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, February 28, 2006


Fifty-four years ago today I enlisted as a private in the US Air Force at the recruiting office at Phoenix, Arizona. I was eighteen years old by only five days. My Air Force job specialty? “Apprentice Bassoonist,” Level 3. I kid thee not.

From Phoenix I rode the train to basic training at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas. In 1951, airmen usually traveled by train, not by plane. These were the old Air Force “brown shoe” days, when the snazzy blue uniform was new, brown shoes were optional, and the lowest rank was “private” not “airman.”

I was born in East Los Angeles, and had never been away from home. The entire Air Force experience marked many major turning points in my life, beginning with basic training and especially, a little over a year later, aviation cadets.

Monday, February 27, 2006


My House Special Committee on Military and Veterans HB245 legislation passed the House today with a unanimous vote. The bill creates a special Alaska license plate for recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, and will be issued at no cost. Currently, Alaska has no Medal of Honor residents, but with world affairs being what they are, that could change any day. This bill makes us ready.

Alaska already has a Purple Heart license plate for military service members wounded in action. HB245 now will issue the plate to POWs at no cost. POWs have already paid a very high cost in blood.

HB245 certainly isn’t a headline bill. It’s just a small token of respect to very special military people.


Sometimes I think I should sponsor a bill making it a felony not to write the names of people on the back of those old family photographs! Let’s face it, if we fail the chore, when we’re gone (pass on into history as it were) no one else in the family will have a clue who the heck those folks are in the box of photographs and old photo albums – not to mention the slides.

Like most everyone else, I have a zillion old family photos (even some dating into the 1800s), plus boxes of old color slides - they’re part of our family history. So I took a break Sunday from legislative business (forgive me!), and started scanning old photos/slides and burning them onto CDs (with captions) to send out to my kids. I try to repair the old photos with a computer picture editing program (I use primarily Photoshop Elements) to bring them back to life as best I can.

As a lot of people know, I’m a “wannabe-be” photographer and my legislative offices both in Anchorage and here in Juneau capitol office are replete with landscape photos (US Sen. Barry Goldwater was also a photographer, and he didn’t get elected president either!). Frankly, I think my hobby photos are pretty good, and nothing boosts my ego more than coming home with a great photograph. Check out the link to my photos on my official legislative web site (the photographs are also on my political web site, but I dasn’t mention that!). But the photo work I did today was also rewarding because I’m sharing something really nice with my kids. Family sharing with family is what family is all about.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Apologies please, for delayed blog entries. Blog updates are important, but other legislative (and yes, personal) business has priority. It would be easy to merely list daily schedules and so on, but that’s available from other sources on the Internet (such as “Alaska Basis” at I prefer to use blog communications for personal comments about various issues, and to some of my committee and floor talks, letters, and press-releases a wider audience. That takes more time and thought, and I hope readers think it’s worth it.

The following recaps some of what’s happened since my last blog.

FEBRUARY 23 MY BIRTHDAY: I’m 73 today (age, not IQ). I’m in favor of birthdays. It beats the alternative.

FEBRUARY 23 WHERE SHOULD WE INVEST?: This morning in State Affairs Committee, we heard House Resolution 27, which proposes that the Permanent Fund Corporation, the people who provide our yearly dividend, not invest any of its 30 billion dollars in any company that does business with Iran or North Korea - nations that would like to wipe the United States off the map.

Representatives from the Permanent Fund Corporation stated investments are made strictly on the basis of "highest potential financial return" for a prudent investment. Sounds good . . . but the devil made me ask, “Does that include investing for a potential high return from a drug cartel or the Mafia?” The reply, “They aren’t traded on the public market! H’mmmm. The resolution was held in committee for another hearing. Stay tuned.

FEBRUARY 22 A BEVY OF BISHOPS: One of the neat things about being a legislator is the opportunity to do so many things for the first time. Case in point: it was just my wife and I with all the Catholic bishops of Alaska, at the home of their legislative representative in Juneau: Archbishop Emeritus Hurley, Archbishop Schwietz, Bishop Warfel of Juneau, Bishop Kettler of Fairbanks. Just conversation, and no agenda other than enjoying each other’s company, and hors d’oeuvres plus refreshments. That’s a first for Marlene and me.

As a Catholic I have met these gentlemen before, but only in a clerical setting – and then only briefly. Bishops are high-ranking church officials with major responsibilities for the faithful flock they shepherd, but at the same time are just “people” (like all clergy), same as the rest of us. This delightful, fun-filled, evening made the point.

FEBRUARY 15 PROTECTION OF “MAIL ORDER” BRIDES: Marriage by the “mail order bride” process is an old American practice, and many fine unions and good families have resulted from the process. But it is not without hazard (of course, the same could be said from the more usual marriage partner quest). Modern technology has resulted in Internet dating and marriage broker websites. Often, prospective dates and brides fill out questionnaires in an attempt to find compatible matches – and that’s good. Even so, there are some horror stories, especially for brides who come to America based upon serious misrepresentations of the man. Too often the brides come to Alaska from poor third world nations, and have limited or no English.

To help protect vulnerable women, I’ve co-sponsored HB402. With passage of HB402, a written notice must be sent to the prospective bride, in her native language, that includes information on the potential groom’s criminal history, a list of any restraining orders or protective orders, a complete marital history (and how each marriage was terminated), the rights of victims of marital abuse in the United States, and more. In politics, we call it full disclosure, and I’m in favor of it.

The bill was held in the House Labor and Commerce Committee, and s scheduled for another hearing March 1st.

FEBRUARY 13 SAFER CIGARETTES: Cigarettes that burn after they are dropped or discarded in Alaska have resulted in four percent of all residential fires, and 163 wildfires consuming 7,699 acres. This fact prompted the introduction House Bill 413 that reuires the sale in Alaska of “fire safe” cigarettes that feature a special paper thicker paper with “speed bumps" designed to stop them from burning when left unattended, as well as more loosely packed tobacco. Smokers tell me there is no difference in cigarette flavor. I had never before heard of “fire safe” cigarettes. Amazing what we learn here.

This bill would seem like common sense legislation, and the House State Affairs committee members thought so too, so we passed it out of committee with all “do pass” recommendations. Next committee of referral is the House Judiciary Committee.

FEBRUARY 9 HB345 BOWLING BALLS AND WET SPAGHETTI: What I call a “sounds good but isn’t” bill came before our House Special Committee on Education today. HB345 proposed that compulsory school attendance be increased to age seventeen. Currently, when a student turns age 16 they may drop out of school.

The presenter of the bill to our committee claimed that sixteen year old high school drop-outs lose educational opportunities, have lower lifetime incomes, half end up on public welfare, and half our prison population are high school drop-outs. I agree. There’s not very debatable.

But I’m a retired public school teacher, both regular and special education, so I had to speak my mind on this. I said that trying to keep kids in school past age sixteen, when they don’t want to be there, is akin to trying to push a bowling ball up hill with a piece of wet spaghetti. It doesn’t work. I could have said, “Never try to teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig" – but that would be venturing too far beyond the bounds of political correctness even for me, so I didn’t say that, repeat, didn’t say it.

Problem is, keeping a kid in school by force of law past age sixteen works an educational disservice to the kid, the other classroom students, and certainly the teacher. It’s not practical, and not fair. It’s a recipe for classroom disruption, and no education for anyone. The best way to keep a kid in school, whatever their age, is for the teaching and curricula to be both subject appropriate to the student and taught with excellence. Certainly some of the drop-outs might have stayed in school if a meaningful vocational opportunity were available.

The bill presenter countered that if we let kids drop out of school, they would be out on the street with no supervision and would get into trouble. Probably true. But that’s a problem for parents, or more likely the police. It’s not the job of schools to be babysitters – or wardens for juvenile delinquents. The job of schools is to teach. Having kids in the classroom who want to be there helps the teaching, aqnd makes the world a better place.

Next the presenter told our committee that the earlier we get kids in schools the better off they are. So I asked, what about age 6? She replied yes. Then I asked, what about age 5? Age 4? How about age 3, 2, or 1? How about taking kids away from parents straight out of the maternity ward and putting them into a government school? The point is, children don’t “belong” to Washington DC, to Juneau, or the local school district (See my blog of June 21, 2002 for a fuller exposition of that point)

The sponsor of this bill to keep kids in school means well. I want kids to stay in school also, but this bill is not they way to accomplish the goal.

FEBRUARY 8 HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Happy birthday to my wife Marlene on her birthday!

Friday, February 03, 2006


All active duty personnel are eligible for membership in veteran's organizations, including those under the age of 21. Current law causes a dilemma to the “under age” military service members. Here they are, eligible to join an organization, but unable to go to the meetings because they are under age. That’s ridiculous.

HB331 sponsored by Rep. Jim Elkins attempts to remedy that situation. This bill will allow active duty people under 21 to avail themselves of the club's amenities such as television, pool table, lounge, etc., but not to consume alcoholic beverages. The bill was heard in the House Labor and Commerce Committee today.

I feel strongly about this entire issue. The following is the comment I made during committee discussion.

“Rep. Bob Lynn: When a man or a woman are a member of the United States Armed Forces, and they are subject to being shot or killed in combat – that’s not the definition of a child. It’s the definition of an adult, whenever their chronological age. To my way of thinking, that military member deserves, and should have, all the rights and privileges of any other adult.

I may or may not personally approve of drinking, smoking, certain dancing, or being in a club which serves alcoholic beverages. Nonetheless, any member of the military is a de facto adult, and should be treated so.”

NOTE: The bill moved out of the Labor and Commerce with seven “Do Pass” recommendations – including mine.

Free Web Site Counter
Free Counter