Alaskans, deeply concerned about the political and cultural state of The Last Frontier, packed the Valley Performing Arts Center in Wasilla on Feb. 1 for a rousing debate on the merits, dangers and challenges of calling a statewide Constitutional Convention.

Bob Bird makes his case for holding a constitutional convention during a Feb. 1 debate in Wasilla.

Longtime political mover, Alaskan Independence Party Chairman Bob Bird, argued that it was time for Alaskans to take the bull by the horns and fix our constitution directly. He laid out a litany of issues that the Legislature has proven to be unable or unwilling to address. This includes removing the iron-clad grip that the seven-member, left-leaning Alaska Judicial Council has in deciding who gets to serve as a judge in Alaska. Bird also spoke of the need for Alaska to reassert its right to grow and develop oil, gas and timber industries without federal roadblocks. Additionally, he argued that a convention would give Alaskans a chance to protect the PFD, enact election reform and institute pro-life laws without having to deal with an Alaska Supreme Court that has reliably ruled against all efforts to protect the unborn.

Former Senate Majority Leader John Coghill, a 22-year member of the Alaska Legislature, took the opposing side, agreeing with Bird on many points, but arguing that 2022 was not the time to “lay the constitution bare.” He repeatedly warned that special interest groups and deep-pocketed outside activists would certainly descend on Alaska with unprecedented force. Environmentalists and socialists, he said, would pour untold millions into manipulating the delegate selection process and final vote, thereby making Alaska far worse off than it is now.

Alaska Watchman Publisher Jake Libbey welcomes a sold out crowd to the Feb. 1 constitutional convention debate in Wasilla.

With Alaskans just 10 months away from voting on whether to hold its first Constitutional Convention since statehood, Coghill maintained that conservatives needed more time to organize and create a groundswell of support for this effort. He said this would take years, rather than months. Additionally, he painted a bleak picture of the cultural decay that has infected the state – a situation in which many are unplugged from politics and increasingly embracing ideologies that run fundamentally opposed to conservative Judeo-Christian values. Going into a constitutional convention without a large and motivated army of principled conservatives was a recipe for disaster, he cautioned.

Bird noted that there are always risks in such monumental undertakings, but maintained that the time is ripe to wage this particular battle. Every 10 years Alaskans are asked whether to call a statewide convention, and the question is usually met with tepid interest. This year, given widespread doubt about election integrity, mounting frustration with activist judges, and the inability of the Legislature to protect the PFD, Alaskans are awake and ready for what he called a “Con-Con” fight.

Ballots cast during the Feb. 1 Constitutional Convention debate.

While unpersuaded as to whether Alaskans were up for the task, Coghill said he would “armor up” and join Bob Bird and other conservatives if they ultimately win the day and successfully call a convention. It would be imperative to select the right delegates for the convention and to somehow break through the massive media blitz that leftists would bring to the battle, he said. He suggested that the process of educating and mobilizing conservatives would certainly benefit by “putting Bob on the circuit.”

A total of 162 people attended the debate. Following the contest, the audience was asked to cast a ballot indicating whether they favored or opposed calling a constitutional convention. With 65% of attendees voting the result was 61 (yes), 42 (no), and 3 (undecided).

A high-quality video of the event is being developed and will be available soon at

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Constitutional Convention showdown sparks ardent debate on both sides

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • brent says:

    where do find the list of upcoming events? It would be a great service

  • Patrocles says:

    Would like to see that video too when it comes out. Please keep us informed.

  • Ed Martin Jr says:

    The straw Poll was above what one would expect but in the result being ” it’s time to take our Statehood / Government Back it’s drifted beyond the Founders intent ” I for one is in favor for the CON – CON ,, Thank you Bob

  • Gary anyrim says:

    I for one would like to be part of the rural bush representation how would one throw their hat in

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    I do think its time to take our state back.
    But it does scare me about the left woke bull crap they want to but in the new plan.
    It’s the weak conservatives sheep type, I’m worried about. They will just do as there told, Just like getting the shot and wearing mask.
    I do believe we’re still a red state.

  • Dr. Cindy Sena-Martinez says:

    Professional, courteous, and informative debate!! We need more events like this that promote solid and healthy discussion on the many issues we face. Thank You Alaska Watchman for organizing the debate and thank you Mr. Bird and Mr. Coghill!

  • Marcella says:

    When will the public get to vote on this ? I would love to be a the next meeting!

  • Kenneth Peter Jacobus says:

    I believe that changes should be considered but opening up the Constitution to a Convention is too dangerous. I intend to vote against the proposal. If a Convention is passed by the voters, I, for one, would run as a Convention delegate to fight against what I know will be left-wing power grabs. Ken Jacobus

  • John Galt says:

    The Conservatives cannot ignore this – our State is at stake.