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, February 28, 2007


Chief Justice Dana Fabe today addressed a Joint Session of the Alaska Legislature. She hurried out of the House Chambers after her report to the Legislature without taking questions, unlike most luminaries who address Joint Sessions. She thereby avoided a question I had prepared for her, to wit:

“I have been taught that, in our system of government, the Judiciary, Legislative, and Executive branches are co-equal branches of government – no one branch of government having more power than the other. Furthermore, I have been taught that it is the legislative branch that appropriates money and makes laws - not the Judiciary. If this is true, how do you reconcile recent Court decisions that appear to legislate how the state spends its money?”


Fifty-six years ago today February 28th, 1951, I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and went by train from Phoenix, Arizona to basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio Texas. It was five days after my eighteenth birthday. Seems like yesterday.

Today, exactly fifty-six years later, February 28th, 2007 my grandson Josh Niewiadomski enlisted in the Army National Guard and traveled by plane to St. Louis, Missouri, and thence by bus to basic training at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri. Josh will be twenty years old in June.

I talked last night on the phone with Josh, and told him – yes, with a lump in my throat - how proud I am of him. No one ever leaves basic military training the same person. The most formative years of my life were in basic training, and later in Aviation Cadets. It’s tough stuff, but also great stuff. God Bless you Grandson Josh!

Friday, February 23, 2007


Marlene and I were priviledged tonight to attend the 2007 "Salute to the Military" banquet in Anchorage, sponsored by the Armed Forces YMCA. By coincidence, today was also my 74th birthday - and I can't imagine a better way to celebrate it. Young warrors were guests of honor and received special recognition. Active duty and retired military (like myself) wore formal mess dress uniforms or tuxedos with military decorations.

United States Senator Ted Stevens (affectionally known as "Uncle Ted") - a decorated fighter pilot himself - gave the best talk I've ever heard him deliver. Very inspiring.

The principal speaker at the banquest was four star General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - meaning he is the principal military advisor to the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council. General Pace is the first Marine to hold the top military job in thre United States. The man exudes what the military calls "command presence." In civilian terms, I suppose we could call it the "charisma of leadership."

Also saluting the military tonight was at the banquet was my good friend and constituent Ted Heller, US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Retired, and it was an honor to have my photo taken with him. Several of my legislative collegues were also present, including Speaker of the House John Harris. God Bless our military. They guard America's freedom.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I’m a newspaper reader – especially when it's free. On my flight from Juneau to Anchorage this afternoon, someone left a copy on my seat of the Ketchikan Daily News – a newspaper I never read before.

A front page newspaper feature, “Ketchikan on The Street,” asked nine worthies the burning question, “What significance, if any, does George Washington have on American life today?” An appropriate question, since today February 22nd is George Washington’s Birthday. Most of the responses were predictable – as one would hope.

However, a Mr. Dave Rayner responded, “During the Revolutionary War he made a bundle. I want to see capital punishment for corruption.” Newsflash: George Washington is very dead. The question of capital punishment is moot. Maybe Mr. Rayner would like to include capital punishment for corruption in the ethics bill we’re putting together!!

A Mr. Kerwin Carter also responded to the question about George Washington, and I quote, “He was a destroyer of towns of Indian Natives back East before he was president. He was employed by the British Army. He burned quite a few towns.” Wow!! I never knew Washington was a pyromaniac. As a matter of information, my 5th Great-Grand Uncle Van Buskirk was shot and Aunt Van Buskirk were tomahawked and scalped by Indians 16 miles north of Wheeling, West Virginia in 1792. Newsflash: The year is 2007. In the immortal words of Rodney King, “Can’t we all just get along?"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Alaska plays a central role in national defense. Lieutenant General Henry Obering, Director of US Air Force Missile Defense Agency, presented our Joint Armed Forces Committee with an unclassified update on the progress of America’s integrated layered Missile Defense System. Their mission: defend the United States from ballistic missiles of all ranges, during all phases of their flight.
Facilities in Alaska include Eareckson Air Station at Adak, Kodiak Island, and Fort Greely near Delta Junction. The missile facilities at Ft. Greely are operated by our own Alaska National Guard. In addition to adding to our safety, the Missile Defense Agency has pumped almost 626 million dollars into Alaska’s economy.

Much of the work is in cooperation with Boeing Aircraft Company, which has been an industry leader in national defense. I have first hand knowledge of Boeing’s expertise. During 1967 and 1968, I was one of seven Air Force officers selected for the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) “”Education with Industry” program at the Boeing Company in Seattle. During that program I had the opportunity of moving through each of Boeing’s divisions and working, shoulder-to-shoulder, with Boeing employees. That included my personal work with Minuteman missile design and development, and air defense systems. Much of that technology has evolved into the technological marvels of 2007.

I am a strong believer in national defense. Unless America survives as a nation, all other issues are moot.


Today Mr. Greg Wolf, Chief Executive Officer of the Alaska World Trade Center, briefed the House Special Committee on International Trade, Tourism, and Economic Development on its work. Rep. Mark Neuman is Committee Chair, and I am Vice-Chair. The photo is of Greg Wolf.

The mission of the World Trade Center is to assist Alaskans to successfully compete for trade and investment in the global market place. Alaska’s worldwide exports total 4 billion dollars – obviously, a “big deal,” because it’s nearly 10% of Alaska’s gross state product. That’s new, not recycled, money for Alaska. In fact, Alaska is one of the most trade orientated states in the nation. Exports to Canada are up 100%, exports to China have increased 41%, and exports to Korea have reached an all time high. That’s very good news. Geographically, Alaska is well placed for trade on the Pacific Rim – because we are on the Pacific Rim.

During the interim session when I’m in Anchorage, I attend as many Alaska World Trade Center functions as time permits. I especially enjoyed last year’s Alaska-China Business Conference.


The Anchorage Daily News is now charging for obituaries. That’s one more burden for survivors. Obviously, the rich and famous (or infamous) will have the details of their life splashed all over the newspaper without cost. But many good people, and many of our loved ones, go through an entire lifetime, and will never have their name in the newspaper. Not once. Is a free reasonably sized public service obituary too much to ask from the state’s leading paper? Apparently it is.

A lot of us read the obituaries. I read them every day. If my name isn’t there, I go do something. For those of us who are genealogical detectives researching family history, obituaries are a wellspring of historical information. If people can't afford obituaries, information for future generations is lost.

Yes, merchants make money selling caskets, funeral flowers, and sometimes clergy and singers are paid honorariums. I understand that better than most. During my last year in college I worked as an embalmer’s assistant at Bring’s Mortuary in Tucson, Arizona (“When business was dead, that was good”). But couldn’t the Daily News contribute, as a public service (perhaps deductible?) at least a 350-word obituary, with a fee for any extra words?

As a woman said on TV, "I like to read about people's accomplishments and adventures. It's part of our community." Hello Anchorage Daily News. Is anyone home?

Sunday, February 11, 2007


The sermon by Father Tony – we call it a “Homily” in the Catholic Church – was very good this Sunday (usually is). He related a story about a very rich businessman and a poor fisherman.

The businessman struck up a friendly conversation the fisherman, who was relaxing beside his old fishing boat after catching all the fish he needed.

Businessman: You caught a nice bunch of fish there.
Fisherman: Yes, I did. Thanks. The fishing was excellent today, and I could have caught many more.

Businessman: Why didn’t you. If you had caught more fish, you could have sold them in town and made a lot of money.

Fisherman: What would I have done with the money?
Businessman: With the extra money, you could have bought extra nets, caught more fish, and made even more money.

Fisherman: What would I have done with the money?
Businessman: Well, with extra money you could have bought a larger boat, caught even more fish, and one day could afford have an entire fleet of fishing boats. You could get rich, like me.

Fisherman: Why would I want to do that?
Businessman: Well you could lay back, relax, and enjoy life.

Fisherman: What do you think I’m doing now?????

Saturday, February 10, 2007


The Ethics Sub-Committee of my House State Affairs Committee held its second session today. Object: Meld the 15 proposed ethics bills plus various amendments of the House and Senate, plus Governor Palin’s ethics bill, into one “committee substitute” which we can debate and possibly amend by the full House State Affairs Committee.

As Associated Press reporter Anne Sutton accurately described it, the sub-committee “waded through a thicket of ethics reform bills Saturday as they worked to craft one piece of legislation to address myriad concerns.” About half of the fifty proposed changes to ethics-related legislation were considered today. An attempt will be made to consider the remaining changes this coming Thursday.

The Sub-Committee is chaired by Rep. John Coghill (also House Rules Chairman), and he is joined by Rep. Bob Roses and Rep. Gruenberg. That's two Republicans and a Democrat. I’m very pleased with the work these representatives are doing. My appointment of this hard-working ethics sub-committee is one of the smartest legislative things I’ve ever done. The work they are accomplishing would be well neigh impossible before the full House State Affairs Committee.

All of us have the same goal: pass legislation to enhance the trust relationship between the people of Alaska and their representatives. The legislation is too important to rush.

Friday, February 09, 2007

1957 + 50 YEARS = 2007

My grandson Nathan Miller is nearing the completion of Police Academy training in Maryland. I’m very proud of him.
My daughter Robyn, his mother, emailed me a photo of him in uniform.

In 1957 I was a cop in Tucson. I tell folks that I was a cop so long ago that I had to separate fights between Cain and Abel. I was 24 years old cop, same as Nathan is now. That brought forth a photo epiphany. I put together photos of Nathan and me in uniform, and labeled them “Grandpa Cop and Grandson Cop” 1957 + 50 = 2007.

If you can’t figure it out, I’m the cop on the left, fifty years younger and no beard. Grandson Cop Nathan is on the right.

My granddad John F. Lynn was a Los Angeles County Sheriff, and somewhere I’ve got a photo of him in uniform. When I find that photo, I’ll add it to the montage.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Governor Palin has put funding of the Longevity Bonus into the budget she sent to the legislature. It’s my hope that the legislative finance committees approve her request. If that happens, application procedures must be in place for re-application, and that’s why I sponsored HB79, which was heard in the House State Affairs Committee today and sent on to the next committee of referral (Judiciary Committee). The following is the script of my prepared remarks to the committee supporting my bill:
This bill, HB79, does not – repeat, does not – restore funding for the longevity bonus. It does, however, make re-application for the previous program possible for previously qualified bonus recipients. However, no applications will be issued, unless the governor and the legislature agree to re-fund the bonus program. First of all, some history for those not in the legislature during 2003 and 2004.

I made a written campaign promise to longevity bonus recipients during the summer of 2002 to do my best to protect the longevity bonus and I’ve done my best to keep that promise “come hell or high water.” As a matter of disclosure neither I, nor anyone in my family, ever qualified for the bonus.

On May 8th, 2003, the then Commissioner of Administration came before this State Affairs Committee and presented HB158, the previous governor’s bill to eliminate the longevity bonus program. I told the then commissioner, among other things, that I believed the longevity bonus was a de facto contract between Alaska and its senior citizens. I believe Rep. Gruenberg (A State Affairs Committee Member) was there at the time – and he didn’t amend anything I said! The previous governor’s bill passed out of the State Affairs Committee, but with five out of seven “Do Not Pass” recommendations.

A similar bill in the Senate to eliminate the bonus, SB117, came to the House floor for a final vote on May 20, 2003. The bill was defeated in the House on May 20, with a vote of 25 to 13, with 2 excused absences. As a result, the longevity bonus was saved. Thirteen of the legislators who voted against the governor’s bill to eliminate the longevity bonus are in today’s 25th Legislature: 8 Republicans and 5 Democrats, plus the two Democrats who were excused the day of the vote.

On June 12, 2003, the governor line-item vetoed funding for the longevity bonus that the legislature had restored.

On January 12, the first day of the next session, an attempt to call a Joint Session of the Legislature to override the governor’s veto funding failed. As a result, there has been no funding of the longevity bonus since the governor’s veto.

However, and this is the important part, the longevity bonus statutes have never – have never – been taken off the books. In other words, to restore the longevity bonus - as it was - requires that the program be funded. Governor Palin has included that funding in her budget – and, along with many others, I thank her for that.

If the administration and the legislature agree to fund the bonus – as I personally hope they will - legislation that permits formerly eligible persons to re-apply is required. And that’s what this bill is about, and nothing else. It is my desire, if possible, that we move this bill out of committee today.
Note: HB79 passed out of the House State Affairs Committee with the following recommendations: 3 Do Pass, 1 No Recommendation, 3 Amend. I signed the report as Committee Chair


Anna Nicole Smith, the human being, has died. Her gaudy public behavior, or the cause of her death, “natural” or otherwise, doesn‘t negate the fact that she was a mother’s daughter and a baby’s mother, and her death at such a young age was a tragic loss. The media circus and rumor frenzy is about TV ratings and selling tabloids, not someone’s humanity.

No, I do not approve of what I know of Smith’s lifestyle. But I do approve Anna Nicole giving birth to her child, when so many would have done otherwise. May she rest in peace.

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