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, May 29, 2007


The World Trade Center held its 20th Annual Export Alaska Luncheon at the Egan Civic & Convention Center in Anchorage today. Over 400 attended, including consuls or their representatives from Japan, Australia, Great Britain, and Canada. Next to me at my table was the Consulate General of India, the Honorable B.S. Prakash.

Lt. Governor Sean Parnell presented the Governor’s Exporter of the Year Awards. US Senator Lisa Murkowski gave the keynote speech, entitled "Reducing Future Energy Costs: One Key to a Vibrant Export Future for Alaska." She stressed the relationship between energy costs, and every facet of economic development in Alaska and the entire nation. It used to be that industry moved to states with cheap labor, but today industry moves to places with less expensive energy. Good point, well presented.

The photo shows Lt. Governor Sean Parnell and Senator Murkowski.

Monday, May 28, 2007


Attended the Anchorage Memorial Day Ceremony at the Delaney Park Strip this morning, along with Representative Anna Fairclough. The Alaska Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club paraded onto the grounds, presented the colors, and performed the “Fallen Warrior” Ceremony. The photos show some of the floral memorial wreaths, and me with fellow Vietnam veterans Wev Shea and Laddie Shaw after the ceremony. I’m a member of Vietnam Veterans of America, and served in Vietnam during 1972-1973 at Monkey Mountain and Pleiku, and US Air Force, Retired.

This afternoon Marlene and enjoyed a cookout with family, friends, and beautiful Alaska summer-like weather.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Today was "Legislative Moving Day"! Session ended day before yesterday, our stuff for our Anchorage offices are packed, and ready to ship home. Unfortunately, if anyone has a case file a legislator is working on during this move time - well it's in one of those boxes somewhere.

The photo shows me at my chairman's seat in my House State Affairs Committee room, and my Chief of Staff Nancy Manly seated at the committee wittness table. I thought a picture is worth a thousand words of what happens during the legislative moves twice a year.


Dirk Moffatt, my staffer and former US Marine, helps me fold the "Old Glory" at Juneau legislative office for our trip home - where "Old Glory" will be up again in my Anchorage legislative office.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


The Navy Cruiser USS Bunker Hill visited Juneau. Her home port is San Diego. While in port her sailors helped construct a playground at Twin Lakes, just a couple miles north of town.

Marlene and I were honored this evening to attend the Captain’s Reception on the fantail of the ship. Governor Palin spoke for all of in honoring the US Navy, and welcoming the USS Bunker Hill to Alaska.

The US Bunker Hill, 567 feet in length, was commissioned in 1986. She was named after the famous Battle of Bunker Hill, which served as a victory to Americans by inspiring them to pursue their efforts and to eventually win their freedom from the British Crown.

From November 1990 through March 1991, the Bunker Hill deployed to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The ship directed the tactical employment of 26 ships and over 300 combat aircraft from six nations. The cruiser also launched a total of 28 Tomahawk cruise missiles against military targets in Iraq.

In March of 1996, China fired a series of missiles into the ocean near Taiwan. The Bunker Hill tracked the Chinese missiles with its radar, and used its Aegis Combat System to record each missile flight in detail.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


The gavel came down to close the first session of the 25th Alaska Legislature one minute before midnight on tonight, May 16th (Once again, the State of Alaska is safe!! - please smile). Next year’s session begins January 12th, 2008. During the interim, legislators maintain offices in their local areas. My interim office is in downtown Anchorage at 716 W. 4th Street (Southeast corner 4th and H), Room 330. Visitors welcome!

668 bills and resolutions were introduced into the State House and Senate, 196 of which passed both the House and the Senate. Those that didn’t pass both legislative bodies this year may be heard in the session beginning January 12th.

The most controversial issues this session were probably the gas pipeline, ethics, senior benefits, and benefits for “same sex partners.”

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Gavel to Gavel Television covers House floor sessions. During floor sessions, there are frequently (perhaps five to ten) "at eases" called by legislators to get questions answered, to get additional information, or sometimes to huddle with legislators of like mind.

During these "at eases," the Gavel to Gavel television audio from the House floor is turned off. The Gavel to Gavel audience gets the television broadcast of the legislators wandering around, but the sound is replaced by music.

During an "at ease" yesterday, one of my colleague's constituents phoned in and wanted to know what music was being played. The answer (are you ready?) was the theme from "The Titanic."

Inquiring minds want to know. Is there a message here about our legislature?

Saturday, May 12, 2007


HB109,the governor's bill on ethics passed the legislature today with a unanimous vote on the House floor. I'm proud to have been part of the process. Anchorage KTUU NBC TV news interviewed me on camera after the vote. The following is what I said on TV:

"This is really a landmark day for Alaska. It's a bill whose time had come. And I'd like to congratulate everybody for working together on this. It's been a bipartisan effort, both Republicans and Democrats working together to get this good legislation out," Lynn said. "I'm very, very happy about it. And we've talked about 'must haves' on AGIA (Alaska Gas Pipeline Inducement Act). Well, I think this was a 'must have' for the Legislature."

Obviously, no legislation will make a dishonest person honest. However, this ethics bill draws some bright lines to assist the ethically challenged. It helps repair the foundation of trust between voters and the people they elect, and the trust between elected officials. Good work, well done!


I was raised my my grandparents in East Los Angeles. My grandad John F. Lynn was a World War I army veteran. He was a "Field Clerk," a military rank that preceeded the modern rank of Warrant Officer.

My mother was a Staff Sergeant during World War II, stationed at Bari, Italy with the 15th Air Force. She was a "WAAC" (Womens' Army Auxiliary Army Corps); soon after, that changed to "WAC" (Womens' Army Corps). She served as a telephone and telegraph operator, and was in the first contingent of military women to overseas to a war zone.

I enlisted as a private in the "brown shoe" US Air Force in 1951, was commissioned and earned my wings in 1953, had a break in service to attend college between 1956 and 1962, and retired from the military in 1976 as a major.

My granddaughter Tiffany Aab is a US Navy veteran. She had sea duty on a carrier, and was also stationed in Guam.

Today, my grandson Josh Niewiadomski graduated from US Army Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. His mom and dad were there for the ceremonies, but Marlene and I couldn't attend because the legislature is in session. We're very proud of him. I'll update the blog with photos, as soon as I get them!

Truly, our family has a tradition of military service.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Today Governor Palin's approach to obtain a pipeline to take Alaska's north slope gas to market passed the legislature. It's called "AGIA," which stands for the Alaska Gas Pipeline Inducement Act."

I voted "Yes" on AGIA - to date the most important vote of my legislative career.

The legislation features a number of "Must Haves," that a successful bid must have to be included in the selection process. The Alaska's major oil producers are not happy with the "must haves." In fact, they are threatening not to submit a bid. Worse, there are implied threats they won't put "their" gas in the pipeline if some other entity wins the bid.

News flash. Alaska's gas and oil does not belong to the producers. Alaska's gas and oil is held in common by the people of Alaska. As former Governor Hickel puts it, "Alaska is an 'owner state.'" The fact is, the major producers only lease the oil and gas. If they refuse to put gas in an Alaska gas pipeline, they would be breaking the lease, and the State of Alaska would need to take appropriate action - and I think Governor Palin wouldn't hesitate a moment. Obviously, AGIA poses a risk to bidders, the current major producers, and the State of Alaska but, as the maxim goes, "With risk comes reward."

Could the AGIA legislation be improved? Probably. Would some flexability in the "must haves" been OK? Maybe. But perfection can be the enemy of progress. It's long past time to press ahead.

Governor Sarah Palin is a tough little lady who has demonstrated she has the political backbone to stand up to the "big guys" - and I'm proud of her. I'm also proud of the bipartisan support the governor's AGIA bill received in the legislature, both House and Senate.

Monday, May 07, 2007


House Joint Resolution (HJR) 9 came on the House floor today for legislative action that would allow Alaska voters to vote on a constitutional amendment to disallow state benefits to partners of "same-sex" (homosexual)couples. Passage of resolution to amend the Alaska Constitution requires a 2/3 vote of both the House and the Senate. HJR9 is sponsored by Re. John Coghill, and I am one of the co-sponsors. Following is my House speech in support of HJR9:
Mr. Speaker:

The issue before us today is about one thing and one thing only: the right of Alaskans to vote. Every one of us here has a right to vote on the issue before us today – whether we won our last election with a thousand votes or one vote, a hundred percent or one percent. That’s the way it works for us. And that’s the way it should work for the good people of Alaska who expressed themselves in the April advisory vote.

It's not a secret, Mr. Speaker. I support marriage between one man and one woman, and I believe marriage benefits should be limited to marriage. No one’s ever had to guess where I stand on that issue.

And let no one guess where I stand on another issue. No legislator should vote to block the right of their constituents’ right to vote on the issue of whether marriage benefits should be limited to married people. That would be unconscionable. And voters have a tendency to remember such things, and they should.

In a few minutes we’ll exercise our right to vote on the resolution before us. We have the right to vote "no." We have the right to vote "yes" – which I hope we’ll do. But, however we vote – wisely or foolishly - we’ll be exercising our right to vote. We have that right because our constituents trusted us to have it. Well, Mr. Speaker, we should trust our constituents’ votes, as they have trusted us. That’s why we should vote "yes" on this resolution. It's a matter of fairness.

I for one, couldn’t look my constituents in the eye, during the next election, and tell them that I couldn’t trust them to vote on the question of marriage benefits for only married people. We held an advisory vote, and our constituents gave us very clear direction –and that direction is, let them vote "yes" or "no" on marriage benefits for married people - but let them vote.

Vote yes on this amendment. This is America. This is Alaska. Let our constituents vote!
HJR9 failed to receive the 2/3 vote of the House necessary to pass. The vote was 22 for, 14 against, with 4 absent. 27 "yes" votes were needed to pass HJR9. Rep. Coghill's motion to reconsider our vote on HJR9 was approved - but, from my side of the issue, it will be difficult to find another 5 votes in the House to succeed. I find this situation very disheartening.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


The following are my comments under "Special Orders" at the end of today's session:

Mr. Speaker: The subject is “Dates.”

Hoy es Cinco de Mayo – the 5th of May. I was born and raised in the barrio of East Los Angeles, and attended the infamous Garfield High School, and the celebration of Cinco de Mayo with dancing, and mariachis, and good food was my favorite time of the year.

Cinco de Mayo has nothing to do with Mexican Independence Day. That’s in September. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Mexican victory over the French during the Battle of Puebla in 1862, in which a poorly armed militia of 4,500 men defeated a professional French army of 6,500 soldiers - which stopped the French invasion of Mexico.

The lesson of Cinco de Mayo is, the big guys don’t always win!

And, Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is seis de Mayo, the 6th of May – and at 3 minutes and 4 seconds after 2 AM, the time and date will be:

02:03:04 on the clock and 05/06/07 on the calendar or 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07. I tell you this to prove I'm a legislator who "counts."

That series of numbers for time and date won’t happen again for another 100 years – and at that time, one hundred years hence, the great-great grandchildren of my colleague on the left and the great-great grandchildren of my colleague on my right, can help me up from this seat here on the House floor, and I’ll tell you about it again.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Sad news today. Two former legislators and a current legislator were arrested on very serious federal charges. Prayers are in order for the families of these men and, yes, also for those arrested. Hopefully our justice system will work well, and justice will prevail.

Legislators, both individually and as a group, are unimportant. However the elected office held by legislators, and the legislature as a whole, is extremely important.

Trustworthiness is more important than experience, education, brainpower, political party, our personal finances, or positions on issues. Without a foundation of trust between legislative colleagues, and without a foundation of trust between legislators and the people who elect them, our American and Alaskan system of representative government suffers - and it suffered today.

It’s OK, it’s expected, that votes on issues may be questioned – honest people can arrive at different conclusions – but it’s never never OK if our votes aren’t trusted. Please keep us all in your prayers.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I harbor a dated concept that schools should teach reading, writing, arithmetic, history and geography (now morphed into “social studies”), music, art and yes, even vocational education. There may be other subjects (dare I say “home economics?”) worthy of curriculum inclusion, but surely you get my point. Please notice I didn’t mention “behavior surveys.”

Question: So why am I bringing up this up in today’s blog? Answer: House Bill 207, entitled “An Act relating to Questionnaires and Surveys Administered in Public Schools,” came before a committee this week. I voted “Do Not Pass.”

According to the bill’s Sponsor Statement, HB 207 changes parental consent requirements for “anonymous” school surveys from an active to passive consent. That means an opt-out instead of opt-in for your parental permission to conduct an “Anonymous” School Surveys on your kid. And what survey does the bill contemplate? – I hear you cry. It’s the invasive 99 question “Anonymous” School Survey called “The Alaska Youth Risk Behavior Survey (hereinafter in the blog to be called AYBS).”

Currently the AYBS cannot be given to students without signed parental consent. Good. That means a consent form to the parent via the child, returned to the school by the child: that’s called “active consent.” Unfortunately, HB207 would change it so “consent” occurs if the school doesn’t receive back a non-consent form from the parent. Come on now . . . I can tell you, both as a parent and retired teacher, that notes don’t always make it home, and all notes from home don’t make it back to school. This isn't rocket science.

So what’s included in the 99 question invasive “Anonymous” Survey? If you want to see for yourself, check out I don’t make this stuff up.

Let me report some of the more salacious questions (If I heard someone ask some of these questions to a kid selling lemonade from a sidewalk stand, I’d call the cops).

Question 1: How old are you? Response A is 12 years old or younger. Response F is 17 years old. Comment: If a child taking the survey wasn’t 12 years old or younger, pray tell what would be the purpose of Question 1?

Question 25: During the last 12 months, did you ever seriously consider attempting suicide?
Question 26: . . . did you make a plan about how you would attempt suicide?
Question 27: . . . how many times did you actually attempt suicide?
Possible answers are: 0, 1,2 or 3, 4 or 5, 6 or more times.

Comment: Well, if a kid hadn’t thought of suicide already, the survey takes care of that.

Question 47: Have you ever used marijuana? Answers range from 0 to 100 or more.
Questions 48 through 58 ask the same question about a plethora of other drugs the kids may not have even known about.

Comment: Hopefully, a kid who answers 0 on questions 47 to 58 doesn’t think of themselves an under-achiever. That would be bad for self-concept.

Now, the questions blog readers have been waiting for:

Question 60: Have you ever had sexual intercourse? Answer: Yes or No.

Question 61: How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the first time? Answers: I have never had sexual intercourse, 11 years old or younger, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17.

Question 62: . . . with how many people have you had sexual intercourse? Answers range from 0, to 6 or more.

Question 65: . . . did you or your partner use a condom?

Question 66: The last time you had sexual intercourse what method did you or your partner use to prevent pregnancy (select only one response) Answers: none, birth control pills, condoms, Depo-Provera, withdrawal, some other method, not sure.

Suggestion: How about adding a possible response to questions 60-66 of “None of your flipping (to use Governor Murkowski’s innocent word) business” after Yes or No?

Question 92: How often does one of your parents talk with you about what you’re doing in school? Comment: Here’s another opportunity for the answer “none of your flipping business.”

After taking this survey, it would be logical for a student to conclude that illegal and immoral conduct is normal and, if they answered with “low scores” on sexual activity, etc., think they are “abnormal,” or at least a nerd. No kid (or adult) wants to be abnormal. The ABYS is almost like peer pressure by survey.

It’s amazing to me that so many folks stridently call the Patriot Act and the Real ID Act “invasions of privacy,” but think nothing about assaults on privacy of our children and parents with surveys like the AYBS.

There are also other dangers to the ABYS. If parents refuse permission for the survey, what happens to the excused kids? Do they sit in a corner of the room, go to a study hall? Whatever, I’m sure kids who don't take the survey will be singled out. Knowing kids like I do, the excluded children will suffer cruel ridicule from the other kids. Shouldn’t happen. But it will.

The survey is supposed to be “anonymous.” Good. But anonmonity is easily subverted by anyone who would want to. If the survey is administered in a small class – maybe one to five – it’s even easier to discover identities.

Consider this: would you take a similar “anonymous” survey from your employer? Now here’s an interesting thought: would legislators submit themselves to an “anonymous” ABYS type "at risk" survey, if constituents approved?

Why do the schools want to give such surveys? Let’s be positive. Many good teachers and school administrators want to help “at risk” kids, and envision the ABYS survey as one way to do it. There’s probably no bad intent. They mean well, but they simply haven’t thought it through. Can some good come from such surveys? Sure. But, like most things, there can be both intended and unintended consequences. For me, the surveys are (as one commentator put it) “a sociological strip search” of children, and whatever good may result could be outweighed by the bad.

There’s also another reason schools want to change permission for the surveys from active to passive. Some state and federal grant programs require a certain percentage of surveys to be conducted to qualify. Grants can seduce districts into using surveys to interrogate students just to get the money. As we say in politics, “Follow the money.”

HB207 passed out of the committee today (but not with my vote), and continues its journey through the legislature. Win Some. Lose some.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


The Blue Star Banner is displayed by families who have a son or daughter in active military service. My Chief of Staff Nancy Manly displays the Blue Star Banner in our Juneau office. The Gold Star Banner recognizes families who suffered a son or daughter killed in military action.

Today I attended the ceremony today on the Capitol steps in which Gov. Sarah Palin honored Alaska's wounded veterans by signing the Alaska proclamation that designates May 1 as “Silver Star Day,” and use of the “Silver Star Banner.” The day recognizes wounded members of all armed forces from all wars, whether the wound was received in combat (earning the Purple Heart Medal), suffered a wound by friendly fire, post-traumatic stress disorder, Agent Orange effects and Gulf War syndrome. This is different than the “Silver Star Medal” awarded to military people for extraordinary heroism.

The photos show troops watching the ceremony, Gov. Palin signing the Proclamation, and Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, Senator Con Bunde, and me after the ceremony.

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