Among my journalistic regrets is that in 1999, I was too slow to pick up the phone and call venerable state Rep. Willard Munger and ask for an interview.  I knew that the lion of the Duluth delegation was ailing. I could scarcely believe he was dying. Though he was 88 and the longest-serving member, ever, of the Minnesota House, he seemed too tough and durable to be down for good.

This weekend, I picked up a copy of the new Munger biography, "Mr. Environment: The Willard Munger Story," and was pleased to find on its pages the Munger I' had hoped to hear one last time. His nephew, district court judge and author Mark Munger, has done a stellar job detailing the life of the legislator who was a pioneer in turning state policy into a force for environmental protection. Author Munger has also well portrayed the historical and political context of Munger's 42-year career in public office. On the pages of "Mr. Environment," readers can meet Minnesota politicians from Charles Lindbergh Sr. (the aviator's father) to Paul Wellstone.

Munger's book is available in bookstores, and at