Blogs by Rep Bob Lynn

Blog site of Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House of Representatives,District 31 Anchorage, Alaska. Blogs consist of public comments during legislative sessions, speeches, political commentary, as well as personal observations, and some journal type entries. Comments are invited.

Name:
Location: Anchorage, Alaska, United States

Member of the Alaska State House of Represeentatives since 2003. US Air Force, Retired; military bandsman; F94C interceptor pilot; Vietnam service as radar controller (Monkey Mountain), radar site commander(Pleiku); Government Contract Management; Public school Teacher, Retired. Married 55 years to Marlene Wagner Lynn, 6 children, 20 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild. Member St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Church. Former Tucson Arizona policeman, Ambulance Driver and Mortician's Assistant, Realtor (currently on referral status).

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Vets have "Been there; Done that": October 2003

SAY “THANKS” WITH AN ALASKA VETERANS HOME
by
REPRESENTATIVE BOB LYNN
District 31, Alaska House of Representatives, Chairman, House Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs
US Air Force, Retired; Vietnam Veteran; Member of American Legion Post 28

My granddad was a veteran, both my mother and father were veterans, and I’m proud to be a veteran myself. At one time, a majority of persons elected to legislatures throughout the nation were veterans. Unfortunately, that’s not so today. Military veterans in our Alaska legislature number only six out of sixty, and only two of us are military retirees: the Speaker of the House, and myself as Chairman of the Alaska House Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs.

American Legionnaires understand that, however well intentioned, no one truly knows what it means to be a veteran unless they’ve “been there” and “done that.” This political reality, especially in times of state and national budget deficits, helps explain why there’s too often faint support for unique veteran needs. Some otherwise excellent and caring legislators just “don’t get it,” when it comes to military and veterans’ issues - and that’s part of the reason why Alaska is one of the only two states in the nation that doesn’t enjoy the benefits of an Alaska Veterans Home. I think that’s disgraceful.

Our state is blessed with more than 70,000 veterans over age 65. Alaska owes a “Debt of Honor” and it’s long past due. We sent our youth to World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and other bloody scenes of battle. They stood in the place of “Mr. and Mrs. Alaska” to protect everything that’s good about America. Our nation survives as a result. If a man or woman is good enough to risk shedding blood in our nation’s battles, that man or woman is good enough to have a State Veterans Home.

Budgets must be trimmed and government waste eliminated – but bean counters should put needs of elder veterans ahead of fixing potholes. It’s long past time for Alaska to pay its Debt of Honor, and say “Thank You” to Alaska veterans with a State Veterans Home
Sadly, too many non-veteran legislators think “reconfiguration” of “civilian” Alaska Pioneer Homes to accommodate veterans, is “good enough,” and cite budgetary reasons to justify their position. The fact is, the level of care in Alaska Pioneer Homes does not – repeat does not - come up to the level of care mandated by the VA for Veterans Homes.

To learn more about this situation, I have scheduled a hearing this fall of the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs to investigate the implementation of the care plan for a US Navy veteran residing in one of the Pioneer Homes. I also plan to hold hearings on Veteran Home issues, after the legislature resumes session in January 2004. I invite my American Legion comrades to be a prominent part of the legislative process in every matter that concerns military and veteran affairs.

Obviously, Alaska should honor the needs of both veterans and non-veterans. One hallmark of a great nation, and a great state, is its measure of care and respect for elders. The hallmark of Alaska should be one of excellence. God Bless our veterans, our armed forces, and America.

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