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.

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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, March 26, 2009

PUT ON MY HELMET AND FLAK VEST NOW, OR LATER?

I’ve never ducked tough issues or tough votes, and I’m not going to start now. So let it be known. If I have an opportunity to do so on the House floor, I’ll vote “Yes” on the legislative pay raise.

Considering the major issues legislators consider, the special interest high power “tough guys” we must often rein in, responsibilities we bear, and the votes we cast that affects every man, woman, and child in Alaska - and the brickbats thrown at us, both deserved and undeserved - our current $24,012 a year salary is ridiculous. It’s less than the pay of an Army corporal with 6 years service.

Yes, everyone elected to public office is a volunteer, and we campaign hard to get and keep our jobs. We like our jobs and want to advance our issues, or we wouldn’t try to remain in office. The Good Book instructs us, “the laborer is worth his hire.” We needn’t be timid about standing up and being counted.

All the legislators I know, whether I agree with their political views or not, work hard long hours in Juneau to represent their constituents as best they can. Checkout my blog entry for February 17th, 2009, that chronicles my daily legislative work for about three weeks. This kind of schedule is typical for most legislators. I usually arrive at the capitol by 8:00AM, and don’t leave until about 6 or 7. Like most lawmakers, I also do legislative work at “home” at the motel, to be ready for the next day. No complaints, just fact. As we used to say in the military, “We knew the risk when we joined up”!

The per diem part of legislative remuneration also needs fixing. As for the “short term” per diem we receive when we work in Juneau, legislators must maintain two households and have incidental expenses we wouldn’t have at home. “Long term” per diem, which we receive when serving back in our home districts, needs fixing too - and the best way to fix it is to raise base salary and eliminate controversial long term per diem. Yes, I do have an office account. It costs money to print and mail newsletters to 12,000 people, even though I personally do my own writing and graphic layout.

A state compensation commission acted independently of legislators in arriving at their recommendation for reasonable and fair salary for legislators. There was no conflict of interest. No elected official is comfortable accepting a higher salary for themselves, especially with bad national economic bad news in every day’s headlines. But it does make sense to follow reasonable recommendations.

Therefore, if the raise comes to the vote on the House floor (and I think it should) I’ll vote “Yes” to accept the recommendations. If the pay raise issue doesn’t come to a floor vote, for whatever reason, at least you’ll know I had the guts to tell you how I would have voted. Do I put on my helmet and flak vest now, or later?

1 Comments:

Blogger Aji said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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