Letter: A constitution worth protecting
By Ian Laing, Jon Isaacs, Jack Hickel, Gail Schubert, Ira Perman, Tom Barrett, Scott Kendall and Yngvil Vatn Guttu
Alaska has a great deal on the line in this year’s general election. For the past 60 years, Alaska’s constitution has been widely regarded as a model constitution, thanks to its unique provisions, brevity and focus on principle. It was drafted during a time of political unity, two years prior to statehood, as proof to the federal government that we Alaskans could successfully manage our own affairs. The convention itself took place in Fairbanks, removed from undue influence of special interests and the media. It is difficult to imagine that sort of collaborative environment and outcome in today’s hyper-polarized political climate.
We do not suggest that Alaska’s constitution is perfect. In fact, we share the opinion of many Alaskans that an immediate amendment is needed to protect the Permanent Fund from overspending, and provide clarity and stability around the dividend. This issue has crippled state politics for nearly a decade, and should remain a priority for lawmakers. Nevertheless, pursuing this idea — or any other singular change — through a constitutional convention is an immense gamble, when we have a sound process for constitutional amendment that works just fine.
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