Minnesota Environmental Issues Oral History Project: Interview with Willard Munger
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Description BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: Willard Munger was born in 1911 on a farm north of Fergus Falls and graduated from Fergus Falls High School. As a young man, he was active in Farmer Labor party politics, serving as a county chairman and field representative. He also was involved in the campaigns of governors Floyd B. Olson and Elmer Benson and Nonpartisan League founder A.C. Townley. In addition, Munger worked as a grain inspector for the Railroad and Warehouse Commission, as a shipbuilding foreman, and as a supervisor for both the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Office of Price Stabilization. Munger developed a gasoline station and grocery store in Duluth and later built the Willard Motel, which he still operates. Munger was elected to the Minnesota House in 1954 and continued to serve in that capacity with the exception of 1964 through 1966, when he ran unsuccessfully for the Minnesota Senate. Throughout his tenure in office, Munger was known for his advocacy of environmental issues and was successful in the passage of numerous bills. He served on the House environment and natural resources committee beginning in 1973 and has also served as its chair. In addition, he was a member of the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources. Munger was the winner of numerous awards, including the Izaak Walton League of America's "Fifty Four" Founders Award. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: His background. His political and environmental education the influence of Grandfather Munger, A.C. Townley, and Floyd B. Olson. Involvement with the Farm Holiday Association. Involvement with the Farmer Labor party as field representative and as secretary. Establishment of the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District. Acid rain bill. Environmental trust fund history of; how to fund it (issue of tax vs. lottery); structure for managing it; types of programs. Success in the legislature with relationship to environmental issues district support; Reserve mining case. The role of a legislator. Hazardous waste - state bill to operate facilities for processing; private vs. public operation of facilities. Comprehensive waste management plan recycling. Honors and awards. Importance of education in making public aware of the need for action. Working for the Railroad and Warehouse Commission. Campaigning for Elmer Benson in 1936 and 1938 problems of second campaign; working for the Department of Agriculture; Office of Price Stabilization; losing job. Starting gasoline station and grocery store. Job as shipbuilding foreman. Running for the legislature in 1954. Selling gasoline station and grocery store and building the Willard Motel. Floyd B. Olson - political importance; speaking ability; All Party Committee; Farm Labor platform and seating the Trotskyites. Passing environmental bills importance of early action; environmental groups. Role and importance of the Department of Natural Resources. 1987-1988 legislative session - Indian hunting and fishing rights bill; motor vehicle inspection; environmental lien law. The significance of selling state owned land and lakeshore property. Whether one can have both a strong environmental and a strong business climate. Assessment of John Blatnik and John Pegors. Support of the environmental community. Future issues in environmental protection. COMMENTS ON INTERVIEW: Some background noise on tape.
Quantity 6 hours sound cassette
81 pages transcript
Format Content Category: sound recordings
Content Category: text
Measurements 360 minutes length
Creation Interviewer: Robertson, Margaret A.
Interviewee: Munger, Willard
Made in Duluth, Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States
Subjects Made in Duluth, Saint Louis County, Minnesota, United States
Dates Creation: 11/23/1987 - 06/10/1988
(Interviews conducted 11/23/1987, 11/24/1987 and 6/10/1988.)
Holding Type Oral History - Interview
Identifiers OH 58
Accession Number AV1988.99.23
More Info MHS Library Catalog
Related Collections Oral History - Project, MHS Collection, project: 'Minnesota Environmental Issues Oral History Project'

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