When Cheryl Davis Knapp lost to U.S. Rep. Michael Bilirakis in the 1990 general election, the first-time candidate received an impressive 42 percent of the vote. The next day, she began her campaign for 1992.
That determination and the opportunity she has had to study further the issues facing a member of Congress make a strong contender even stronger for round two against five-term incumbent Bilirakis.
Knapp, a Democrat and registered nurse from Safety Harbor, possesses a sound understanding of the challenges presented by the nation's economic crisis, including the desperate need for a health care system that serves every citizen, the demands for improved funding of crucial early education programs and the importance of better environmental stewardship.
Knapp's knowledge of the medical industry gives her special perspective on the country's shaky health care system. She is an advocate of making government more supportive of the needs of working families and is a firm defender of a woman's reproductive freedom. She is committed to strong environmental protection, a commitment that has earned her the endorsements of the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club.
Knapp has spent her life as a nurse listening to people in their times of most critical need, a skill that would translate particularly well in a climate where worry about the economy and general frustration with government unresponsiveness are foremost in voters' minds. Her plans for a mobile congressional office would offer her district easy access to its representative.
Bilirakis, who has worked tirelessly on behalf of elderly and veteran constituents, has a disappointing congressional record overall. The Palm Harbor Republican favors comprehensive health reform, but his ideas, such as supporting a system of employer tax credits, fall short of a true universal health care plan. He believes defense spending should be cut, but focuses on administrative costs and waste, rather than programs, as main sources for the reductions. He voted in favor of an administration rule blocking abortion counseling at most federally financed health clinics.
Knapp has a solid vision for better government and a spirit that will greatly aid her fight for it in Washington. Residents in the 9th Congressional District deserve this new outlook. We strongly recommend Cheryl Davis Knapp.