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Lars A. Hafner

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

A Having been raised in District 53 and educated in our public schools, I understand the issues of interest to our community. My record of hard work and real results on these issues can be seen in initiatives such as Education Accountability, which brings control of our children's education back to our local schools; Preservation 2000, a commitment to environmental protection; and Crimes Against the Elderly which provides stiffer penalties on criminal targeting the elderly.

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 I have strongly supported programs and services for children in Florida such as Healthy Start, Guardian ad Litem and early intervention programs. We know money spent on prenatal care and early childhood development saves money in future health care and criminal justice programs. I was honored to be recognized as the Outstanding Florida Legislator by Florida Youth and Family Service, an organization dedicated to meeting the needs of Florida's children.

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

A I support the right to privacy in reproductive choice and access to voluntary family planning. In addition, I would encourage the availability of counseling that provides alternative choices, support and resources for persons facing unplanned pregnancies.

Q Are you in favor of increasing taxes or creating new taxes to fund education?

A As an assistant professor at St. Petersburg Junior College, I believe education must be a top priority for our state. The Education Accountability Act brings control of our schools back to our communities, which will benefit our students; however, we still need to fund smaller class sizes which are more conducive to learning. I would look at closing more tax loopholes and exemptions in order to properly fund education.

Lars A. Hafner, Democrat from St. Petersburg, has been a state representative since 1988.

Republican candidate Louie Bode did not respond.