Meet the Lawmaker

Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.)
Residence: Gold River, Calif. 
Time in Congress: 1979-1989; elected again in 2004 
Significant other: Wife, Bobbi 
Age: 59

What is your favorite book to read?
Rep. Lungren: I read a bunch of books at the same time. Umm, the one I’m reading right now actually is On Two Wings by Michael Novak. It’s about the faith of our Founding Fathers.

What is the craziest constituent request you’ve ever received?
Rep. Lungren: Someone was in prison and wrote that the warden was broadcasting an inmate’s thoughts on the PA system because he had implanted some electrodes in his brain and they wanted me to personally stop that. We assured him that the practice was discontinued.

Do you believe in UFOs?
Rep. Lungren: Nope.

Rep. Lungren: With all of the satellites and special equipment we had through the years to ID missiles and things endangering our country, if there were a UFO out there we probably would’ve seen it.

What is your favorite political show?
Rep. Lungren: My favorite political show … oh golly that’s changed over the years. When I was first in Congress, I used to watch the McLaughlin report [PBS’s “The McLaughlin Group”]. When my children were younger they used to call that the fighting show ’cause all they used to do was fight. Then there was “This Week with David Brinkley,” and now probably it’s a tie between “Meet the Press” and Brit Hume’s [“Special Report with Brit Hume”].

Why those two?
Rep. Lungren: They are tough without being unfair. They usually are well-prepared. With “Meet the Press,” when they have a guest on, Tim Russert makes sure they’re well-prepared and he’s equally tough on people whether they’re a Democrat, independent or Republican. With Brit Hume, when one of those political commentators gets off track and says something that doesn’t appear to be meritorious, Brit Hume calls him on it. It’s kind of refreshing.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Rep. Lungren: A doctor like my dad, but unfortunately God sent me a strong message my sophomore year at Notre Dame. It was organic chemistry. So I had to find something else to do with my life.

So why did you go into politics?
Rep. Lungren: My dad was a volunteer physician on national campaigns back in 1952, so as a kid I used to watch my dad once every two years take time off. [He worked] on campaigns with [Richard] Nixon when he ran for president and [after] he became president. The idea of service that my dad had is something that’s ingrained in me. I just transferred it from medics to government.

Who is your favorite musician or music group?
Rep. Lungren: Oh boy, that’s changed over the years. I’m a reconstructed Elvis fan.

What’s your favorite chore?
Rep. Lungren: Vacuuming. I sort of get in a meditative state when I vacuum. I’m one of those people that likes to do nice patterns. I don’t like people to walk on the carpet when I finish.

Have you ever smoked marijuana?
Rep. Lungren: Nope, that’s an easy question for me.

Why not?
Rep. Lungren: I grew up with the notion that I was never going to embarrass my parents, and knowing I was going to play by the rules.