Diverse Group of Alaska Organizations Publicly Oppose Constitutional Convention

Groups from across Alaska are coming together to oppose a constitutional convention.

Business, Industry, Non-Profits Agree, No on Ballot Measure 1

For Immediate Release

September 9, 2022 (ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – Today, Defend Our Constitution ­– a bipartisan coalition formed to oppose the November 2022 constitutional convention ballot question – welcomed a growing number of Alaska organizations who have publicly taken a position against a convention.

“Groups from across Alaska are coming together to oppose a constitutional convention,” said Matt Shuckerow, spokesperson for Defend Our Constitution. “This momentum reflects a growing bipartisan concern about the inherent risks associated with holding a constitutional convention, and the unintended consequences that could result from opening up Alaska’s entire constitution to unlimited revision. A convention would create instability in Alaska’s economy and job market, destabilizing critical areas of resource development, permitting, taxes, and other bedrock foundations Alaskans know and value.”

“That’s why Alaska businesses, Chambers of Commerce, economic development corporations, industry groups, Alaska Native Corporations, sportsman groups, and non-profits are coming together to oppose a convention in 2022. With so much at stake for Alaska’s future, we are urging Alaskans to engage in a meaningful conversation about the risks of a convention and vote no on Ballot Measure 1 this Fall.”

Organizations Publicly Opposing a Constitutional Convention include:

  • AFL-CIO
  • Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association
  • Alaska Miners Association
  • Alaska Municipal League
  • Alaska Nurses Association
  • Alaska Trappers Association
  • Alaska Trollers Association
  • Anchorage Economic Development Corporation
  • ASEA/AFSCME
  • City-Borough of Juneau
  • City of Coffman Cove
  • City of Gustavus
  • City of Kassan
  • City of Saxman
  • City of Thorne Bay
  • Doyon Limited
  • Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce
  • Girdwood Board of Supervisors
  • IBEW
  • Institute of the North
  • Juneau Chamber of Commerce
  • Juneau Economic Development Council
  • Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce
  • Launch Alaska
  • League of Women Voters
  • NEA-Alaska
  • Prince of Wales Chamber of Commerce
  • Salmon State
  • Sealaska
  • Southeast Alaska Seiners Association
  • Southeast Alaska Conservation Council
  • Tanana Valley Sportsmen’s Association
  • The Alaska Center
  • United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters

Various groups who oppose Ballot Measure 1 often disagree on many issues, but all understand the incredible risks associated with opening our Constitution to complete revision – especially during divisive times when Alaskans disagree on many hot-button issues.

The groups have offered the following reasons why Alaskans stand to lose from a convention:

“The uncertainty around a Convention would put in jeopardy the principles related to our natural resources of common use, equal access, sustained yield, public domain, access to fisheries, mineral and water rights, and access to navigable waters, leaving citizens to wonder which existing rights will be changed or eliminated. This would create years of economic, legal and regulatory uncertainty, and would inhibit or prevent investment in Alaska industries…For these reasons, AMA opposes the establishment of a new Constitutional Convention as unnecessary, expensive and dangerous, with the risks outweighing the reward.” ­– Alaska Miners Association

“We believe a constitutional convention is not only unnecessary and expensive, but it would be dangerous for our state. Not only would it unnecessarily inject years of uncertainty into the statutory and regulatory frameworks that govern every aspect of Alaskans’ lives, it would open our entire constitution up for revision.” – Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce 

“The legislature already has a prescribed right, one of the first paragraphs, ‘the legislature has the authority and the capacity to make changes to the Constitution,’ which they have done, but if the if the legislature can’t agree on an issue, imagine what happens when we open this up to then go through the process of getting the constituency and the population to vote for or against an issue… Once you open the, we’ll call it ‘Pandora’s box.’ Once you have a constitutional convention, there’s no restriction on what you can talk about.” – Craig Dahl, Executive Director, Juneau Chamber of Commerce

“If voters were to authorize a convention, convention delegates elected at a subsequent election, would have plenary power to change any and all aspects of the constitution for submission to the voters. There have been numerous proposals advanced over the years to shift public funding for education from the state to local governments, to alter public retirement programs, modify the selection of judges, alter the taxing power of government, and other similar proposals that could fundamentally harm Alaska’s local governments. The Alaska Municipal League believes that a Constitutional Convention is unnecessary at this point in time and may negatively impact local governments.” – Alaska Municipal League

“The Alaska Constitution currently commits the State to support public education, public health, public welfare, and support for our university system. Since 1959, Alaska’s constitution has been amended twenty-eight times through legislative processes. This November, Alaskans will be asked “Shall there be a constitutional convention?” A yes vote would require Alaska to host a Constitutional Convention, and if citizens vote no, the question will appear again on the ballot in 2032. Doyon is recommending that voters vote no on a Constitutional Convention, which would call for re-writing of Alaska’s Constitution.” – Doyon Limited 

“The Alaska Municipal League and the City and Borough of Juneau believe that a Constitutional Convention is unnecessary at this point in time and may negatively impact local governments. Section 2. The Alaska Municipal League and the City and Borough of Juneau express concern about any campaign for calling a Constitutional Convention, to which municipalities would educate voters of the value of the Constitution as currently written and the numerous options available to address perceived or real needs; and Section 3. The Alaska Municipal League and the City and Borough of Juneau encourage all local governments to work toward correcting any misinformation or misperception as may exist or that develops as part of the election cycle ahead.” – City and Borough of Juneau Resolution No. 2984

“Girdwood is a small, unique community, which may not be as recognized in any substantially restructured municipal organization, leading to uncertainty and potentially less control in local governance. Any changes to taxation of property by local and state government would disrupt, and potentially prevent local funding and control of Girdwood services. Girdwood’s natural resources and environment for recreation, tourism and preservation are best secured by existing shared ownership by the citizens through local governmental control,” – Girdwood Board of Supervisors Resolution 2022-13

Gail Schubert, CEO, Bering Straits Native Corporation

“WHEREAS, a constitutional convention is unnecessary, expensive, and risks proposals to shift public funding for education from the state to local governments, to alter the taxing power of government, and other proposals that could fundamentally harm Alaska’s local governments… NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council of Gustavus, Alaska, finds that a constitutional convention is unnecessary at this time and may negatively impact our local government,” – City of Gustavus Resolution CY22-12 

“The City Council of Saxman Alaska believes that a Constitutional Convention is unnecessary at this point in time and may negatively impact local governments. The City Council of Saxman Alaska expresses concern about any campaign for calling a Constitutional Convention, to which the City of Saxman would enjoin in opposition by supporting the actions of the Alaska Municipal League and educate voters of the value of the constitution as currently written and the numerous option available to address perceived or real needs. The City Council of Saxman Alaska will work toward correcting any misinformation or misconception as may exist or that develops as part of the election cycle ahead.” – City of Saxman Resolution #04.2022.01

“Launch Alaska is a nonprofit accelerator based in Anchorage focused on deployment of climate technology in our state, working alongside startups from across the world to accelerate the resource revolution and decarbonize our energy, transportation, and industrial systems. A constitutional convention would cause tremendous uncertainty in the business community and investment landscape, hindering infrastructure projects that create jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and generate broad benefits for our state.” – Launch Alaska

“A Constitutional Convention is a direct threat to our students and schools. Supporters of our public schools should vote no.” – NEA Alaska

“Rewriting Alaska’s constitution in today’s political environment would be asking for trouble. It would invite meddling by special interests on all sides, threatening many of the protections and freedoms we hold dear. We encourage Alaskans to take a conservative approach with our constitution and stick to the amendment process that has worked for decades.” – Institute of the North

“Our State Constitution is strong as is. No need to change.” – Alaska Trapper’s Association