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).

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


The era of our Revolutionary War is my favorite period of American history. I’ve discovered the politics of the Revolutionary period - the "War of American Independence" - is not so dissimilar from today.

The leaders of our Revolution, and the American colonists who supported them, were the “Patriots.” Those who supported King George III of Great Britain and his cronies – and who were satisfied with the status quo - were the “Loyalists.” Of course, some supported neither side, just wanted to be left alone, were satisfied to “go with the flow,” and didn’t have a clue about the politics of the day. The Patriots were in the minority of these three groups, vastly outnumbered by the Loyalists and the uninvolved.

Now, fast forward to the year 2005 and consider the 24th Alaska Legislature – and think of the forty in the House and the twenty in the Senate as a colonial organization.

H’mmmm: a question to ponder. Which of the sixty representatives and senators would be the Patriots, the Loyalists, and the clueless? If you think I’m going to offer an opinion – well, you have another think coming!

Monday, August 29, 2005


My granddad was a World War I veteran, both my mother and father were World War II veterans, and I’m proud to be a Vietnam veteran. At one time, the majority of persons elected to Congress, and legislatures throughout the nation, were veterans. Unfortunately, that’s not the case today. Military veterans are now the exception in elective offices. No one truly knows what it means to be a veteran unless they’ve “been there” and “done that.”

Our state is blessed with more than 70,000 veterans over age 65. Alaska owes a “Debt of Honor” and it’s been long past due. We sent our youth to World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and other bloody scenes of battle. They have 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.

And now, Alaska has taken the first step!

On August 29th I attended the groundbreaking celebration for the Alaska Veterans’ and Pioneers’ Home in Palmer. No longer is Alaska one of the two states without a veterans’ home of any kind. Congratulations to the administration, the legislature, and everyone involved, for the hard work in bringing about the fine new facility for veterans. Senators Lyda Green and Charlie Huggins, and the entire Matsu legislative delegation deserve special thanks. Now we need to work on a separate State Veterans’ Home but, as the saying goes, we’ve already “done good.”

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 United States Armed Forces, and America.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


I've have consistently opposed the so-called medical provider "Certificate of Need" program as it currently exists. The following article in the Alaska Journal of Commerce comments on my co-sponsorship of an initiative for the 2006 ballot to abolish the rule. In other words, I've put my name where my mouth is.


Alaskans for Medical Choice and Competition, a group of health care providers and businesses, have filed an initiative with the state Division of Elections that would abolish the state's Certificate of Need program in municipalities with populations over 25,000.

The Certificate of Need program requires health care facilities wishing to add equipment or facilities valued at more than $1 million to first receive licensing from the state.
Paul Fuhs, a marine consultant and lobbyist, filed the petition along with two state legislators, state Reps. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, and Vic Kohring, R-Wasilla.

Fuhs said the initiative is aimed at reducing health care costs by promoting competition in medical services in the state's largest communities. Competition is now limited by the Certificate of Need, which Fuhs says allows major health care providers to maintain a monopoly on certain kinds of services offered locally.

Smaller providers are blocked from purchasing equipment and offering services at a lower cost, he said. The proposal would not affect hospitals in medium-sized or smaller communities, Fuhs said.

The two legislative sponsors of the initiative also introduced legislation, in House Bill 287, that would also repeal the Certificate of Need program, mirroring what the initiative would accomplish. House Majority Leader Rep. John Coghill and Finance Co-chair Rep. Mike Chenault are co-sponsors of HB 287 with Lynn and Kohring.

"Consumer choice and competition are the bedrock of the American economy," Lynn said. "Government should not be restricting what qualified medical services people have. If someone can provide the service at a lower cost to the consumer, government should not be standing in the way."

Fuhs said the initiative is being pushed so that if the Legislature fails to act on HB 287 the voters would be able to decide the issue on the ballot.

"Higher health care costs are hurting Alaskan businesses and consumers as more and more people can't afford health insurance," Fuhs said. "High health care costs were also the driving force in last year's legislative battles over state employee retirement systems and workers' compensation. Unless we do something about it, health care costs are going to break the system."

If the initiative petition is approved by Lt. Gov. Loren Leman, signatures must gathered to have the question placed on the 2006 state general election ballot.

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Hats off, Kudos, Congratulations” to my legislative colleagues in the Fairbanks area! Sen. Ted Stevens, General Craig Campbell and his team, University of Alaska President Mark Hamilton, and especially to the entire Fairbanks and North Pole community, and everyone else involved, for a “good job well done” in saving Eielson Air Force Base at North Pole from closure.

The outstanding team effort convinced the Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) that Eielson AFB is vital to the defense of the United States and Alaska, and that alleged cost savings for the proposed closure were inaccurate. An additional benefit is that the Fairbanks/North Pole community is spared from devastating economic loss.

My House Special Committee on Military and Veterans’ Affairs had sent a “Sense of the Committee” letter signed by me as Chairman, as well as every member of the committee, to the BRAC Commission opposing the closure of Eielson AFB. However, it was the team effort in the Fairbanks area that “carried the ball” in saving this critical base from closing. Again, “Hats off, Kudos, Congratulations”!!

Friday, August 26, 2005


Amazing as some may think, on occasion I’m almost at a loss of words to describe some current events. I present three examples: one in San Francisco, one in Washington DC, one in Tennessee.

CASE ONE: The zany city supervisors of San Francisco cast an 8-3 vote to ban the battleship USS Iowa from becoming an historic exhibit and permanent home by Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco Bay! This is the proud World War II battleship that helped fight America’s battles from World War II, to Korea, to the Persian Gulf, and the same vessel that carried President Franklin Delano Roosevelt home from the Teheran conference of allied leaders. In 1989, during a training exercise, 49 sailors were killed aboard the ship. The USS Iowa in San Francisco would have provided a place for veterans, history buffs, and students to walk the teak decks once trod by sailors dodging Japanese machine gun fire, and to see the sixteen inch guns that fired at the enemy throughout the South Pacific.

And why, I hear you ask, did the San Francisco City Supervisors bar the USS Iowa from San Francisco harbor? Because they are opposed to the war in Iraq, and the military’s stance on gays. What, pray tell, does this venerable battleship have to do with either of those issues? Nothing.

CASE TWO: The patients at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC now include hundreds of our honored wounded service men and women who suffered their injuries, earned the Purple Heart, and honored their nation by their service and their sacrifices on the field of battle. God Bless these heroes, and their families.
The war in Iraq is an issue, and reasonable people can disagree on the subject – but whatever the side one takes on the issue, our service people deserve our respect, and assuredly deserve our solace while they are recuperating from wounds sustained in battle.

Sadly, these fallen American heroes at Walter Reed Hospital are being used by anti-war protesters to advance their agenda. The protesters display mock caskets, and wave anti-American and anti-war signs in front of veterans, some with prosthetic limbs, entering and departing the hospital. A wacko woman named Medea Benjamin, co-founder of a group labeling itself as “Code Pink,” organizes the protests. Ms. Benjamin has supported the Viet Cong in Vietnam, and dictator Fidel Castro in Cuba. She schedules most demonstrations for Friday evenings, when family members of wounded soldiers usually visit the hospital.

A hospital for wounded American soldiers is not a place for such demonstrations. The protests at this venue are inexcusable and shameless. Wounded soldiers don’t need more torment. There are other places to protest against a war, if one feels the urge, right or wrong – but a hospital for wounded American soldiers is out of bounds. Go somewhere else, if protest you must.

CASE THREE: In Symra, Tennessee, protesters are attending funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq. They were even issued demonstration permits. And the reason for the grotesque protests? No, not the war. Because the protesters allege that the United States is, according to the Associated Press, “a nation that harbors gays.” Incredible.

“Over the top” is the kindest description I can use in describing these ridiculous and despicable protests – one in San Francisco, one in Washington DC, one in Tennessee.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Our fourth of six children visiting with us in Alaska, Robyn Morriss, arrived today with our granddaughter Regina. Robyn has never been to our Alaska home in Anchorage, but did visit with us in Juneau in January 2003 on the occasion of my first swearing into the State Legislature. Robyn and Regina are accompanied to Alaska with our son-in-law Rob Morriss who is a computer consultant.

Robyn Jan Morriss, CAE, is Vice President of Finance and Business Operations at the Reinsurance Association of America (RAA) on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington DC, and makes her home in Adelphi, Maryland. Robyn was born in Tucson, Arizona during the time I was a student at the University of Arizona and a cop with the Tucson Police Department. Previous employment included Motorola in Germany where she became fluent in German. Robyn has given us two grandchildren, Regina and Nathan (who is also fluent in German). Nathan is a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, and is currently living in Germany and seeking employment there in law enforcement.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Mary Renee Lynn has arrived tonight to add to our August family reunion, with our grandson Holden and our family friend Wes Wixo. Mary was born at Norton Air Force Base, San Bernardino, California during the time I was a Weapons Director at the Los Angeles Air Defense Sector where we utilized SAGE– the first computerized air defense technology.

Mary is a graduate of the University of North Dakota, where she graduated as a registered nurse. She an integral member of a specialized cardiac surgical team at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Mary makes her home in Grand Forks ND and is the mother our grandsons Josh and Holden.


You may have read the article in the Anchorage Daily news about my proposal for a gas pipeline dividend in the happy event that the pipeline finally becomes operational.

I think it's appropriate that a dividend program, similar to the Permanent Fund, be set up if and when the gas starts flowing to market. There are many obstacles to overcome, but I'm optimistic they'll be resolved.

Alaska is an "Owner State." The oil and gas belongs to every Alaskan man, woman, and child - so I think it's appropriate that an appropriate dividend to Alaskans be devised. It could be a dividend to individuals, a comunity dividend, a special fund for schools, or some combination thereof.

I don't care if it's a separate dividend check, or combined with the current PFD check. That's not the point. The point is, Mr. and Mrs. Alaska need to have some direct share of the wealth.

Some naysayers opine that my proposal is somehow "premature." Not so, say I. It's never too premature to plan. If and when we get money from a gas pipeline, we need to make plans on how to invest it prudently.

Since the article appeared as a headline in the paper, I've been invited to discuss the proposal on Channel 11 TV, on the Mike Porcaro Radio Show (KENI 650), and the Dan Fagan Radio SDjow (KFQD 750). As the saying goes, the proposal has "Legs"!

Monday, August 15, 2005


A Press Conference was held at the notorous intersection of Tudor and Lake Otis to congratulate US Congressman Don Young for his help in getting a major portion of the money needed to enhance traffic flow at the intersection. A large sign was unveiled that reads, "Help is Coming to Relieve Traffic Congestion"

Congressman Young reaffirmed that traffc congestion at the Lake Otis/Tudor will also be helped by the extension of Bragaw and Dowling Roads - and I concur completely.

Mayor Mark Begich hosted the Press Conference. Others at the Press Conference included former Mayor George Wuerch, and Representative Berta Gardner.


My son Bob Lynn - a constituent - has now arrived with his wife Jiangping Li.

Bob is a member of the United States Foreign Service serving as an Information Management Officer. Bob is in Alaska for a short leave while enroute from his former duty at the American Embassy at Tbilisi, Georgia (in the former Soviet Union) to the America Embassy at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. His former foreign service duty stations have included Zaire, Togo, Chad, Turkmenistan, and Venezuela. He was part of the team in Tbilisi that set up the communications for the May 2005 visit of President George Bush there - and for that work was submitted for a “Superior Honor Award” and a “Meritorious Service Increase Recommendation.”

Previously, Bob worked for Motorola Radio in Germany, Italy, and California (His travels are increasing my geographical vocabulary).

Bob was born at Chincoteague Naval Air Station, Virginia during the time I was a radar control officer at Cape Charles Air Force Station, Virginia. Our grandson from Bob is Niki Lynn, a loan officer in Riverside, California.


We held our Anchorage Caucus today at the Legislative Information Office (LIO) in Anchorage. The meeting was chaired by Senator Con Bunde (taking the place of Rep. Tom Anderson whose flight was weathered in at King Salmon). Other caucus members present were Representatives Kevin Meyer, Mike Hawker, and Les Gara.

We were briefed by Mayor Mark Begich on municipal issues, with an emphasis on the anti-gang task force. We were also briefed on the gang situation by Anchorage Chief of Police Walt Monegan.

We learned the major problem in reducing gang activity are bottlenecks in the court system, both at the judicial level and at the clerical level.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


We have six children, of which four are daughters. Four of the six children will be visiting with us this month, plus other family members. We call them “VFRs” i.e. “Visiting Friends and Relatives” – and what a pleasure it is.

First to arrive is our firstborn Debra Sue Aab of Moreno Valley, Riverside County, California (the city I helped found, served on the first City Council, and as Mayor Pro-Tem). Accompanying Debra is 1/18th of my grandchildren, Derek Aab a high school senior. She is the parent of four of our grandchildren: Danny, Tiffany, Dusty, and Derek.

Debra was born at Fort Monroe, Virginia during the period I was flying F94C interceptors at Langley AFB, Virginia. She’s a graduate of the St. Elizabeth School of Nursing at Dayton, Ohio.
Soon after graduation she moved to Southern California, and has worked as a nurse at the Riverside County Medical Center ever since.

Debra is very athletic (I have no idea where she ever inherited that!), ran the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon Race in Anchorage in 1996, and finished with a very respectable time. She is an avid adult soccer player, and has played in soccer tournaments around the country, including Hawaii.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Last night I attended the Community Celebration & Memorial for Jamboree Scout leaders at the Sullivan Arena. The Memorial honored Scout leaders Ronald Bitzer, Michael LaCroix, Scott Powell, and Michael Shibe who were killed in a tragic line-of-duty accident at the National Scout Jamboree in July. These men epitomized the values of Scouting. The program was appropriate and extremely well done. The tributes by the very diverse personalities of Senator Ted Stevens, Lt. Governor Loren Leman, and Mayor Mark Begich were truly moving and a credit to their offices.

I was a Cub Scouts for a short time, but was never a Boy Scout – and I’ve always regretted that. I am proud, however, to be the father of my son Bob Lynn, Jr. who, among many other accomplishments, is an Eagle Scout.

I support the Boy Scouts and the values and lifestyle Scouting promotes. The Scout Oath states, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” The Scout Law says, “A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.”

What, pray tell, could possibly be wrong about such ethics and values? Yet the Boy Scouts are under sustained assault by the ACLU and their fellow-travelers. Why? Because Scouts support the traditional family values espoused in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Sadly, we observe the same assault by these people on those of us who take our religion seriously.

If every man in the nation practiced the Scout Oath and Scout Law, most crime would be eliminated, families would be strengthened, and many vexing social ills would be history. God Bless Scouting.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


My optometrist told me, “Everybody gets cataracts in their eyes if they live long enough.” Apparently I have lived long enough. I was one of the 60 percent of all adults over age 60 with a cataract, which is a clouding of the eye's internal lens. As we age we learn more about our bodies, oft times because something needs fixing – just like when your automobile goes awry, you learn the name of the part that needs replacing. In my case, it was time to trade in the old lens in my eye for an aspirin sized plastic optical lens. Just call me your “bionic legislator.”

I selected Dr. Robert O. Ford as my eye surgeon. It was comforting that my referring optometrist is referring her own mother to Dr. Ford. Dr. Ford also did cataract surgery for my former legislative Chief of Staff Bill ”Tom” Moffatt, and I had witnessed that surgery. I had also heard Dr. Ford testify before the House Labor and Commerce Committee on eye care issues, and was impressed.

Was I nervous (translated: scared “fill-in-the-blank”)? Yes. But not to worry. Everything was painless, fast, and professional. I was especially impressed when Dr. Ford volunteered a short prayer for God’s gift in helping him to help me to see better. To me, whatever gifts any of have are a Gift from God, whether the Gift is excellence in eye surgery, parenting, the arts, daily work, or whatever. I also liked it when I found out Dr. Ford is a jet pilot – hey, us jet pilots can do anything!

The actual cataract surgery involves “phacoemulsification” as a way to extract the cataract clouded natural lens through a tiny 3mm incision. Next an ultrasound probe is used to break the lens apart without harming the capsule in which the lens resides. These fragments are then sucked (“aspirated” is the euphemism) out of the eye. A plastic intraocular lens is then inserted into the eye where the old lens used to be. No “embroidery” stitches are needed to close the incision, because it’s self-sealing.

So how am I doing?

Well, the cataract was removed, the new lens put in place, and the eye surgery was completed about 11AM. It’s now about 9PM, and I’m at my computer writing this blog, and doing great. I’m already seeing much better. The most difficult part of the operation was walking through the door! In fact, I’ll have the smaller cataract in my left eye replaced with another Superman lens in September. What a wonderful age in which we are privileged to live!

Saturday, August 06, 2005


While at the bank this morning, another customer came into the bank and told us there had been a shooting at the Dimond Mall, across the street. We had heard the sirens. He said several shots had been fired, and that shoppers were diving for cover.

I am very very angry. We must not - repeat, must not - let our town and our state degenerate into another gangland. I thought I’d escaped that when I moved away from my boyhood home in East Los Angeles. When the Dimond Mall shooters are found, they need to be locked up, put on a bread and water diet, and the keys to their cells thrown away.

I know Anchorage Mayor Begich is organizing an Anti-Gang Task Force. I strongly support that effort. I know some have criticized the anti-gang task force and alleged it’s “political posturing” for partisan purposes. I’m not concerned about anybody’s alleged political one-upmanship or assigning motivations. What I am concerned about making it safe for my family to go to the mall, or drive down the street. I’ve already been shot at in Vietnam. I don’t need the same experience here in Anchorage.

My political analysis is that if some gang-banger attacks me or my family, he’s not going to ask our political party affiliation. Stopping gang violence should be one thing on which people of every political persuasion can agree. If we need more cops and troopers, let’s hire them. My family’s safety has a higher priority than niceties like trails, museums, and “one-percent” for the arts. When the next budget cycle comes around, I’ll support allocating extra bucks for bipartisan hardball actions that will get the evil of gang outrages under control. Let's expand the anti-gang task force to a partnership between the municipalities and the state.

The enemy isn't the other guy's political party, the enemies are out-of-control hoods - and it's long past time we act accordingly.


A busy Saturday:

MINNIE PEARL ACT: First stop was routine personal business at my bank across the street from the Dimond Mall. A kindly lady in line with me asked if she could help me – to remove the price tag hanging from a new shirt I bought yesterday!! She asked if I was related to Minnie Pearl (the old time country comedian famous for the price tag hanging from her hat). I thanked the lady for her help and advised her that, "no" Minnie Pearl isn’t on my family tree and, despite the price tag, this politician isn’t for sale! I can rationalize the whole embarrassment by thinking that, for every politician with a price tag hanging from their shirt, there’s a voter out there someplace with a price tag hanging from their shirt.

PICNICS AND AWARDS: Dropped by to say hello to folks at the Alaska State Employees Association (ASEA) picnic on the grounds of my American Legion Post on Brayton Road in Anchorage. Good food and camaraderie. Next stop was the Anchorage Senior Center to attend the Alaska Assisted Living Association award gathering and picnic (as both my schedule and my scale will attest, I like picnics). At the picnic, Rep. Sharon Cissna was recognized for her good work on assisted living issues. And thank you Sharon, for your nice words about me - I was so impressed that I might even vote for myself!!

TOOTING MY HORN: Played a gig this afternoon with the Anchorage Community Concert Band, of which I’m a ten year member, at the Anchorage Saturday Market. It’s conducted by Neil Haglund, also a resident of District 31, and a music teacher with the Anchorage School District.

I play an antique Buffet Baritone Sax. The instrument weighs a ton, and when I lug it around, I wish I’d taken up piccolo in its place. But the bari sax is “me,” and I love playing it. Music (and photography) is how I unwind from politics and other business of the day.

Most of us in the band are amateur musicians, and we couldn’t make a living at it if we tried. We come from a variety of musical backgrounds. I started playing sax in the fifth grade. As a kid, I played in the Los Angeles Sheriffs’ Boys Band (marched in the Pasadena (California) Rose Parade six times with that band), the East Los Angeles Lions Club Band, and the Elks Junior 99 Band. In those halcyon days, almost every community had a kid band, ands the community was better for it. At my alma mater Garfield High School, I played in the Bulldog Football Band (also Drum Major and baton twirler), the school orchestra, the swing band, and the advanced ensemble (played bassoon in that group).

When I enlisted in the Air force, my first assignment was the 541st Air Force Band, at Williams Air Force Base, Chandler, Arizona (the base is now defunct - but not because of the band). One day the Band First Sergeant called me into his office, and explained to me that while I was doing OK as a musician, that I should put down my horn, join Aviation Cadets, learn to fly, and get an officer’s commission – which I did.

Thirty-six years later in California, I took up my horn again (Buescher 400 alto sax - paid for by income as a bit actor in "State of the Union') and joined the American Bavarian Brass Band, known affectionately as the “Pass Gassers” – playing oompah pa pa Bavarian polkas, cry-in-your-beer schmaltzy waltzes, and stirring German marches. We played all the Okterberfests, attired in lederhosen, stutzen socks, embroidered shirts, and edelweiss ties. I was also the “chicken dance” instructor, and led the “Grand Marsch” with a big baton which I traded at the end of the march for a twirling baton for a short baton twirling act. I didn’t do the twirling as well as I did in high school, of course, but folks didn’t notice because they were surprised to see a fat old man twirl a baton, regardless of his current skill! I love Oktoberfest music – and, in fact, all types of music including country, classical, and big band swing. . .

The point of all this is, music has a place in the school curriculum. It teaches more than just tooting your horn. It teaches teamwork, discipline, counting, and among many other things, an appreciation for music. .

Friday, August 05, 2005

Killed in Action - Hadith, Iraq
2001 Service High School graduate, Anchorage, Alaska
Semper Fi


My Summer 2005 legislative news letter has gone to press. If we can trust the postoffice, it should be in constituent mailboxes sometime next week. It's titled, "Bob Lynn Communicates - Straight Talk from the Alaska Legislature." It's an eight page tabloid.

I write every word in the newsletter, and put it together on my home computer, using Microsoft Publisher 2003. Ergo, all typos and other goofs are mine and mine alone.

I plan to start posting my newsletters on our legislative website. I hope to take the CD disk with the newsletter on it down to the state computer gurus this afternoon.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


I only had the pleasure of talking with Governor Jay Hammond perhaps four times. When Jay Hammond was governor, I was still living (reluctantly) in the Peoples’ Republic of California.

The first time I talked with Jay Hammond was when he and Governor Hickel testified together at a committee hearing in Anchorage (what a grand show that was!), another time at the Anchorage airport waiting room, once in the hall at Dimond Mall, and lastly a wonderful hour eating doughnuts with him at a chance meeting at the Huffman Carrs Market doughnut shop.

Governor Hammond waxed eloquent with me about an entire panoply of subjects as we enjoyed coffee and doughnuts together. I thought, “Gee, I hope I’m as sharp as he is when I’m his age.” Then I reconsidered and thought, “I wish I was as sharp as he is at my age now!!” Governor Hammond actually knew me by name only, but he acted as if he’d known me a lifetime – and he treated me with an unexpected respect that was a reflection of his being a gentleman (as well as a good politician!).

We probably disagreed on some core issues, but my impression and remembrance will always be that Jay Hammond had the innate ability to “think outside the box” in addressing issues. Most importantly, he had the indefinable aura of a leader – and that’s a rare quality. Alaska is a better place because of him.

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