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, January 22, 2009


One of the neat things about my seat on the right front row of the House of Representatives is that I get to see our governors, United States Senators and Congressman, and our Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court close up when they address joint sessions of the Alaska Legislature. My front row seat also permits me opportunity for snapshots with a pocket camera – sans flash. I took the snapshot on the right during the Governor’s speech

Today I watched and listened to our Governor Sarah Palin deliver her third State of the State address to our legislature. It was, by far, her best delivered speech to our legislature. But, let’s face it. She’s gained a lot of speaking experience during her run for vice-president. And it shows.
She opened her speech by wishing President Obama well, and thanking former President George Bush for his defense of America. Very gracious.

Governor Palin recognized the national downturn in the economy, explained that Alaska’s economy is in better shape than most because we had the foresight to place billions of dollars into savings when oil prices were high last year. Nonetheless, she called for a state hiring freeze as one precautionary measure against projected budget deficits this year.

I was happy to learn Governor Palin will introduce a bill to assist development of an in-state natural gas pipeline, and I liked her goal of generating 50 percent of power from renewable sources by 2025. Like former Governor Hickel, Sarah Palin is not shy about advocating for long term projects. She announced her support for a future 526 mile road from Fairbanks to Nome to open up vast new regions for economic and resource development. I would have liked for her to mentioned a rail extension to the Lower 48, which would go a long ways toward lowering shipping costs and increasing tourism.

Whatever, as one legislator said, “There’s no doubt the governor is back in town”!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Whatever your political party, regardless your assessment of candidates, however you voted, 2008 was a banner year for Alaska - because of Governor Sarah Palin’s selection as a candidate for Vice-President of the United States.

Sarah’s national campaign put Alaska on the map, thrust Alaska into national consciousness, and was altogether a very good thing for our state. No Chamber of Commerce or Visitor Bureau could possibly have the money to pay for the kind worldwide publicity Alaska gained through the “earned media” i.e. getting a message out through the media without having to pay for it.

Some critics with a political agenda might allege candidate campaign shortcomings caused more harm than good. Not so. Any publicity or campaign consultant will tell you, the word “Alaska” was always spelled and heard correctly – repeatedly. Think of it as more Alaska yard signs than anyone could ever afford. Furthermore, the worldwide interest in Sarah Palin translates into interest in Alaska, and everything we do up here. Some folks probably never heard of the Iron Dog Race, our fabulous hunting and fishing, or anything else about our unique Alaska lifestyle, until the media introduced Sarah to the world. In other words, “it’s a good thing.”

Let’s celebrate Alaska’s celebrity - and leave future politics to the future.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Legislators “pre-filed” several new bills in our Alaska House and Senate last week and today. A bill may be filed anytime during a session, but a “pre-filed” bill is “read across the floor” on the very first day of session and assigned by the Speaker to committees. Pre-filing gives bill sponsors something of a “jump start” on the getting bills through the sometimes tortuous legislative process.

I’ll provide more information at a later date, but the following are my personal pre-filed bills:

HB3: Legal presence in Alaska required for an Alaska driver’s license and/or identification card.

HB4: Makes false name on telephone caller ID device illegal.

HB5: Requires Permanent Fund Corporate divestment to divest certain funds in Sudan (Darfur) due to the on-going genocide.

HB6: Bill addresses inappropriate human contact with animals that could be a “gateway” to sexual abuse of children.

HB24: Co-Prime Sponsor with Representatives Fairclough and Gatto on a bill involving Alaska veteran preference for public procurement.

HB42: Forms a study group to determine how to implement instant campaign on-line reporting. The Anchorage Daily News published my editorial on this bill on January 13th, and this bill was also covered earlier by Anchorage Channel 2 NBC News.

Bill number not yet assigned: PFD allowed for civilian military contractors assigned overseas.

Bill number not yet assigned: Allows members of the same family to work together in state employment, if one doesn’t supervise the other.

Bill number not yet assigned: Special license plates for honorary consuls of foreign nations who reside in Alaska.

Note: I may also file other personal bills during regular session, and may also “carry” some of the governor’s bills at her request. I may also be co-sponsoring some bills of other legislators.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I accepted the opportunity today for a “behind-the-scenes” tour of the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Sports Complex and Allied Health Sciences Building. The purpose of the tour was to make legislators more aware of how UAA student population growth requires updated facilities. The need was evident. The tour ended with remarks by University Chancellor Fran Ulmer (formerly a legislator), the UAA Student Body President, and the legislators. The upper photo shows Chancellor Ulmer speaking with our group. The lower photo shows me with Fran Ulmer on my left and, on my right, my constituent Steve Rollins, Dean of the UAA Library.

I believe our university system is the intellectual foundation for building Alaska’s future. As the university succeeds in its mission, so too will our state.

Friday, January 09, 2009


I met with Governor Sarah Palin today at her Anchorage office to discuss several of the new bills I’ll be pre-filing – including my bill on instant on-line campaign disclosure - for the new Legislative Session that begins January 20th. It was a very positive and productive meeting. The legislature and the administration are separate and independent branches of government, and one does not report to the other. Nonetheless, it’s in the best interest of Alaska for one branch to consult and coordinate with the other whenever practical. I wish it happened more often.

At the end of our legislative business meeting, I showed Governor Palin a drawing my grandson
Hunter Wainscott drew from a photo of the governor and me together on the capitol steps. It was my Christmas present from him. Hunter, who lives with his seven siblings and parents in Indiana, is a talented young artist. Governor Palin graciously let me take a photo of her holding Hunter’s drawing, and I’ll be sending it to him.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


It’s past time to bring political campaign disclosure into the 21st century. Instant transparency is needed. That’s why I’ll be filing legislation in January to establish an On-Line Campaign Banking and Reporting System that will make campaign contributions and expenditures visible to the world in real time.

The current system presents campaign finance snapshots, accurate only for the dates of the reports. This invites “game playing” by allowing candidates to “hide” information from opponents and the public for as long as possible.

Large contributions from controversial people or Political Action Committees can be deposited after a report due date to delay political repercussions. Likewise, candidates can delay large media buys until after a report due date, thereby keeping opponents in the dark about an oncoming television onslaught. Another tactic employed by some candidates is to scribble campaign reports, and mail them to the state before midnight on the due date. The report to the state would be “on time,” but late for transcription to the Internet for the general public.

Campaign reporting games can affect the outcome of elections. Such games can significantly hinder Alaskans from getting the campaign transparency they deserve in a timely manner - which is the purpose of campaign disclosures. The advent of “early voting” makes this especially important.

The current problem is fixable. I’m filing legislation for an Internet on-line campaign reporting system similar to the personal on-line banking systems we use in our private lives. The major difference between personal on-line banking and campaign on-line banking is that anyone in the world could see campaign disclosure on the Internet, without a password.

Campaign contributions would show up on the Internet immediately when deposited. Campaign expenditures (say for signs) would be displayed on the Internet as soon as campaign checks are cashed. Campaign account balances would be up-to-date instantly for the world to see. This system would benefit everybody involved in the campaign process, from voters to candidates to state agencies.

There are several ways to implement campaign on-line campaign banking. There could be a bid from Alaska banks to perform the service for a fee to be paid by the state, or by the candidate, or shared between a candidate and the state. Or an arrangement could be made for needed software to be made available to an Alaska bank of the candidate’s choosing. Banks already do online banking, so this shouldn’t be a major problem. Likewise on-line reporting will need to display names, addresses, and occupations of campaign contributors, and recipients of campaign expenditures. If computer gurus can develop software that guides objects to distant planets, they figure out how to do this. If there’s a will, there’s a way.

Our Legislative Research people tell me Alaska would be first in the nation to adopt instant reporting. Transparency through campaign disclosure is good. Instant transparency through on-line reporting is better. Let’s lead the way!


Like millions of others this New Year’s Day 2009, I watched the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California on television. I was thrilled to see our history making float “Celebrating Alaska — Spirit of the Wild” a tribute to Alaska’s 50th anniversary of statehood.” 80,000 people will line the parade route, and more than 40 million on television will see Alaska’s float. Congratulations to everyone who made Alaska’s first-time entry in the parade and float possible.

Here’s a trivia question and answer. What Alaska legislator used to march in that parade? Answer: Bob Lynn. Me, myself, and I – that’s who! When I was a kid (a very long long time ago) I marched in the Tournament of Roses Parade six times, as a member of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Boy’s Band. Five of those times, I played alto sax. One time I carried and beat on a humongous bass drum – probably what’s wrong with my bactoday. Now you know. But so what?

Happy New Year everyone! The future looks good.

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