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Editor's Note: The St. Petersburg League of Women's Voters asked local political candidates to respond to a series of questions regarding their campaigns. All candidates were given an opportunity to respond. The Times is printing their answers as a public service.

Karen Moffitt

Q What experience and qualifications make you the candidate best suited for this office?

A As a citizen candidate, I will bring a new approach to Congress. Working as an outsider, I will promote change and deliver to Pinellas County the action necessary to carry out legislation critical to this community and our nation's future.

I am an associate professor at the University of South Florida who has studied and taught extensively in the fields of education and medicine. This expertise has enabled me to craft several pieces of legislation concerning health care and education.

Q What is your position in regard to reproductive choice and access to voluntary family planning?

A I firmly support the Freedom of Choice Act and as a member of Congress I will work to ensure its passage.

I strongly oppose the Bush administration's "gag rule" which prohibits abortion counseling by most medical personnel in clinics which receive any federal funding. I consider this a violation not only of a woman's right to privacy, but of basic First Amendment rights to free speech.

Q What is your approach as to how to meet the health care needs of all Americans?

A As a teacher of children with special needs and as someone who has spent my professional life caring for and helping the chronically ill, I firmly believe this country needs an improved system of delivering health care.

I advocate a plan which guarantees access to all Americans, including the 35-million who are presently uninsured. This system must also provide long-term and home-care measures, cost containment measures, a unified billing system to cut red tape and choices in determining one's physician.

Q What percentage, or by what amount, should the U.S. defense budget be cut?

A The greatest threats to our nation's security are no longer external, but come from within as a result of unemployment, poverty and poor education. I propose a reduction of the defense budget by a minimum of 30 percent over the next five to seven years.

A portion of this "peace dividend" must be used to retool defense industries for globally competitive civilian markets and retraining for our highly skilled defense workers who will be displaced.

Karen Moffitt, Democrat, is an education specialist at the University of South Florida.

Republican candidate U.S. Rep. C. W. Bill Young did not respond.