This Iowa Democrat Says She Worked as an Engineer. It Was an Internship.

Christina Bohannan interned at Florida's Department of Environmental Protection

August 19, 2022

Democratic congressional candidate Christina Bohannan often boasts that she once worked as an environmental engineer. She always fails to mention it was an internship.

On Thursday, the Iowa state legislator, who is running to represent the state's first district in Congress, told a Pella, Iowa, audience that she worked as an "environmental engineer with the Department of Environmental Protection in Florida doing water quality work." Her résumé shows this was an internship Bohannan held for four years while studying at the University of Florida. No further experience in the field is listed, and she still holds just an engineering intern license in the state.

Bohannan did not return a request for comment.

As a swing-district Democrat facing off against incumbent Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R.), Bohannan has tried to cultivate the image of a pragmatic moderate, burnishing her apparent engineering credentials to speak to local concerns. In a 2020 letter to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, a Democratic official said Bohannan's experience was of "critical importance for improving Iowa’s water quality issues."

Bohannan’s campaign website also says she is a "former engineer." One progressive group touted Bohannan’s "pro-science policies" and experience as an environmental engineer in its endorsement.

In October, a Wikipedia user who identified as Bohannan’s "State House campaign manager" edited the candidate’s page to add she was an "environmental" engineer, the site’s revision history shows.

Bohannan’s effort to appear moderate has also led her to disavow past policy positions. In August, she scrubbed her old campaign site of endorsements for taxpayer-funded sex-reassignment surgeries and opposition to voter ID laws. Around 70 percent of Iowans support voter ID, a 2017 Des Moines Register poll found.

In 2019, Bohannan contributed to a bail fund for illegal immigrants maintained by a group that wants to abolish Immigration and Customs Enforcement and work toward a "world without police." She has also opposed school choice as a lawmaker while sending her daughter to a private school.

Before her run for Congress, Bohannan served as a legislator in Iowa’s heavily Democratic 85th district. She has been a professor at the University of Iowa’s law school since 2000. Her résumé lists publications on antitrust and copyright law but nothing about environmental issues.

In July, an internal poll by Bohannan’s campaign revealed the Democrat trailing Miller-Meeks by 1 point, the Iowa-based Gazette reported. About 22 percent of the voters surveyed remain undecided.