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The U.S. Constitution’s famous preamble begins with “We the People of the United States.” That opening line was controversial then and remains so today. It presumed a homogenous, uniform people belonging to a single nation. It obscured the role of the states, whose approval by convention was necessary, and which considered themselves independent nations. By wafer thin margins, the Constitution was approved, with three states – Virginia, New York and Rhode Island – specifically reserving the right to secede “should our liberties ever be threatened.”

Trying to find the “true voice of the people” is like nailing jello to the wall. Opinion polls, referendums, parliaments, congresses, assemblies, plebiscites, conventions, primary and general elections, townhall meetings, all have assets and liabilities.

Fears that the process would be captured by heavily monied interests … are not unreasonable.

I have met, recently and in the past, Alaskan Natives who are furious about the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the way it was “approved” by Alaska’s tribes. Should a new assessment of their cultural opinion ever be attempted, it is a guarantee that however it might be tweaked, it cannot possibly be perfect. Only improved.

We must keep all of this in mind if a state constitutional convention (con-con) is ever approved here in Alaska. What matters most is how the State Legislature decides to organize it. Although the State Constitution says that the selection of convention delegates “must conform as nearly as possible” to the 1955 convention process, it also says, “Unless other provisions have been made by law.”

Most would expect some sort of election in choosing delegates, and the fear that the process would be captured by heavily monied interests, financed by Deep State leftists from the Soros and Gates Foundations, laundered through willing Marxist and Democrat toadies in our own state, with the reinforcement of the mainstream media blare horns, roadside signs, purchased commercials and editorials. Such fears are not unreasonable.

The convention process is different than scrambling for votes through money.

But it need not be done that way. Perhaps a good legislator would grab this question by the horns and clearly establish the convention process before Alaskans hold the 2022 vote on whether to even hold a con-con. That way voters would know how the convention would proceed.

The convention process is different than scrambling for votes through money. It begins by those most willing to motivate themselves with friends and neighbors who have gained local trust from years of experience in churches, school boards, borough assembly meetings, local letters, radio talk shows and various cultural organizations.

Initially, meeting would be held at the precinct level. I have been to political party precinct meetings where anywhere from three to 80 people in attendance. This would be different: all registered voters would be eligible to participate in the precinct level meetings. The same folks who verify your name with a voter registration list during a typical election would certify whether you were qualified to participate.

Any changes to our State Constitution would ultimately have to face the vote of the people of Alaska.

It comes down to who can get fellow like-minded people to attend these preliminary meetings. Ignorant, lazy, busy or out-of-town folks might not be able to participate. No system is perfect. A slate of delegates to a district convention, following a quota determined by legislation, could already be ready, and a vote – by show of hands and impossible to dispute – would decide who those district-level delegates would be. These men and women would then be empowered to take ideas and issues to the local district convention for further refinement and study. The precinct process might involve an hour or two, but perhaps longer. Imagine that!

Keeping our freedom requires more than casting a vote once a year. We might have to debate, argue, compromise and fight for our principles.

The district level convention would then choose a chairman, and committee assignments would be made. From the precincts, many similarly worded issues would have to be assessed, re-worked, streamlined or discarded. Another committee would draw up a slate of delegates to attend the actual state convention, following the quotas the Legislature creates.

These state delegates would face quite a commitment – weeks of work with perhaps little or no compensation for room and board. Elder statesmen, retirees, wealthy businessmen might predominate. The con-con would include debates, arguments, compromises, not only on the floor but also in committee. Heavy furniture might be damaged. Think of the 1787 convention that nearly broke up numerous times, with Ben Franklin pointing out the necessity of prayer.

And whatever might be hammered out would certainly face criticism from all points of the ideological compass. And then, any changes to our State Constitution would have to face the vote of the people of Alaska, which would indeed be subject to the steamship blare horns of the detested mainstream media.

The alternative, of course, is the status quo.

In Part IV we will list ideas that have been recently or long been suggested for a con-con.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

Click these links to view parts one and two of this ongoing series.

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An Alaska Constitutional Convention: How to choose delegates? (part 3)

Bob Bird
Bob Bird ran for U.S. Senate in 1990 and 2008. He is a past president of Alaska Right to Life, a 47-year Alaska resident and a retired public school teacher. He has a passion for studying and teaching Alaska and U.S. constitutional history. He lives on the Kenai Peninsula and is currently a daily radio talk-show host for The Talk of the Kenai, on KSRM 920 AM from 3-5 pm and heard online


  • G Aleution says:

    The Declaration was signed by fifty six men. See what fifty six likeminded men can do.

  • G Aleution says:

    No amount of coordinated preplanning to aid in seizures g Alaska’s resources in no way delimits, we the people from convening a co invention anyway we the sovereign people choose. You nor anyone else may lawfully seize our sovereign rights. We choose. Not the legislators because: we have the right to toss off tyrants in fact it is our Constitutional duty to do it. Has the Alaska Legislature acted as tyrants in any instance, recently? The founders described the acts of a tyrant. They have not changed. Two hundred years same deli. Same tyrrany, different day. Be cause it is our duty to slip tyrants off “they” may not choose how or who we in political sovereignty choose our conventioneers.

  • G Aleution says:

    The term “you” is euphemistic of course. Assumption that conventioneers are identical with current legislators is debatable with historic documents. Legislators have not: allowed the public into public spaces for over a year; they have refused as our employees to obey a bylaw of the State of Alaska corporation by not presenting a balanced budget within 90 days nor have they obeyed a corporate bylaw ordering them to distribute the PFD as agreed. The PFD is a payment for the taking of mineral property rights. They have superimposed an exaggerated medical interpretation, their own, in lieu of medically licensed physicians. They refused to meet to examine the Governors proposed use of emergency as required. This among other factors caused economic hardship. And, there is more. They have caused Alaskans to submit to possibly foreign agencies, the WHO an international organization, and the CDC. Bill Barr said before he left the DOJ that some agencies were operating outside their actual, delegated authorities. The CDC has issued orders in error regarding mandating rent extensions among other things. At least one judge ruled the CDC was not authorized. And more. Our rights are the law. Legislators exist to prepare a budget and to DEFEND our rights. No evidence they have done this.

  • Jim Minnery says:

    The AK Democrat Party platform officially opposes a “con-con” and they specifically state their reasons. 1) they fear school choice ( that would put a damper on their insatiable desire to indoctrinate our kids through government run schools) 2) they fear our judicial selection process might be altered to more closely reflect the Federal model (they never mind that though when they get their activists on the Court) and 3) they fear that the people might determine when life (meaning rights) begins. Abortion is sacrosanct to the party.

    We should be tentative with eyes wide open but we should proceed.

  • Michael C Coons says:

    I’m neither for or against at this point. However, since I have been involved in the Article V movement, with Citizens Initiatives, I have an idea on this and how we could safely have a convention.
    Working with the Rep Hughes and Senator Stoltze, we passed the Countermand Amendment and the Delegate Resolution. The Delegate Resolution (DR) that was passed binds the delegates as to an amendment. In the example, if and when we get 26 States to adopt the Countermand and DR, we then have a majority of the States that protects the convention from being a “run away” and passage of the Countermand Amendment.
    So, taking that same direction. We have 40 Districts. If we had 21 or more all passing a DR that binds the delegates from each district, that would protect as well. Then if say we had 21 or more Districts with same or similar proposed amendments going to the convention and that the rule is they would have to consult with the District on any language changes of what those Districts had come up with, then a set of specific changers, could potentially be adopted and stop any attempts to harm the Constitution.
    Now the question is, is the DR something that the legislature would have to pass prior to the Districts meeting? Would the legislature define the number of delegates per District and that those picked would come from the Districts, vs the Legislature?
    There is a lot to this. The potentials for something bad to come from such an effort are there. However, thinking this through and something like a DR that defines and protects is something that has to be taken serious.