Alaska’s future is forever linked to Article 8, Section 1 of our state Constitution. In 50-plus years since statehood, our Legislature has ignored this. Why? Because they are on a power trip! Policy and rights are two different things in their book. Once, long ago, several governors tried to enforce this constitutional policy and it flowed in sync with this statement.
Gov. Walter Hickel was the first, with his announcement of the “owner state.” He had big plans to realize this in the private sector; in fact, his leaving Alaska to be Secretary of Interior was intended to see that Alaskans would benefit from federal permits to build the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. Many Alaskans lived to see this as one of the greatest blessings of his work.
Then came Gov. Jay Hammond, seeing that our legislators didn’t or couldn’t follow this policy, and created the big equalizer of the owner state: the Permanent Fund. This was followed by the dividend; rightfully so. All Alaskans would get a share of the new wealth. For 35-plus years it worked as it should, raising Alaskans’ wealth at the same time Alaska grew.
Our Legislature hasn’t yet got a grip of the work our constitution has established without their wisdom or greed. Rights and ownership are synonymous with freedom.
America is the last bastion of ownership and Alaska is still the “North to the Future” state. Please see this clearly, as freedom is eternal vigilance that this generation must undertake. Our Alaska has established its policy.
If our Legislature wants to change this statement of policy to suit its greed, then bring it on in a constitutional amendment. Otherwise, follow it!
— Ed Martin
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