An unlikely alliance for hard-core Democrats and moderate Republicans has formed a political action group to oppose a constitutional convention. The question about whether there should be a convention will be on the November, 2022 ballot, as it appears every 10 years.
The group, called Defend our Constitution, has many supporters of Bill Walker for governor, including Democrat mastermind Bruce Botelho, Republican former Sen. Cathy Giessel, AFL-CIO President Joelle Hall. Other officers include Gail Schubert, Bill Corbus, Rep. Bryce Edgmon, Luke Hopkins, and former Sen. John Coghill.
In a news release sent to mainstream media and leftist bloggers, the group said that the Alaska Constitution is a model constitution and should not be opened up for discussion.
“In short, our Alaska Constitution isn’t broken and remains a stabilizing guide through these politically turbulent times. A constitutional convention would be chaotic, expensive, and create the opportunity for outside special interest groups and dark money to change Alaska’s laws to promote their agenda over the interest of Alaskans,” the group wrote.
Some conservatives, including Gov. Mike Dunleavy, are interested in seeing the formula for the Permanent Fund dividend added to the Alaska Constitution, since the lawmakers in the Legislature keep breaking the law that defines the formula for how the dividend should be paid. But opening up the constitution for debate would undoubtably include discussions on abortion and other hotly contested topics.
There are other groups forming up to oppose a constitutional convention. Notable is the Justice Not Politics Alaska Civics Education Fund, a new 501(c)(3) non-profit “established to provide education on the state’s merit-based process for selecting and retaining judges and other aspects of the constitution, including governmental separation of powers and checks and balances.” That group has already started lobbying against a constitutional convention and has hired a lawyer as its executive director.