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No to convention

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Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012 12:01 am | Updated: 11:52 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

Oct. 29, 2012

To the editor:

On this Election Day, we will be asked whether we should convene a state constitutional convention. This question is not being asked because there is a great need to change our highest laws, but rather as a fulfillment of Article XIII, Section 3, of the Alaska Constitution, which requires the lieutenant governor to put forth this question on our ballot if no convention has been held in the past 10 years.

As Alaskans, we have one of the best constitutions in the United States. When our constitution was first drafted in 1955, the authors worked methodically and judiciously, crafting a document that makes use of the best laws from other states while carefully avoiding their laws that were of poor quality. Our constitution is what gives us many of the things we treasure. Limited local government through Article X; resource management for the benefit of the people and equal access to fishing through Article VIII; a strong right to privacy through Article I; the Alaska Permanent Fund through Article IX.

Our constitution is working beautifully and we do not need to meddle in it. If, by some chance, we need to add something to it, we can, as was done with the permanent fund in 1976 and with the change in re-districting laws in 1998. A complete re-write, which is in the powers of a constitutional convention, is not needed. Like the old adage says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Please take the time to go to the polls and vote “no” on holding a constitutional convention. It is not needed at this time. I also urge all Alaskans to read our constitution themselves to see how well it is crafted and to see the freedoms it provides us. You can download it for free from the state at w3.legis.state.ak.us/docs/pdf/citizens_guide.pdf.

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