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).

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Our Alaska Legislature traveled to Barrow to continue hearings on critical gas pipeline proposals. Barrow is 320 miles north of the Arctic Circle, where the sun never sets or shines for 82 days. Have a “bad day” or “bad night” night in this community of some 4700 folks, and it’ll last 82 consecutive times! The majority of residents in this remarkable town are Inupiat Eskimos, and a great number of them hunt the mighty whale for subsistence - as they have for centuries.

For thirty years the North Slope Borough, where Barrow is located, has produced the oil that is the basis for ninety percent of Alaska’s revenue. And our Permanent Fund Dividend check, I might add. And now this same borough is on the verge of producing natural gas – and more state riches – that will someday (I hope) travel down a gas to market. Mayor Itta of the North Star Borough welcomed us to Barrow, and endorsed the TC Alaska pipeline proposal. I was very happy that Governor Sarah Palin also traveled to Barrow for the occasion.

Yes, it was an expensive trip for our legislature to meet in Barrow. It was worth it. As Representative Reggie Joule (an Eskimo from Kotzebue) put it, “Yes it's expensive. But sometimes ignorance is more expensive than knowing something about the people in our state. We need to see are both ends of the spectrum.” He added, "We need to see where the resource comes from, but we also have a responsible to go to those places that aren't as fortunate, where they need different kinds of resources and different kinds of help." Most of the legislators were housed at the Ilisagvik College dormitory. There was no shortage of comment on the proposed TC Alaska gas pipeline. Likewise, there was also no shortage of opposition to any offshore drilling that could harm the whaling industry that’s more essential to the Barrow economy and culture than I realized. It’s one thing to read about it in a book, but nothing beats seeing it “in the real.”

The hearings in Barrow coincided with the Nalukataq Whaling Festival that gave me better insight to the Inupiat way of life. During the Nalukataq, the “Gift of the Whale” was distributed to both Barrow residents and guests in the form of whale meat (“guaq”) and “muktuk.” I’m an omnivorous representative, so of course I sampled both. No one needs to worry about competing with me for the muktuk, but the guaq – slices of frozen red whale meat – had a wonderful flavor.The Nalukataq also included the famed Eskimo blanket toss, but in this case I decided discretion was the better part of valor, and declined participation. Another highlight of the Barrow was driving a four-wheeler trip about eight miles northeast of Barrow to Point Barrow, the actual top of the entire American continent. Archeological excavations and pre-historic research is taking place there (but no one bothered me).


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