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).

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Arrived to our home on Trapline Drive in Anchorage safe and sound about 5:30PM. We were just in time to attend 7:00PM Mass at St. Benedict's.

There is so much beauty in Alaska and the Yukon that it can become almost "commonplace." A trip like this, with everyplace we look a "picture postcard," renews our appreciation for how fortunate we are to live in Alaska. Our move to Alaska was perhaps the smartest thing I ever did - well, EXCEPT for marrying Marlene over 52 years ago. If I want to keep her vote, I thought I'd better add that!!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Heading Home from the Legislature - Ten Pounds in a Five Pound Bag

Marlene and I have been packing our little Toyota Matrix all day. It's like trying to pack ten pounds into a five pound bag. Tomorrow morning at 5:00AM, we catch the ferry to Haines, Alaska out of Auke Bay (a few miles north of Juneau). The ferry traves to Haines via the Lynn Canal. And no, "Lynn Canal" wasn't named after me. I'm a family history buff, and know that no Lynn in my branch of the Lynn family since 1775 moved to Alaska.

From Haines, we'll go up to Haines Junction, home via Tok and Glenallen. I've driven from Haynes Junction to Anchorage twice, but this will be our first jaunt from Haines to Haines Junction. We hope to be home sometime Sunday evening.

We're looking forward to returning home. Hope we don't have to evict a burglar from our home!
Blogs will continue as soon as I can get a computer up and running back home. Hang in there!

This 2005 session of the 24th Legislature has been overall very good. More later about what happened.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Armed Forces Day

Today is Armed Forces Day USA. President Truman established the holiday in 1950 (the same year I graduated from Garfield High School in East Los Angeles).

If you enjoy Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, and every other freedom in the Bill of Rights, you can thank the Armed forces of the United States. God Bless our Armed Forces.

And yes, this blog is a conflict of interest - and I’m proud of it. I’m an Air Force retiree and Vietnam veteran. That means I’m in the Air Force Retired Reserve. Theoretically, I could be recalled to active duty at any time I’m needed.

Obviously, if the situation gets bad enough to recall someone of my age and weight, you’d better head for the bomb shelter!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Get a Grip

The world media is all agog about the photos of Saddam Hussein in his underwear. Big deal.

Saddam is a latter-day Adolf Hitler who hates American freedoms, has murdered thousands, and gassed his own people. Embarrassing photos should be the least this murderer should have to worry about. Get a grip

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

On the Dan Fagan Radio Talk Show

Dan Fagan, host of a KFQD Anchorage radio talk show, asked me to call into today to discuss “what’s going on down in Juneau.”

I phoned Dan's show about 3:10PM. I explained that the House did its job last night by voting on the Worker’s Compensation bill (SB130) and the PERS/TRS (SB141) retirement bills. I said, “That puts the legislative ball in the Senate’s court, and you may have to contact the “psychic network” to find out what the Senate is going to do.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My Chief of Staff is a New Grandma!

CONGRATULATIONS to my Chief of Staff Nancy Manly of Juneau!!! Today at Baltimore, Maryland her first grandchild was born: Nolan Anderson Manly. Weight 8 lbs 08 oz. The proud new parents are Anderson and Kathleen of Savage, Maryland.

Nancy has been with me since 2003 when I first took office. This 2005 session has been her first as Chief of Staff. Previously she was my Office Manager. She had worked for several different legislators previously. She is also a licensed Alaska Real Estate Broker. The new Grandpa is John Manly, Communications Director for the Alaska Department of Transportation.

I'll be keeping my legislative office, Room 415, at the Capitol in Juneau, as well as my legislative office at Anchorage Legislative Office (LIO), 716 West 4th Avenue, Room 650.

Monday, May 16, 2005

My Turn for the Invocation

After the roll call, at the beginning of each legislative session, the next “order of business” is the Invocation, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. During regular session, ordained clergy people from the community, and by a rotation of denomination, give the Invocation. They are paid a small honorarium. When a clergy person is unavailable, the Speaker of the House, appoints a Member of the House (on a rotating basis) to give the Invocation.

Today it was my turn. When a legislator speaks on the floor it is supposed to be spoken ad lib (Admittedly, I usually “cheat” with some notes – since I’m not “vaccinated with a phonograph needle” like some of my colleagues). The Invocation is about the only time a legislator is allowed to read, and the following Invocation is what I read.


Our Father in Heaven, help protect and give us a measure of Thy wisdom to all legislators throughout America, and especially here in Alaska, and in this chamber. Help us to remember that “to whom much is given much is required.”

Help us to be good role models to each other, and especially to children and young adults in a world that yearns for good role models. And please help us protect the most vulnerable among us, in every precious stage of life.

We know we were freely elected to serve as Representatives of our constituents in forty diverse districts to serve to the best of our ability for a short term of office – but let us not forget that, before we filed for office, before we won election, and before we cast our first vote here in this chamber, You, Almighty Father, gave us the eternal Gift of Life, and the Gift of free will. And, with that in mind, help us to avoid any conflict of interest between Your Commandments and our political actions.

Please help us not to be too critical or too judgmental of those with whom we disagree. Help us to disagree, without being disagreeable – because only You, Father, have the whole truth of anything. At the same time, let us not lose our Anchor of Faith, or ignore Thy moral compass in some misguided effort to curry political favor, or to go along to get along, or to be all things to all people.

Help us to cast every vote in this House of Representatives in the good conscience Thou hast given us. Help us to vote in accordance with what is right and good in the sight of You, Almighty God.

Help us to understand it is our job here on earth to support worthy causes, and cast worth votes whatever the issue, whatever the political pressure, or whatever any personal political advantage. Help us to remember that, however we vote, it is you, our Father in Heaven, who is responsible for the results, whatever they may be.

Father, protect our nation and the State of Alaska. Protect our brave women and men in the armed forces, all of us here today, and our loved ones. All this, and much much more, we ask in the Name of the personal God we call, in faith, to be our own. Amen.


Action on Proposal to Reduce Military in Alaska

As Legislator and Chairman of the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs, as a military retiree, and as an Alaskan, I am very concerned and distressed about the proposed news of potential military reduction of forces in Alaska, and the shutdown of Kulis National Guard Base in Anchorage. The following is a Press Release announcing the Commiitee hearing in Anchorage.
A hearing will be conducted by the House Special Committee on Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee to determine the impact of the potential closing of Kulis Air Air Guard Base in Anchorage, as well as resuction of military and civilian forces at Elmendorf AFB, Eilson AFB, Fort Richardson, and other military facilities.

The Committee hearing will be scheduled at the Legislative Information Office (LIO) 716 W. 4th Avenue, in Anchorage as soon as practical after the adjoinment of the Special Session in Juneau. "The Commkttee strongly supports the mission of the Alaska National Guard and Alaska's active duty military," said Representative Bob Lynn, Committee Chair. "We are concerned that nothing weakens military performance or unnecessarily hurts the Alaska economy."

For further information, please contact my Chief of Staff Nancy Manly (907) 645-2794.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Latter Day Visit to the "Principal's Office:" May 9, 2005

Today was another summons to the governor’s office. This time two other representatives were summoned along with me.

The governor asked if we knew why he called us in to meet with him (reminded me of a time I was called into the principal’s office in the sixth grade). I asked if we were there to get commendations but, from his response, clearly that wasn’t it.

The subject was our positions on worker’s compensation and retirement systems issues. It was a private meeting, but I can reveal we had a very polite exchange of views.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

"Wow." "Hello" to Bob Lynn from the White House (yeah, the one in DC)

One of my staff took a call from the White House. A Special Assistant to the President wanted to talk to me about my position on the Alaska Retirement System vis a vis the Presidents's Social Security proposal, and I was supposed to return his call. I think that kind of political pressure from a White House staffer to a state legislator on a state issue is out of bounds. Obviously, this call was generated by political operatives here in Juneau. I sis, however, attempt to return the call but never did get through due to busy lines on Mother's Day. I did, however, leave a pointed message on his answering machine.

I thought this kind of stuff was material for a Press Release, so I issued one. See the following:


Representative Bob Lynn, Alaska House District 31
May 8 2005

I received a telephone call from the White House. Mr. James Kelly, Special Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs, wanted to know my position on SB141, a bill before the Alaska Legislature on PERS/STRS as it compares to the president’s social security reform agenda.

The answer is,

“I support my president. Social security is a federal issue, and Alaska PERS/STRS is a state issue. When I become a Member of Congress, I’ll be happy to make official statements about federal issues. Give my regards to your boss.”

Friday, May 06, 2005

What Geese and Legislators Have in Common

Geese head south in the winter and north in the spring. Same same for most legislators.

Session is grinding to a halt (unless the governor extends it). Every legislator’s files are going into boxes, pictures are coming off the walls, computers and FAX machines are being packed, and everything is a humongous mess. There are almost as many boxes in the halls as lobbyists. Like geese, legislators, their staffs, and their voluminous piles of paperwork are heading back up north.

If you have a case in a file a legislator is working on, good luck. Basically, we’re out of business until after we get unpacked back home. It’s not just me, it’s every legislator in the building, except the three who inhabit Juneau.

In January 2006 it happens all over again, this time in reverse. Everything is packed up and it’s back to Juneau. The legislative geese go south again.

There’s something inherently wrong with this picture. It’s expensive and horribly inefficient. Since the majority of the legislators live in the Anchorage-Matsu area, that’s where the legislature should be. I hope I live long enough to see it happen.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Political War Games: May 5 for May 4, 2005


Representatives are in a battle royal on how to best fix state employee and teacher retirement systems, without state finances going belly up. The bill is SB141.

The pressure has been outrageous from the Senate, the administration, and every political player who gets pleasure out of political bullying. One representative (“he or she” so I don’t give a clue to identity) has suffered from a politico calling their $1,000 campaign contributors, to have the big buck contributors tell the representative how to vote (the representativbe is not a happy camper). The Senate has made no secret of holding our House bills hostage in their body unless we kowtow to their view of the world. One legislator inferred other legislators are failing their sworn constitutional duty if votes differ from theirs (I don’t recall reading that in the Constitution). Party loyalties are being called into question by folks who ought to know better. Powerful people from both sides of the issue crowd the galleries to overflowing to see if their targeted representative votes “correctly.” One senator followed me into the restroom, and lobbied me from an adjacent urinal (A meeting had been scheduled for later in my office, but was canceled due to this meeting "on the fly"). Getting from my office to the House floor means running a gauntlet political “persuaders.” There’s more, but you get the idea. If you are a normal person, your temper can get short. As the saying goes, things can get “interesting.”

Everyone is affected by these political war games. They do have a result. It reminds me of an observation I made about my fellow servicemen when I served in Vietnam. “The good get better. The bad get worse.”

Whenever possible on a controversial political issue, I try to “pick a side and go there.” That isn’t always easy, but if staying on one side of an issue was easy, everybody would do it. Votes on the House floor yesterday and today make my point. The Anchorage Daily News reported, “Over the past two days, with amendments to the retirement bill being debated on the House floor, members twice have voted for major changes to the retirement bill, only to rescind their votes and then shoot the amendments down.”

On a controversial issue like retirement system reform, trying to figure out how someone is going to vote on amendments, and if they’ll vote the same way the second time around, is like trying to pick up a bar of soap in the shower.

Had a long – and very “interesting” day that lasted until after 10:30PM – and now it’s past midnight and my “nighty-night” time. I have a State Affairs Committee meeting tomorrow morning at 8:00AM. I did my best to cast good votes today, and hope I didn’t make more than 50% of my constituents angry! “Hope springs eternal.”

Monday, May 02, 2005

Rep. Bob Lynn welcomes you to "Lynn's Alaska Blogs": May 2, 2005

Welcome to my Rep. Bob Lynn's "Lynn's Alaska Blogs." I am a State Representative in the Alaska State House of Representatives, District 31, in south Anchorage, elected 2002, re-elected 2004.

To get started, I've retreived several writings, going back to 2002, for this first publishing of Lynn's Alaska Blogs. In addition to personal comments on various topics, Blogs will also feature public record speeches and comments on the House floor, and House Committees, sponsor statements on personal legislation, published writing. I'll not have time for daily entries, but will try to publish Lynn's Alaska Blogs on a regular basis.

I plan to include pictures to Lynn's Alaska Blogs, as soon as I figure out how to do it. Have patience.

I welcome comments, both political and personal. The better the communication, the better the representation.

Energizer Bunnies get Uncontrollable Urges: May 2, 2005

Floor speech in oposition to Legalizing Card Room gambling HB 272

Mr. Speaker,

Well, Mr. Speaker, here we go again. It’s near the end of the session, only a few days to go, and everybody’s busy doing what we should be doing: trying to fund education and repair broken down schools, trying to cut the cost of workers compensation, trying to cut PERS/STRS costs and still protect state workers, and did I forget – trying to get our operating and capital budgets passed.

But guess what. Here comes another “hurry hurry” gambling bill. This year it’s the “hurry hurry” card room bill. Last year, it was the “hurry hurry” casino bill. It must be springtime. Leaves are coming out, squirrels are chasing each other, and gambling bills start flying. It’s like energizer bunnies get uncontrollable urges to pass gambling bills, when the session’s about to end.

Apparently, the end of session is a good time of the year to push gambling bills when we are busy, so they can fly under the public radar - gambling bills that haven’t had since January to run a gauntlet of a pesky riled up public, at public hearings.

We are told we illegal card rooms are popular, so we should legalize card rooms. Should legalize everything that’s popular, simply it’s popular? I don’t think so. I hope not.

We are told illegal card rooms are already in operation, so we might as well legalize them, and make money on something that’s going on anyway. Well, prostitution is going on anyway, and crack drug sales are going on anyway, and burglaries are going on anyway, and all kinds of illegal things are going on anyway. So should we legalize something, just because it’s going on anyway, and just because the state can make a buck at the expense a healthy community? I hope not.

We are told legalized card rooms would be limited to boroughs with a population of more than 30,000. That’s 8 or 9 card rooms in Anchorage, 2 or 3 in Fairbanks, one or two in the Matsu, 1 in Kenai, 1 card room in Juneau.

Why the 30,000 population, I hear you ask? If it’s so good for city folks, why isn’t it good for village folks? Why not every place with a moose in Alaska? Why are we discriminating against people who don’t have 30,000 neighbors? Surely people in the villages have just as much right, and are just as responsible, to enjoy legalized card rooms, and bring revenue to the state, as everyone else. But not so under this bill. That’s not fair.

Well, we are told that places with less than 30,000 couldn’t support card rooms anyway. Maybe that’s true. Well, maybe we could require Certificates of Need to open card rooms. How about that for an idea? But that wouldn’t make any sense – but then what part of this bill does make any sense?

We are told the card rooms would create jobs. Well, so do houses of ill repute, and so do crack houses. Are these the kind of jobs we want, or need in Alaska? Should public schools stop teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic, and teach kids how to operate card rooms? Of course not. That’s silly. But it does point out some of the problems with this bill.

Is there anyone in the body who wants to go back to our districts in a couple weeks, and proudly proclaim, “What a wonderful job we did in the 24th Legislature. We legalized card rooms! Wow! Aren’t you glad you elected us.” Do you want that on your next campaign flyer?

If had more time, I’d tell you what I really think about this bill. The card room bill is a bad bill, just say no.

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