Constitutional convention debate gets heated

Via Peninsula Clarion: Joelle Hall, left, president of the Alaska AFL-CIO, listens to Matt Shuckerow, a spokesperson for a group opposed to a state constitutional convention, argue his case during Thursday night’s debate. (Screenshot from Alaska Public Media’s YouTube channel)

By Mark Sabbatini

“I believe this discussion will generate far more heat than light” an introductory speaker remarked which, while perhaps an accidental reversal of meaning, ended up being the reality for much of a debate Thursday night about a constitutional convention Alaskans will vote on in the November general election.

The two debaters (one in particular) favoring the convention sounded alarms about allegedly lawless government running amok at all levels, while the two debaters opposed mostly expressed general alarm about the many uncertainties approving the ballot measure will supposedly create.

But while the 90-minute clash at the University of Alaska Anchorage that can be seen on Alaska Public Media sites might not change many informed minds, it did also present a full history of Alaska’s constitutional creation and the issues likely to arise with a rewrite of the document via the convention process. A vote on a convention is required by law at least every 10 years, but none have occurred since statehood since voters have nearly always voted decisively in opposition.

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