Letters to the Editor

Letter: Constitutional convention isn’t necessary

As most know, a proposition to hold a constitutional convention will be on the Nov. 8 ballot. We have heard debates on it. If held, the cost will be in the millions of dollars and the process will take several years.The selection of delegates will likely consist of legislators and potentially be political party heavy. Currently, our constitution allows for one-issue amendments, which works well. Legislators propose the amendment, the voters decide if it should pass. Since 1966, 41 amendments have been on the ballot; voters turned down 13. This is by the people at no additional costs and no long-term process. One issue is addressed at a time, avoiding confusion and muddying of a multi-issue convention.

Besides the right to privacy being on the table, affecting many things taken for granted in our own homes, the state’s retirement system, PERS/TRS, could also be debated. Many retired police, firefighters, educators and staff who paid into that system with the knowledge they could collect a retirement protected by our constitution should be concerned.

Our judicial system’s selection of judges is also protected by the Alaska Constitution. This is an “assisted appointment” or “merit selection” method. Currently, 25 states use this system. How it works: A judicial nominating commission, not governor- or bar-controlled, submits a list of recommended judges to the governor to select from. Citizens vote to retain these judges every few years in November elections.

This is a very good and fair system. We all know our government is composed of three levels to provide checks and balances — administrative, judicial and legislative. The selection of judges should never be solely in the hands of a political party.

There are many other reasons not to open the state constitution. I urge you all to get a copy of the Alaska Constitution or find it at https://ltgov.alaska.gov/information/alaskas-constitution/. Vote no on Ballot Measure 1.

— Therese Lewandowski


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