By AlaskaWatchman.com

In a July 25 talk to Mat-Su residents, State Sen. Mike Shower (R-Wasilla) said he has reconsidered his position when it comes to whether Alaskans should call a statewide constitutional convention to protect the Permanent Fund Dividend, reform elections and enact a spending cap on the State Legislature.

Click the image above to watch Sen. Mike Shower (R-Wasilla) speak on the need to call a statewide constitutional convention.

“I’ve changed my mind,” he told a lively audience at Real Life Church outside of Palmer. “I don’t believe the Legislature is ever going to solve these problems.”

In truth, Shower doesn’t believe most legislators have any interest in addressing these issues, because leaving them unresolved gives them immense power to manipulate the state budget year after year.

Without a constitutionally protected PFD and no constitutional spending cap, lawmakers are empowered to appease special interest groups and manipulate fellow legislators with the PFD to pass whatever budgets they want.

“I can tell you folks, I’ve seen it, I’ve talked to folks, and that’s how it plays out,” Shower emphasized.

Ultimately, he said those who oppose a constitutional convention are afraid that the people of Alaska will wrest control from the halls of Juneau by taking the PFD and unbridled spending off the negotiating table. As things currently stand, he said lobbyists play an outsized role in Juneau – using “raw power” to threaten legislators and demand funding for pet projects that most Alaskans don’t support.

“The power does not reside with you folks,” Shower said, adding that a convention has “everything with you asserting power back to you the people.”

He urged the audience to not buy into fear-mongering tactics, which claim that a convention is too dangerous, or that it will result in radical measures that undermine the state. In reality, the issues which are likely to gain the most traction will be those that impact the most amount of people – things like the PFD and capping government spending, he explained.

“If it affects your wallet it matters to almost everybody,” Shower said.

While convention delegates can propose myriad ideas, each amendment must first garner a majority of votes from the chosen delegates before it is then proposed to Alaskans as a whole. Before any amendment becomes the law of the land, a majority of Alaskans must then approve of it in a statewide election.

Shower blasted those who claim the State Constitution is already “perfect” and should never be altered. If it were perfect, why did the founders provide a means whereby every 10 years the citizens could vote on whether to call a convention to make changes, he asked.

“They were wise enough to know that someday in the future, there may come a time when the citizens needed to take some of that power back from the government,” Shower emphasized. “That’s why it’s in there.”

Shower said he believes 2022 is the last, best opportunity to finally call a convention, which would the be the first since statehood. Waiting another 10 years could be disastrous, he suggested, because the state will likely lean more to the left as West Coast liberals continue to move north.

If citizens constitutionally enshrine the PFD and enact a spending cap, it will accomplish two things, Shower continued. First, the PFD will no longer be a political football. Secondly, legislators will be required to ask voters whenever they want to spend more of their money, something lawmakers are loathe to do.

Shower tried to provide a sense of how a convention would actually play out. If voters successfully call one in November, the next step would be for the Legislature to organize the convention, and set the date.

From there, voters would choose delegates, none of whom could be current lawmakers. Rather, delegates would be selected on a local, district and regional level. These men and women would likely reflect the political makeup of each region in Alaska, Shower observed.

Once a location is decided upon and delegates assemble, they would proceed to hammer out and vote on which amendments should be brought to the people of Alaska for final approval. In order to present amendments to the general population, delegates must first pass any proposed amendments in the convention with 50% of the vote, plus one.

Shower said he trusts that citizen delegates would do a much better job than career politicians, because delegates would go on a one-time mission before heading back to their families, jobs and communities.

“I don’t trust us any more down there, but I trust you,” Shower said. “Whatever comes out of the convention, you are the final arbiter. You are the final judge.”

Click here to watch a video of Sen. Shower’s talk.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Power to the People: Sen. Shower urges Alaskans to call a Constitutional Convention

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


13 Comments

  • Reggie Taylor says:

    Okay, it has become clear that the conservative leaders of this state have gotten together and decided to push for this ConCon. They have their reasons, and it looks like they aren’t going to go away. If and when the people vote for this risky proposal, every kook in the state is going to pipe up with their Gotta-haves.
    That includes me.
    I’ve been sick and tired of state administrations and lLegislatures playing games with law enforcement, and we’re currently witnessing the ultimate abuse of federal law enforcement nationwide with the FBI and ICE. It’s the new trend among tyrants. In various areas of the country, we’ve seen county sheriffs, voted in and accountable to the people, not political entities, holding the line against corruption.
    Alaskans need the ability to elect borough sheriffs. We need the ability to fight mayors, assemblies, and state commissioners with regard to the age-old, lame excuse of “no funding” and corruption.
    Get ready for more. When you guys get this ConCon thing going, all insanity is going to break out. Don’t say you weren’t warned………

  • Andy says:

    He’s right, year after year it’s always the same BS by the same legislators and I am sick of their lies and catering to special interests. Because of their constant BS I too support a concon. Spread the word.

  • Fritz Pettyjohn says:

    Thanks, Joel. Great article. And thank you Senator Shower. You’ve seen firsthand the folly of allowing the legislature to have control of the dividend. They’ll steal dividend money so that they can spend it themselves any chance they get. The people need to take this power away from them and put the dividend in the only place it’s safe – the Alaska Constitution. This can only be done by Convention. ConventionYES!

  • Gunter Thompson says:

    A constitutional convention would set us back. It would be a hyper political bitch fest underwritten by dark money with no accountability. I picture it like those flaccid trucker protests that aired grievances but offered no realistic solutions. It would divide us further.

    There’s already an amendment process that, while isn’t perfect, is better than a wholesale pillow fight with knives

    • Michael Hughes says:

      Afraid of the people?

      • JD says:

        Of course GT is afraid. Probably one of the shyster politicians who has been taking our money for doing next to nothing in Juneau. Well, other than enriching themselves.

      • Gunter Thompson says:

        I’m afraid of mob mentality in a forum with limited norms, restrictions and process. Easily high jacked by an intimidating micro minority.

  • Steve says:

    Count me in! If our elected officials won’t clean house then us citizens need too. The clue is electing quality, conservative delegates.

  • Darren Pettyjohn says:

    Great article, easy to understand. The only reason to oppose this is if you believe the government can spend your money better than you can. I live in Montana and wish we had a vote every 10 years. #ConventionYes

  • JC says:

    The points made are valid. But we need to get the word out to all those not reading the Watchman. The ADN will surely be no help. A great place to have information is at the State Fair this year. Anyone know if there is a booth planned for informing voters?. I really would like to see an outreach. And a place for people like me to volunteer.

    • JD says:

      Excellent idea with a booth, add volunteers walking through the crowd handing out info and getting signatures showing support.
      We should also place a large add in ADN and buy ads on local tv. They can’t resist money. I’d gladly contribute some of my hard earned income.

  • JD says:

    I’ve said for years there must be a cap on legislature pay. None of these professional moochers deserves, earns or needs a $400/day Per diem. Plus they collect salaries on top of that?!? Outrageous!
    They have now figured out yet another way to steal more for not accomplishing anything in Juneau: they just wait until the last 2 weeks of the session to “act” on legislation. When they accomplish nothing they simply extend to 120 days, get even less done and call endless “special sessions”.
    Then they have the gall to claim we need to give up half of OUR Pfd to fill gaps in the state budget. Who suffers most from skinny PFDs and the professional thievery? The low income/fixed income residents and rural bush populations.
    The legislators have created the single largest drain on Alaska’s state revenue…it’s the Alaska state LEGISLATURE!
    End their blatant theft with an Alaskan constitutional update!

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