Q What experience and qualifications make you the candidate best suited for this office?
A My adult life has been spent in the health and human services field as a hospital business manager, consultant and director of substance abuse and psychiatric programs. I have handled large budgets and staffs. I have had to make difficult decisions, cut budgets and learn to do more with less. I will stress efficient government conducted through a strategic businesslike approach. I have served on numerous educational task forces, which has given me the experience to understand and effectively address the issues Florida is facing.
Q Which services to children and families would you support with federal funding (Head Start; preschool programs; parenting education; early intervention programs; adolescent employment/training; Guardian ad Litem)?
A In all services, I will stress prevention and early intervention. I propose the development of a multiyear strategic plan geared to tackling the state's problems. With regard to health care, I will stress primary and preventive health care particularly in the areas of well-child care, immunizations and prenatal services. I also will stress revamping the juvenile justice system to stress early intervention as well as local control of the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services with direct services being provided by qualified community agencies.
Q What is your position in regard to reproductive choice and access to voluntary family planning?
A Supports privacy in reproductive choice and access to voluntary family planning.
Q Are you in favor of increasing taxes or creating new taxes to fund education?
A A review must be made of our revenue system. The following sales-tax exemptions must be protected: food staples, the food chain and prescription medications. Lottery monies must be returned to the local classroom where they belong for enhancements. Educational administration in Tallahassee must be reduced and control of funds must move to the local level. A strategic plan must be prepared with multiyear priorities outlined, including funding needs.
Stephen "Steve" Knowles, Democrat from Palm Harbor, is director of substance abuse services for the Human Development Center of Pasco County.
Republican candidate State Rep. R. Z. "Sandy" Safley did not respond.