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.

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, May 18, 2004

I Knew the Risk When I joined Up: May 2004


“I knew the risk when I joined up.” It’s a time honored military adage. I said that to my colleagues overseas when I served in Vietnam, and I’ve repeated the same adage to my colleagues in the State House during my service in the legislative “war zone.” It’s apropos to both. In Vietnam, however, I did enjoy the benefit of a helmet and flak vest.

When any candidate makes a campaign promise, there’s a risk the promise may be difficult to keep. My vote to keep my promise to do my best to protect the longevity bonus comes to mind. It wasn’t easy. If campaign promises were easy to keep, everyone would do it.

Addressing fiscal reality is also risky. There’s scant middle ground on the subject. When I communicate with constituents, many say, “There’s proposals for the POMV, sales tax, income tax, tobacco tax, cruise ship tax, employment tax, and more. For “crying out loud,” pick your poison and do SOMETHING!!. That’s what we elected you for.”

So I did do something. I voted a politically risky “Yes” on HJR 26, which would have permitted voters to decide, during the 2004 general election, if the “percent of market value” (POMV) as a means to fund state government. HJR 26 passed the House 27 “Yes” 13 “No.” Unfortunately the Senate failed to pass the POMV measure—5 “Yes” 15 “No.” Politically, the failure of the Senate to pass the POMV proposal caused the brave souls who cast a “yes” vote in the House to “fell on our swords” with risk without gain. Like I said, I knew the risk when I joined up!

The most political recent risk involved my opposition to SB 311, which would replace the equal number of labor and management representatives on the current Workers Compensation Board, with attorneys appointed by the governor. This could have the potential of making the attorneys and any of their decisions subject to political pressure to the detriment of injured workers. I joined with fellow Republican Rep. Nancy Dahlstrom of Eagle River in a vote that kept the bill in the Labor and Commerce Committee.

I think workers compensation law needs review, but nothing should work to the potential detriment of injured workers. The legislature is a separate branch of the government, and we were not elected to be “rubber stamps” for the administration. As the Good Book says, “Come let us reason together.”

I expect the issue of “closed caucuses” versus “open meetings” will “take wings” between now and the election. My motto is, “If in doubt, disclose” - that’s why I support open meetings.

Not everyone agrees in the legislature (that’s why we elect 60 members, not 1), and even the most popular legislator will never receive 100% of the vote.

I knew the risk when I joined up - and I’ll accept political risk necessary to represent constituents - regardless of slings, and arrows, and - occasionally – even a few roses tossed my way. So there!


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