Constitutional convention supporters make case for Ballot Measure 1

Bob Bird with the Convention Yes group says Alaskans must take back control of their state
Alaska's constitutional convention issue comes around every 10 years and has never been approved, but this year both sides feel the issue could go either way.
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 6:24 PM AKDT
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KENAI, Alaska (KTUU) - The decision on whether to approve a review of Alaska’s constitution is the only ballot measure before Alaska voters this year.

The constitutional convention issue comes around every 10 years and has never been approved by Alaskans, but this year both sides feel the issue could go either way.

Bob Bird identifies himself as a fiscal and social conservative and has been Alaska Independence Party Chair since 2020. With a background in teaching, he’s hoping to teach Alaskans the time has come to approve a constitutional convention.

“If I do nothing, if I twiddle my thumbs, we’re just going to be heading down into a dark hole of a dark age,” Bird said.

Supporters of a constitutional convention advocate for passage of the ballot measure so that changes can be made to the existing state constitution. Aside from promoting the constitutional convention, Bird provides a loud voice for the small radio station KSRM in Kenai. As a radio talk show host, he’s not afraid to call it like he sees it.

“Of course, I gave the position as to why you should vote for the constitutional convention,” Bird said on his radio program earlier in October.

The Alaska Constitution was adopted on April 24 of 1956. Every 10 years, Alaska voters decide whether to allow that constitution to be subjected to major revisions or even a complete rewrite by voting on a ballot measure posing the question of whether or not a constitutional convention shall be held. So far, that hasn’t happened. Bird says now it’s time for that to change.

“PFD, judicial council, federal properties,” Bird says lists as his highest priority issues to consider. “But there’s a much longer list.”

That list of changes Bird would like to see made to the Alaska Constitution involves things like restricting or eliminating abortion, reclaiming Alaska’s sovereignty from the federal government and utilizing the state’s natural resources.

During recent debates, some opposed to a constitutional convention have accused their opponents of hidden motives, such as exploiting Alaska’s natural resources.

“What are they there for? Are they there to stay in the ground permanently?” Bird said. “We built the Alaska pipeline only because the Congress said that the judiciary will not be allowed to review this legislation that opens up the pipeline. Otherwise, it would have been tied up in endless litigation from the green lobby with their friends in the courts.”

Bird believes the green lobby and bureaucrats in Washington D.C. are standing in the way of progress and says it’s time for Alaskans to rewrite the constitution so they can take back full control of their state.

“We’re going to find out if the people of Alaska are awake enough to want to do that. And if they vote no, well, then they have spoken, haven’t they,” Bird said.

Bird said that if Alaskan voters approve the ballot measure, it “may be the first and last chance to try to get some attention about the things that have been going on for far too long, whether it’s federal properties, judicial overreach and defining the right to life.”

Editor’s note: This article is the first in a two-part series examining the supporters on either side of the constitutional convention question. Tomorrow, Alaska’s News Source will publish the second story with input from those opposed to the constitutional convention proposal.