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).

Monday, March 13, 2006


Today I carried Senate Bill 224, a bill to establish Older Alaskans’ Day, on the House floor. The following isn’t a verbatim of my floor speech, but it’s the script I spoke from.

Mr. Speaker

It's my honor to carry this bill establishing Older people Day, in recognition of the contributions of Alaskans over the age of sixty. I suppose at this point, some would say I should declare a conflict of interest because of my age. But the fact of the matter is, there shouldn’t be a conflict between the older and the younger - because each generation truly has so much to learn from the other.
Older Alaskans have lived the history younger people have only heard about - and it gives us a totally different frame of reference.

I grew up during the great Depression – and that history contributes to the fiscal conservatism of many older Alaskans.

Folks my age remember Pearl Harbor Day, December 7th, 1941, like yesterday – that was the 9/11 of older Alaskans – and the World War II of my youth instilled a basic patriotism and support of our troops that younger people didn’t experience – and certainly no one in those days talked about timetable to bring the troops home from World War II.

When President Roosevelt died, Harry Truman became president. Personally speaking, he’s one of my favorite Democrats – a plainspoken man of the people who didn’t take guff from anyone. In the youth of older Alaskans, the difference between Republicans and Democrats was mainly differences in the theory economics and taxation. Democrats and Republicans were in basic agreement about the social issues - if any politician in either party had espoused some of the things we hear today, voters would have come after them with a butterfly net.

Every older Alaskan was also touched by experiences of the great civil rights activities of the fifties and sixties. Personally, I was told to get out of a restaurant in Arizona because I walked in the front door with a Negro friend. On another occasion I almost got arrested for mistakenly sitting on a “colored” bus bench in Mississippi. Older Alaskans sometimes have a difficult time keeping up with the politically correct names for races – seniors try to keep up with “correct” terms: colored, negro, black, African-Americans – but can find ourselves one term behind younger people. As other examples, a flight attendant may be still a stewardess to a senior, and the “Human Resources Department” the Personnel Office.

Miscommunication sometimes occurs because different generations have different life experiences. For example, the other day, someone wanted me to ask a certain questions in a committee, and I joked, "Do you think I'm Charlie McCarthy? And are you Edgar Bergen?" And they answered, "Who's that?" I was shocked - but it taught me a good lesson. Generations should exchange information. I grew up on listening to the radio. They didn’t. Things older Alaskans take for granted, younger folks may have never heard about. But these kinds of experiences give seniors a kind of "institutional knowledge" that can be very helpful to younger people as they chart their way.

There’s a debate going on about building some bridges in Alaska. Well, there’s one bridge that should certainly be built – and that’s a bridge of information and respect between generations.

Mr. Speaker, this is a little bit of what Older Alaskans Day is about, and I ask my colleagues to join with me in voting yes on this bill.

Note: Passed 30 Yea, 5 Excused, 5 Absent


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