Senate District 48 in the Minnesota State Legislature has been represented since 2003 by Michael Jungbauer, a Republican who, according to his website, "still lives on the East Bethel farm where he was raised." That he hasn't left home reminds him, he says, of "his humble roots and the natural beauty and resources he is fighting to protect." I've been to East Bethel and am sorry to say have missed all the "natural beauty." It's one of those exurban landscapes filled with an eclectic mix of strip centers, bait shops, auto body repair shops, motorcycle and snowmobile outlets, newer beige townhouse developments, and at least one oversized shopping center--the kind where the sprawling parking lot serves side-by-side-by-side warehouse-sized stores and is broken up by a few smaller businesses, like franchise restaurants. Jungbauer says he lives on a farm, but he gives his occupation as "wastewater treatment designer," so he's not the kind of farm resident who farms.
In a word: Bachmann-land.
As Don Shelby points out in a recent Minn Post column, Jungbauer's website includes a few other stretchers. For example, under the heading "Education" he lists Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Moody Bible Institute, and Metropolitan State University. It would be a mistake, however, to think that he had graduated from any of these institutions. He does not have a bachelor's degree. He has a "certificate" from Moody Bible Institute. The "about Mike" section of his website says that he is a pastor--a claim that is justified, I guess, by his affilitation with Christian Motor Sports International, which, according to its website, provides "chapel services, pastoral care, outreach and Christian fellowship" at "races, car shows, cruise-ins and tractor pulls." Now that sounds a little more like East Bethel!
A life-long learner, Sen. Jungbauer says that he "spends his free hours pursuing a degree in Environmental Policy at Metropolitan State University." When Shelby pointed out to him that Metropolitan State University does not offer a degree in Environmental Policy, Jungbauer replied, according to Shelby, "Well, that's what they told me." I'm telling you that Sen. Jungbauer's website is not a good advertisement for any of the schools he has attended. Here is an example of his sparkling prose style: "A degree from Moody Bible Institute also prepared Jungbauer for years of youth ministry and coupled with his professional experience, enabled he and his family to join church members on several missions to build safer water quality infrastructure in third world communities."
That he does not have a degree from Moody Bible Institute isn't the only thing wrong with that sentence.
When it comes to the issue of global warming, Sen. Jungbauer leaves his humility on the farm. He has studied the science. Indeed, he has "studied all thirteen disciplines of science." Presumably, it is this scholarship that will allow him to realize the goal of "educating the citizens of Minnesota and the legislature about the real science surrounding global warming." Here he is in professorial mode:
He knows how to use that whiteboard! Wrong info? Wrong conclusion! If you have an appetite for installments 2 and 3, they are available at the global warming section of his website.
It's really quite remarkable that the unemployment rate is around nine per cent and this guy has a job representing people in the Minnesota legislature.