By DAN KENDALL
My family moved to Alaska in 1956. I spent my childhood in Valdez, my teenage years in Spenard, and the rest of my life in Chugiak. The constitution for the new state of Alaska was being prepared when we arrived. The Democrats were the party in charge of Alaska at the time, so they provided the most input for the formulation of our new constitution.
One of the provisions of the constitution was to present to voters every 10 years a question. “Should there be a constitutional convention?” If the answer was yes, this started a process of electing delegates, holding the convention, legislative review and voters saying yes or no on the proposed amendment. Alaska has been a state for over 60 years.
This is the first-time, “Outside,” interests have paid attention by pouring in millions of dollars to oppose Alaskans holding their convention to decide the future of our Alaska. The number as of, October 3, is $2.25 million, with large portions coming from the National Education Association and the Sixteen Thirty Fund, according to financial disclosures.
I need to pause for a moment to educate newer Alaskans as to what the term “Outside” means. Let me use a few phrases to help.
“If they don’t wave, they are from Outside.”
“When you travel to the lower 48 states, you travel Outside.”
“We are Alaskans, we don’t give a darn how they do it Outside.”
The issues that need to be addressed by a constitutional convention are as follows:
Rank Choice Voting: This method of voting was created by ballot initiative in the 2020 state election. This was initiated and funded by “Outside” money. This basically eliminated the primary election process that had been in place since statehood. RCV is set up to favor the incumbents. Please do not assume the newly elected legislature will fix this tragedy.
Permanent Fund Dividend: Gov. Jay Hammond signed a bill in 1980 creating the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation for the purpose of managing investments from oil royalties. That year Legislature also approved the first Permanent Fund Dividend program, and the first dividend check of $1,000 was distributed two years later. The legislature also set up a formula for the PFD distribution to individual Alaskans. This formula was followed until Gov. Bill Walker vetoed the full amount in 2016. We cannot count on the legislature to provide Alaskans with the full amount.
Education: The Anchorage School District has proven to us today that they cannot teach reading, writing and arithmetic at the third-grade level. This important issue must be addressed by all parents here in Alaska.
Let’s not listen to “Outside” groups. Why is the National Education Association spending money to tell us what to do. Why is the. “Outside,” Democrat Party oriented group, Sixteen Thirty Fund, pouring huge sums of money to change our constitutional processes?
So today I am asking my fellow Alaskans to vote YES for a constitutional convention. We need to do what is right and good for our children and future Alaskans. We don’t care how they do it “Outside.”
Dan Kendall lives in Chugiak, Alaska.