Opinion: A constitutional convention is an uncertain proposition

“Convoluted, expensive and uncertain.”

A state constitutional convention would be convoluted, expensive and uncertain. The outcome would please no one and require years to fix. For those reasons I hope you will vote no this fall on that question.

Alaskans I know who favor holding a constitutional convention cite the PFD veto as the reason. They were surprised and dismayed when the governor vetoed much of the PFD in 2016. There was no explanation, not even a warning. That governor suffered politically for the poor decision, and all Alaskans have suffered the unending political debate that followed. The 2016 veto continues to divert our attention from more important problems such as the narrowest of state economies, tragic education outcomes, and having our producing sector displaced by larger and larger government. If the PFD and a PFD formula need to be memorialized in the constitution then a constitutional convention is a poor and unreliable way to do it.

For my part the provisions for equality, natural resource management, fish and game harvesting, and state and local government construction in the state constitution are standing up very well to contemporary questions. It’s the federal government that engenders inequality, sparks discord, and creates confusion in Alaska. In the 49 years since I moved to Alaska I have never been more optimistic than I am today that the federal courts will now begin to allow states to trust in the plain words of the U.S. Constitution, both what is there and what is left to the states. Our Alaska State Constitution prepares us very well for this future. I hope you will carefully consider your vote and decide that a no vote is best for all of us.

Tomas Boutin,


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