ASSETS: Home, cash, investments. LIABILITIES: None. INCOME: Retirement account, Social Security, interest income.

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