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, November 27, 2007


I had a nice email from someone who enjoys reading the same military email list as me. He wrote, “I made it a habit not to talk politics nor religion with friend nor foe.”

I think he must very shy, and lead a very boring life. Speaking for myself, there’s hardly anything more interesting (or important) than talking “politics and religion”!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


For the first time in the history of Alaska Right to Life, an incumbent governor attended an Alaska Right to Life "Proudly Pro-Life Dinner." Governor Sarah Palin gave very strong, very heartmoving, witness to Pro-Life. She was followed by Lt. Governor Sean Parnell who gave equally strong Pro-Life testimony, with an emphasis on the role of men in Pro-Life and male resposibility. In the audience was another Pro-Life champion, former Lt. Governor Loren Leman. I was joined at the dinner with my wife Marlene, son John and daughter-in-law Ann Lynn.

Next came a talk by the Rev. Dr. Alveda King, neice of the famed Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. She related her journey to Pro-Life activism, and connected it her experiences with her uncle Martin Luther King. Attorneys Bob Finch and Kevin Carlson gave background on the recent Alaska Supreme Court decision overturning Parental Right of Notification for a minor child's abortion. I'm a former President, and Board Member, of Alaska Right to Life. About 300 attended the dinner, held at the Anchorage Captain Cook Hotel.

Monday, November 19, 2007


So much has been going on that I failed to mention that I made acquaintance with the famed wrestler Mick Foley of the World Wrestling Federation – also known as Cactus Jack, Mankind, Dude Love – during my October trip to China for the Summer Special Olympics. I met Mick at the Special Olympics reception in Shanghai. During the opening ceremony, the giant wrestler led the Saudi Arabian team out of the tunnel into the stadium.

So please remember, on the rare occasion time you don’t like one of my votes, I do know a very very powerful man. But he's also a great guy, and soft spoken (but then I had enough sense not to disagree with him).

Friday, November 16, 2007


An historic vote occurred today. Our legislature passed HB2001, Governor Palin’s oil tax modification bill, with a very strong affirmative vote of 26 to 13. I voted “Yes.” What I said in my November 11th Blog bears repeating, “Whether we voted yes or no on any of the amendments, or on the bill itself, we helped to rebuild the Foundation of Trust that’s needed between the good people of Alaska and those they elect to represent them. We conducted an open, honest, and respectful debate.”

Please know that every vote cast on the amendments, and on the bill itself, were tough votes. Like all votes, some good people will agree, and some will not. I based my votes on a broad range of input from constituents, as well as from expert consultants, testimony from the producers, and debate in the various committees and on the Senate floor and House floor. Obviously, all decisions are based on information of the present - with the hope that the future will prove us correct.

I’m pleased that tax deductions for costs of repairs caused by negligence are no longer allowed. But I must say I’m very unhappy with part of the tax being made retroactive, because that is inherently unfair. But, as one of my favorite colleagues put it, voting on a bill like this is something like buying a cable TV package. To get what’s needed you have to take some of what you don’t want. It’s truisms that politics is the art of compromise, and perfection is the enemy of progress.
The industry did end up with the tax calculated on net profits, not the gross, and that is what they wanted. Companies which invest in Alaska will get nice rebates. It’s likely the final vote on the oil tax debate will increase the economic certainty that’s needed for the industry and all parties concerned, for a least a couple of decades – and that’s good. With this issue behind us, it’s time for Alaskans to come together, look to the future, and move forward. I try to be an optimist, whatever happens. I appreciate your support, especially when tough votes are cast.

Above is the photo I took of the Vote Tally Board from my seat on the House floor, and a photo showing a happy Governor Sarah Palin and Commissioner of Revenue Pat Galvin (a constituent) at the Governor’s Press Conference, shortly after HB2001 passed the legislature.


Just before our critical vote on oil taxes, I was invited to Governor Palin’s office for a press conference for her announcement of her Alaska Supreme Court Justice nominee, to replace Justice Alexander Bryner who is retiring. This was the first historic event of the day, the second being the historic vote on HB2001.

Governor Palin nominated Fairbanks attorney Daniel Winfree to our Supreme Court. He is also Palin's first appointment to the five-member court. Winfree will be the 19th justice appointed to Alaska’s Supreme Court.

In her nominating statement, Governor Palin wrote, "In his life and legal career, Daniel Winfree has demonstrated an impressive intellect, a generous heart and a profound respect for the legal system and Constitution,” Winfree told the press people, “The goal of every Supreme Court justice is not to legislate but to interpret the law, and I plan to follow that as well as I can." That sounds good to me.

My friend and legislative colleague Rep. Mike Kelly who knows Alexander Winfree, and has worked with him, described Winfree as "bone-honest."

My photo (I almost always carry a pocket camera) shows the nominee and Mrs. Winfree, with Governor Palin, answering questions from AP reporter Steve Quinn, and vieeo being taken by Anchorage Channel 11.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


There’s something Vietnam vets say when they meet each other, and that’s “Welcome Home.” So I’d like to say “Welcome Home” to my Vietnam vet colleagues, and to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other dangerous places. We support you, we’re praying for you, and we’re waiting to welcome you home also.

President John F. Kennedy, himself a veteran, expressed it well when he wrote, "A nation reveals itself not only by the citizens it produces, but also by the citizens it honors, the citizens it remembers."

I like all kinds of music, and that includes classic country music. I was listening the other night to an old Merle Haggard hit called “The Fighting Side of Me,” and I think some of the words of that great song are very appropriate to Veterans’ Day. I don’t sing this song, because I’d like to be re-elected - but I would like to share some of the words:

"I hear people talkin' bad, Harpin' on the wars we fight, An' gripin' 'bout the way things oughta be; An' I don't mind 'em switchin' sides, An' standin' up for things they believe; But when they're runnin' down my country, man, they're walkin' on the fightin' side of me.

Runnin' down our way of life, Our fightin' men have fought and died to keep. If you don't love it, leave it: When you're runnin' down my country, man, You're walkin' on the fightin' side of me."

And to those words I say Amen!

Veterans’ Day is very special to me. I come from a military family. My 5th Great-Grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War, several cousins who fought in the Civil War, and an uncle in the Spanish-Amerrican War. My granddad who raised me was a World War I veteran. Both my late mother and father were World War II veterans – and my mother was one of the first women to serve our country overseas. She served in the WACS with the 15th Air Force at Bari, Italy when the place was still being bombed by the Luftwaffe. I have a grand-daughter who’s a US Navy veteran, and a grandson in the Utah Army National Guard. I’m an Air force retiree, and one of many who are proud to be Vietnam vets.


I think the legislature did itself proud last night on HB2001, Governor Palin's ACES bill to restructure oil taxes. Whether we voted yes or no on any of the amendments, or on the bill itself, we helped to rebuild the Foundation of Trust that’s needed between the good people of Alaska and those they elect to represent them. We conducted an open, honest, and respectful debate. It wasn’t the food fight that could have happened. We "done good."

The legislature paid a lot of money to expert consultants, and they all said that 25% base rate was the way to go. Last year, even former Governor Murkowski’s consultant, Pedro Van Meurs, recommended 25% before the governor, and who knows who else, beat him down to 20%

Basically, our House floor session was a polite debate between the optimists and the pessimists. Now I’m an optimist. I don’t preach gloom and doom, and I don’t think the sky’s going to fall. Our vote will provide the long-term stability the producers want - and rightfully so. It will give us more opportunity to pay down PERS/STRS debts, and to repay our debt to the Constitutional Budget Reserve, and maybe add some to the Permanent Fund. Whatever, we shouldn’t “tinkle” any added revenue away.

I don’t know what our friends in the Senate are going to do – or how we’ll resolve any conflicts in Conference committee – but, like I said, I’m an optimist.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


A Press Conference was conducted today in the Speaker’s Chamber by Senator Fred Dyson and Representative John Coghill to discuss the recent parental consent decision by the Alaska Supreme Court. I attended the conference, along with Rep. Mike Kelly, Rep. Nancy Dahlstrom, Rep. Bill Stoltze, Rep. Kevin Myers, Rep. Craig Johnson, Senator Donny Olson, and others.

I made the statement that the Supreme Court had committed aggravated assault on parental rights, and is making parents irrelevant. Several of us made the point that this case is not relevant to the abortion debate, it’s about parent rights.

A preliminary draft of a resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to consent of a parent or legal guardian before an abortion is provided to a minor was released to the media. The resolution will be introduced into the legislature in January 2008 (it can’t be done during our Special Session). I’ll be a proud co-sponsor of the resolution. The draft language follows:


Section 1. Article 1. The Constitution of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to read:

Section XX Abortions for minors. “Notwithstanding any other provision of the Constitution, a parent or guardian is entitled to direct and control the medical care of their minor child. Subject only to emergency situations as defined by the legislature, and a judicial bypass procedure as created by the legislature consistent with the criteria set forth in Bellotti v. Baird 443 U.S. 622 (1979).

Section 2. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be placed before the voters of the State at the next general election in conformity with Art. XIII, Sec 1, Constitution of the State of Alaska, and the election laws of the state."

The Alaska Supreme Court has let the parental consent legislation lie dormant for some ten years. Governor Palin will soon be appointing a new Supreme Court Justice, who could upset the current philosophical bias of the Court. Now suddenly the current Court has an uncontrollable urge to overturn the parental consent law. If you believe this is a coincidence, I have a bridge to the moon I’d like to sell you.

Monday, November 05, 2007


The Alaska Supreme Court has committed “aggravated assault” on parental rights when it voted 3-2 to overturn parental consent for a minor child’s abortion. Justice Walter Carpeneti wrote the dissenting opinion on behalf of himself and Justice Warren Matthews. They're not guilty.

This ruling isn’t about Pro-Life versus pro-choice. So there’s no mistake, let me disclose that I am in fact “Pro-Life,” and that I believe in the protection of innocent human life from the moment of conception until natural death. That said, this ruling isn’t really about abortion, it’s about parental rights, and the Court’s assumption that they always know better than parents. This Alaska Supreme Court ruling has made parents irrelevant. That’s outrageous.

Newsflash: One doesn’t cease being a parent when a minor child gets pregnant. A “rose is a rose is a rose,” and a “minor child is a minor child is a minor child.”

My very first Blog (look it up) was for June 21, 2002, and was an article I had published in Anchorage’s Parents and Children Magazine. The first three sentences of that article follow: “Children are a Gift from God entrusted to the care of parents for a proper upbringing. Children don’t belong to Washington DC, or Juneau, or the local school district. Parents are responsible for educating their children and no one else. . .” Well, I should have added that “children don’t belong to the Alaska Supreme Court.” Children need to be educated and prepared about medical procedures by parents, whether or not I personally believe a particular medical “procedure” is moral.

It’s beyond incredulous that a minor child can’t be given an aspirin or get their ears pierced without parental notification and consent, but our Court rules that the same child can undergo a potentially dangerous (fatal for the unborn grandchild) operation. By the way, if something goes medically wrong for the minor mother during the operation, will the court be liable and pay medical costs? I think not.

So what to do? I agree with Governor Palin’s request to the Supreme Court for a re-hearing of the case – but have little faith the Court will do so. I will personally sponsor or happily co-sponsor legislation that will require parental consent for abortion (or at least parental notification). Hopefully we will have the ¾ vote in both the House and Senate necessary to pass such common sense legislation. I have told the governor that we should, if necessary (and it likely is), take the case to the United States Supreme Court. I hope she does.

On the home front, when judges are up for a vote of retention, their rulings and how they arrived at those rulings should be considered. The Alaska Judicial Council recommends candidates to the governor to choose between for appointment to judgeships; it’s in the Alaska Constitution. The whole process of judicial appointments are made needs to be re-evaluated, and possibly the Constitution amended. Some concentrated prayer would also be of assistance, but here on planet earth we need to do our human part of the job to protect both parents and children.

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Overshadowing even the raucous debate over oil taxes in Alaska has been the destiny of Maggie the Elephant, who has long inhabited the Alaska Zoo – located a few blocks from my home. In Anchorage, I live near the zoo. During legislative session in Juneau I wonder perhaps if I am in the zoo. Whatever, Maggie has now been transported to a sunny new home in California courtesy of TV persona Bob Barker and an Air Force C-17, and appears to be most happy (but it’s difficult to read elephant expressions). Congratulations Maggie.

Before Maggie’s move south, a newsperson asked me if I thought Maggie would be happier in California than in Alaska. To which I answered, “I don’t know. I’m not an pachedyrm therapist.”

Well, if Maggie is happy, so am I. Now if we could get all the warm sunny states – especially the hot ones – to return our seals, walruses, polar bears, and other northern critters to the comfortable cool climes of Alaska, the world would be a better place.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


My son Bob Lynn Jr. has served the last two years with the Foreign Service at the US Embassy at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. His new assignment is the US Embassy at Vientiane, Laos (that’s not too distant from where I was stationed at Udorn, Thailand in 1973). Bob and my daughter-in-law Jiangping Li Lynn visited with us recently in Anchorage, between Foreign Service assignments. What a joy!

So far, Bob has served his country with the Foreign Service in Washington DC, Zaire, Togo, Chad, Turkmenistan, Venezuela, the Georgia Republic, Mongolia – plus temporary duty all over the planet to places no one has ever heard of – and now Laos. Before Bob’s embassy service, he did radio work for Motorola in Germany and Italy, and before that was a locksmith in California (which some claim is also a foreign country). Whatever, I’ve learned a lot of geographical place names since Bob started his career.

Like all of our children, his mom and I are very very proud of Bob. His work at the embassy involves radio and telephone communications, computers, and other esoteric gizmos about which I have no clue and probably shouldn't. He certainly didn’t inherit his considerable skill of managing invisible electrons and racing radio waves through the atmosphere from me.

For the first time, Marlene and I had three of our children – Bob, John, Mary - (that’s half) with us for an extended period in Alaska. It was beyond wonderful. Among other good deeds, Bob helped me get my ailing home computer back in a semblance of order. Jianping treated us to “real” Chinese food. She also shares my passion for photography, and we did some “photo shoots” together around the Anchorage Bowl. It was a great family visit – but the time together was way too short.

PS: Bob told me that with his name he could campaign for my legislative seat, and use my yard signs. I gave him a fatherly “no way.”

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