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).

Friday, November 21, 2008


The high price of gasoline - especially the apparent disconnect between Alaska prices remaining high too long after they decrease in the Lower 48 - was the subject of our House Judiciary Committee in Anchorage today.

Our Judiciary Committee has met several times in an effort to get answers about the pricing of gasoline. The Alaska Department of Law is also conducting an investigation to determine whether criminal conduct is occurring. We won’t have the results of the investigation until mid to late December. Meanwhile, our Judiciary Committee doesn’t have access to what the Department of Law has been learned so far, because the on-going investigation is confidential.

Today we heard from Tesoro, as well as the Senior Economist with Econ One Research. Unfortunately, all we got was a garden variety economics lesson on supply and demand - which every member of the committee has a reasonable layman’s knowledge of already. To be blunt, we didn’t learn much that we didn’t know already.

The Judiciary Chair was adamant during the committee hearing that Governor Palin demand Alaska’s gasoline people come to her office for a face-to-face explanation of what is going on - for her to ask why the delay in Alaska for price reductions, as compared to Outside? I recommended the Chair directly phone or write a letter to the governor, if he thinks she ought to request such meetings.

In the afternoon our Judiciary Committee took public testimony. No one was shy in expressing their thoughts. There was palpable anger expressed by those who testified about pricing of gasoline in Alaska. Some even demanded some variety of price controls. There was opinion expressed that a price “fix” could be worse - by unintended consequence - than the problem. More committee meetings are planned in a continuing quest for information we can act upon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Yesterday was “World Toilet Day.” If it hadn’t been for Fox News, I wouldn’t have known anything about it. How could I have been so inattentive to current events? Hopefully I didn’t miss a Toilet Day Parade.

I researched this matter on Wikipedia (inquiring minds want to know). I learned a group of fifteen people organized the World Toilet Organization (WTO), and conducted a Toilet Summit in 2001. A toilet summit?? That must be a site (or “sight” - either way works) to behold. The WTO designed November 19th each year as “Toilet Day.” Maybe they made this decision while sitting on the summit. I have an urge to continue writing, but prudence tells me to end this blog now.

But before some uptight blog respondent takes me to task for frivolity on a serious subject, please let me add I’m well aware lack of proper toilet facilities exposes millions of good people throughout the world to deadly diseases - and that’s not funny at all. In our affluence we really do take too much for granted.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Nothing. One tiny scratch on my hand received when jumping into a bunker during a rocket attack in Vietnam on my radar site at Pleiku. I'm a very fortunate veteran. My mother was also a veteran: she served as a WAC served in Italy during World War II as a telegraph operator when the Luftwaffe was still bombing Bari. My Grandpa John: an Army Field Clerk (a rank that's now obsolete) who served in World War I - but never went overseas. My Fourth Great-Grandfather Jeremiah: a private in the New Jersey Militia during the Revolutionary War. Veterans all. It's an honor to be a veteran, regardless what "little" or "much" we did, or where or when we did it.

I wondered what I was going to blog on Veterans' Day. Surfing the Internet today for fun, I came across the following essay written by a US Marine Chaplain, that deserves to be shared in today's blog:

WHAT IS A VET: Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul´s ally forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can´t tell a vet just by looking. What is a Vet?

A vet is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel. The barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel. The nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

A vet is the POW who went away one person and came back another - or didn't come back AT ALL. The Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs. He/She is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand. The career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by. The three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

A vet is the old person bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his/her spouse were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come. An ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a person who offered some of life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs. A soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he/she is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded. Two little words that mean a lot, THANK YOU.

Remember November 11th is Veterans Day! It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.
by Father Dennis Edward OBrien, Chaplain, United States Marine Corps

Saturday, November 08, 2008


What did Ronald Reagan and Bob Lynn have in common? The secret’s out. We were both in the movies! Reagan was a movie star. I was - well - a movie “extra.”

Here’s how it happened. I grew up in East Los Angeles, far on the “other side of the tracks” from Hollywood – but I played sax in the Sheriff’s Boys Band directed by Colonel Vesey Walker (later the Disneyland Band leader). He had contacts with the moviemakers. When a child extra was needed for a movie that included a youth band, Colonel Walker was called. As a result, I got parts in three movies - and even got paid.

My first work in a Hollywood movie was in “Junior Army” released in 1942 by Columbia Pictures. The movie starred previous members of the “Dead End Kids,” Freddie Bartholomew, and others. If you’ve never heard of the Dead End Kids, that’s because you’re not an old geezer.

My second movie was “Smokey” released in 1946, starring Fred McMurray, Anne Baxter, and Burl Ives. I was in band that marched down the street.

My third and last movie was in 1947. I had a part in State of the Union” directed by Fred Capra, and starring Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Adolphe Menjou, and Angela Lansbury. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award but didn’t make it (it wasn’t my fault).

This movie was actually my first exposure to "politics." In the movie, Spencer Tracey plays an aircraft tycoon who is coerced into seeking the Republican Presidential nomination. Tracy, corrupted by the Washington power brokers, publicly compromises his values in order to get votes. During his election eve speech to the nation from his home, Spencer Tracey's conscience returns, he confesses what he has done, and apologizes on the radio to the nation (he wins, the presidency, of course). I’m in the kid band playing in Spencer Tracey’s living room, just before his speech (and you can actually see me). For many years, this State of the Union movie was played on black and white TV every four years during the presidential election cycle.

During the making of State of the Union, I was in the movie studio daily for two weeks. We went to school on the set in a corner of the studio under a tent (and the teaching, by the way, was quite good). We met all the stars, and we baked a cake we give to Katherine Hepburn on her birthday – I’ll post the photo when I find it. She was a gracious lady.

During breaks in shooting the movie, and going to school on the set, I wandered all over the studio grounds and met some of the biggest stars of that era, including the dancer Fred Astair and Elizabeth Taylor. I was paid $22.50 a day (a large sum in 1947), and with it bought the saxophone I still play today. I’ll bet you didn’t know your representative was in the movies!

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Our House Republican Majority met Wednesday and Thursday at the Alyeska Hotel in Girdwood for the “organization” that occurs biannually after elections (“Organization” – what a concept!). The purpose of the meeting is for the newly elected (or re-elected) Republicans to elect the Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, Rules Chair, and the Co-Chairs of the Finance Committee. Collectively, these leadership positions comprise the “House Leadership” that sets the tone in representing the Republican Caucus as a whole.

In some respects, this is the second campaign and election of the two year election cycle - and I'm here to tell you it can be just as tense and exciting as the general election. Obviously, everybody doesn’t get the position or committee they want. It is, after all, a political process.

The organizational meeting is a closed door caucus, and that’s quite legitimate. There is no legislation to consider because no legislation will be introduced until January. It’s also a discussion of personnel matters, which is always private. There are always political factions within a caucus (same with the Democrat caucus) that need to be reconciled, or at least accommodated to some degree. Votes for Caucus leadership, and for Committee Chairs, are by secret ballot, if there’s more than one candidate for a position. Basically, what we do and say in the organizational meeting is “family business.”

The new elected Speaker of the House is Rep. Mike Chenault from Nikiski, the new Majority Leader is Rep. Kyle Johanssen from Ketchikan, and Rep. John Coghill from North Pole is once again Chair of the Rules Committee. I was re-elected as Chair of the State Affairs Committee, and I’m very pleased with that. Committee membership in non-elected positions will be determined December 1st.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Alaska just concluded hard-fought (sometimes bitterly fought) political campaigns for President of the United States President, US Senator, and US Congressman. And there were winners or losers. But what did we see at Election Central in Anchorage’s Egan Center as the vote tallies came in?

We saw huge groups excited people - both happy and sad - loudly chanting their candidate’s names, wildly waving Obama and McCain signs, Stevens and Begich signs, as well as Young and Berkowitz signs. And they were peacefully intermingled all together.

That’s the genius of the American election process, and a tribute to our nation. “Winners” and “losers,” but no bloodshed. That scene doesn’t happen every place in the world. God Bless America.


There's a big smile on my face this morning. Last night I won re-election to the Alaska State House with a 72% win in a three-way race.

Do you remember the bumper sign prayer that reads, “Lord, let me be the person my dog thinks I am”? Well, I could say, “Lord, let me be the legislator those who voted for me think I am”!

I can only say, I’ll do my best I can to represent you properly. Thank you for the honor of your vote.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


To lose an election for president of the United States has to be a heart breaking experience.

Tonight's concession speech by Senator John McCain was the definition of eloquence and grace. It spoke inexpressible volumes about the Man’s character. The capital letter “M” in the word “Man” in the preceding sentence isn’t an error. With this speech McCain has proven himself to be a capital letter Man, both as a prisoner of war, and as a candidate. McCain's closing remark puts it in perspective, "Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history, we make history."

Saturday, November 01, 2008


When candidates rail about a “tough” elections, an image comes to mind.

It’s an image of Iraqi citizens campaigning for elective office – not afraid of an someone misrepresenting their position on TV, or a political smear piece in the mailbox, but afraid instead of he or his family being assassinated - because he had the audacity to stand for election.

It’s also the image of Iraqi citizens with ink on their finger who went to the polls to cast ballots for better government - despite death threats from terrorists

Folks, those are tough elections. We don’t have anything close to tough elections in Alaska, or in the United States of America. So go forth and vote, and let common sense and conscience be your guide!

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