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Two seek GOP nod for congressional seat

A candidate who twice challenged U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-south county, and a former Webster Groves City Council and Board of Education member are vying for the Republican nomination in the 3rd Congressional District primary next month.

Bill Federer and Joan McGivney are seeking the Republican nomination for the 3rd Congressional District seat in the Tuesday, Aug. 3, primary. Federer twice — 1998 and 2000 — has been the Republican nominee in unsuccessful challenges to Gephardt, who is not seeking re-election to the seat he has held since 1976.

The Republican nominee will square off in November against the winner of a 10-candidate Democratic race that will be decided Aug. 3 and Libertarian Kevin Babcock.

Asked to identify the most important issue in the race, the candidates responded:

• "It is critical that the federal government get on a sound financial footing especially when the baby-boom population will soon be retiring, with more demands placed on it through entitlement programs,'' McGivney said. "I will work to fix this by looking for ways to cut wasteful spending, especially ludicrous projects that expand government and benefit only a few, to close special-interest tax loopholes, to change the corporate tax structure so that companies are given incentives to hire more American workers. We must allow free enterprise to flourish so that the spirit of honest entrepreneurship is never diminished.''

• "Jobs — I want to help keep jobs from leaving the country,'' Federer said. "This can best be done by following John F. Kennedy's proposal of helping businesses who will keep their jobs on American soil by lower taxes so they can compete with foreign competitors. Kennedy noticed that when tax rates in America are raised, investment dollars flee to other countries, thus the real loser is the worker, as less business is done in America. Helping businesses hire workers is good business. This includes liability reform and limiting burdensome job-killing legislation.''

Federer, 46, 4346 Southview Way Drive, 63129, serves as publisher of Amerisearch Inc. He and his wife, Susan, have four children, ages 21, 20, 16 and 15.

Federer has served as a precinct chairman, a delegate to the State Republican Convention and a delegate to the 2000 Republican National Convention. He is seeking his party's nomination in the 3rd District race because of his "desire to give our children as good of a country as what we inherited, with freedoms and opportunity to achieve their dreams.''

McGivney, 56, 356 Tulip Drive, 63119, has 20 years of corporate work experience that includes previous positions at SBC and EDS. She and her husband, James McGivney, have two children, ages 26 and 20.

McGivney served on the St. Louis County Planning Commission from 1987 to 1991, the Webster Groves City Council from 1990 to 1994 and two terms on the Webster Groves Board of Education from 1996 to 2002. She is seeking her party's nomination in the 3rd District race because "I am concerned about where our nation is heading. The polarization of our nation and our government is detrimental to the stability of our nation. I am fearful that special interest groups and the lure of big government will stifle the creative spirit of our people. I am also concerned about the fiscal demise of our federal government. As a Republican, I value our freedoms and appreciate individuals working in community to achieve great goals.

"In the past 13 years of local government service I have shown my commitment to the goals of fiscal responsibility, protecting individual rights, and being responsive to concerns of citizens. My record shows that I can work in collaboration with others to solve problems, am open-minded in listening to the citizens about their concerns, do thorough research and analysis before setting policy, advocate for solutions that will benefit the entire community. I think my experience, skills and common-sense approach are what the people of the 3rd District need to truly represent them in Washington,'' she added.

The candidates gave the following responses to a Call questionnaire:

What is your position on abortion?

Federer said, "I am 100 percent pro-life, and will work to encourage adoption as the compassionate choice.''

McGivney said, "Abortion should not be treated as a contraceptive method. Alternatives to abortion should always be carefully considered. Many churches have said that to continue a pregnancy that endangers the life or health of the mother, or poses serious problems concerning the life of the child, is not a moral necessity. Other churches have stated that abortion is murder. I think members of each religious affiliation first must follow their personal and moral convictions.

"Hopefully, fellow parishioners will treat them with compassion. I believe church leaders of any denomination should not have jurisdiction over women of other faiths. As a member of Congress it will be crucial that I am cognizant of all religious teachings and how they value life and their interpretations. Yet, no one religion should dominate the nation's policy. I must respect all points of view and still participate in setting policy that will move us in the direction that is best for all.

"From a government policy, I respect that women have privacy rights and they, not government, can best make decisions affecting those lives. I believe less government in individual's lives allows them to fully utilize their freedom to live their lives as God has led them. Therefore, I will not be a part of any effort to overturn the 1973 Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade. Nor will I be part of a movement to make amendments to the Constitution regarding the women's rights to make private decisions on bearing children ...,'' she added.

What is your position on the death penalty?

Federer said, "Whereas both the 2000 Democrat and Republican platforms support the death penalty, I feel that it should only be used after all avenues of legal recourse have been exhausted. I am in favor of expanded DNA testing and tough sentences for all crimes, where a life sentence actually means a life sentence.''

McGivney said, "I support the current federal law on the death penalty that Congress passed in the 1994 crime bill to include 61 possible offenses by the perpetrator. The list of offenses are brutal and extremely serious crimes. Our own state also allows for the death penalty for serious crimes and has executed 61 people since 1976. However, I am concerned that the legal costs are almost four times more to defend a death penalty conviction than one that has life imprisonment without parole. Also, I think it is appropriate to assure that proper procedures are being followed and to determine if the enactment of the death penalty has accomplished what Congress intended when it mandated the death penalty in 1994.''

Are tougher gun control laws needed? If so, what do you propose? If not, why?

Federer said, "There are already ample laws on the books, the problem is they are not enforced. We must begin to enforce those laws.''

McGivney said, "In addition to each state placing restrictions on guns, there are several issues regarding gun control at the federal level. I respect the Second Amendment, yet, we can take limited and reasonable measures to protect our citizens from gun violence. From my perspective, there are two major issues gun control concerns at the federal level: registration and scope of who keeps the registration records, background checks and waiting periods to obtain the background check; and types of guns citizens can legally own. Background checks should be done on prospective gun owners and the time needed to conduct these checks should be given. Registration should be done only at the local level. I am not in favor of any national data base of gun registry. I think this is an invasion of privacy — I see no need for the national agencies to know which law-abiding citizens have guns.

"I think that the types of federal restrictions entailed in the 1994 semi-automatic assault weapons ban on the 19 military-style, semi-automatic assault weapons — like AK-47s and UZIs and high-capacity ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds should be continued ...,'' she added.

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