Opinion – Why we MUST vote Yes

The following column originally appeared in Must Read Alaska


From 1955 to 1956, during Alaska’s constitutional convention, our state constitution was crafted by a majority of New Deal Democrats. They wanted to construct a model utopian state constitution. This all occurred during a time when the expansion and strengthening of government control and power were the collectivist goals of the federal government as it evolved into progressivism. 

Seems like nothing has changed.

In developing the embryotic framework of Alaska’s state government, the delegates modeled our state constitution using many resources. 

At the time, progressive organizations helped to influence Alaska’s public policy. The draft state constitution embodied the new ideology promoted by the Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson progressive era at the turn of the 20th Century. The impetus for this was already deep in 19th Century American intellectuals who enjoyed reading the European and American journalists and popular writers of the day. One notable example in the mid 1800’s was Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune’s stable of writers, which included writers like Charles Anderson Dana, a utopian socialist, Friedrich Engels, and Karl Marx. Marx and Engels had already published “The Communist Manifesto.”

This authoritarian culture infused its influence subtly throughout America’s civic fabric including Alaska’s newborn fantasies of sovereignty, which today have transformed into delusions of colonialism. 

The progressive objective was to establish and centralize government power and control in a superior posture over individual rights and states sovereignty. This purpose opposed some of the guarantees found in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. 

Today, a new group, who may be the reincarnation in the spirit of FDR New Deal Democrats, has formed to tell you, the Alaskan voter, not to vote “Yes” for a constitutional convention on Nov. 8, 2022.

The group calls itself “Defend Our Constitution.” It has a website located at defendakconstitution.com. 

One of Defend Our Constitution’s major financial backers is the National Education Association-Alaska Political Action Committee for Education. This is the same public union responsible for the status of Alaska education.

Defend Our Constitution states correctly that Alaska voters have never approved a constitutional convention. Odds are Alaskans may not approve one this time. They warn, “The risks outweigh the rewards.”

If the voters have never approved a constitutional convention and the chances in November 2022 are slim that the voters will approve it this time, then why is the NEA-Alaska-PACE underwriting the effort to reject a constitutional convention?

The group claims a constitutional convention could 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.”

Isn’t that what Alaskans have experienced for decades?

Our state government is controlled by “outside special interests and dark money.” Our largest urban centers are controlled by “outside special interests and dark money.” Our legislature and judiciary appear to be controlled by “outside special interests and dark money.” Our election system is now controlled by “outside special interests and dark money.”

If it wasn’t, the 1955-56 delegates would have included Delegate Ralph Robertson’s right of work contribution to be added to our state constitution. 

If it wasn’t, the capitol would have moved closer to the state’s population. 

If it wasn’t, the Citizens Advisory Commission on Federal Areas and the Alaska State Lands Advisory Group petition recommendations would have been submitted to and followed up with the President and Congress on restructuring ownership and management of federal lands in Alaska to continue maintaining the environment and biodiversity, allow public access to public resources as guaranteed by Congress, and bolster economic development. 

If it wasn’t, education would produce literacy and other scholastic standards with exemplary results at a fraction of the current costs. 

If it wasn’t, health care costs would be competitive with the rest of the nation. 

If it wasn’t, the development of the state’s natural resources would be the largest economic driver in the state, not government. 

If it wasn’t, every eligible Alaskan would have received their legal full past due Permanent Fund Dividend balances owed to them by the State.

Have you ever been told by somebody that they know more than you so do what we say? 

In simple terms, those, who want you to not vote “Yes” for a constitutional convention in the Nov. 8, 2022 election, are projecting on all of us what we should do through risk, fear and doubt. 

Has Alaska had enough of this manipulation? Will we all stand as Alaskans, certain, faithful, and confident in our capability to guide and construct the framework of our state government?

Will Alaska vote “Yes” for a constitutional convention?

Michael Tavoliero is a realtor in Eagle River, is active in the Alaska Republican Party and chaired Eaglexit.