Debates and Q&A

Senator Mike Shower and Formerr Assistant Attorney General Libby Bakalar debate whether to hold a constitutional convention, plus Q& A, moderated by Professor Forrest Nabors of the University of Alaska, Oct. 29, 2022, One hour, five minutes long. J.H Snider Factual Correction: Nabors in this and his earlier debate moderations has assumed in his questions that a convention would only rewrite the entire constitution. A convention may do that and a statehood convention must do that. But a post-statehood convention is unlikely to do that, with New Hampshire the most vivid example of a state that uses convenventions (ten alone during the 20th Century) to propose discrete amendments.

Shall there be a constitutional convention?, Fairbanks League of Women Voters debate, Oct. 25, 2022.

Debate for the State 2022 – Alaska Governor, Alaska Public Media, Oct. 20, 2022. Positions on the convention question begins at 9:17 and ends at 12:59. Dunleavy (R) and Charlie Pierce (R) support; Gara (D) and Walker (N) oppose. However, Dunleavy’s statement appears a bit ambiguous, emphasizing that it is the voters’ decision.

Alaska State Senators Shelley Hughes and Mike Shower argue why Alaskans should vote in favor of a statewide constitutional convention (a Facebook video recording), Oct. 18, 2022. The sponsors of this event said that they originally wanted it to be a debate but were unable to get representatives from Defend Our Constitution to participate. It thus evolved into an “informational” session. The event took place at the Wilda Marston Theater at Anchorage’s Loussac Library. Fairbanks professor, Dr. Forrest Nabors presided over it. The modeator intrduces the event at 8:00. Shelley Hughes begins her presentation at 21:10 and Mike Shower at 27:45. Q&A begins at 35:30 and ends at 147:15.

“Shall there be a constitutional convention?” A debate on November’s ballot question, Alaska Public Media, Sept. 29, 2022. Editor’s note: The three moderators of this debate came from news outlets that have generally been hostile to the constitutional convention as an institution. One even ridiculed it on its editorial page. But I thought their questions to the debaters were generally fair. Why they chose debate participants representing Defend Our Constitution but not ConventionYES! is a question to ponder. The general framing of the debate was that yes advocates are partisans and no advocates are not. Defend Our Constitution has worked hard to portray itself as bi-partisan, an assertion I agree with. But the moderators could also have asked whether Defend Our Constitution members tend to be the most powerful interest groups in Alaska; that is, insiders who have the most to lose if the legislature were to lose agenda setting power over constitutional change.

Kern, Valerie, Should Alaska hold a Constitutional Convention? Both sides of the question make their case | Alaska Insight, Alaska Public Media, September 23, 2022. 56:47 Segment. J.H. Snider Comment: This is the  most professionally produced and substantial pro & con debate that has yet been produced in Alaska. It is only marred by Moderator Lori Townsend’s heavy reliance on convention opponents’ talking points to frame her questions and limit the debate. Some of her questions were loaded in the sense that she assumed what in fact should have been presented as a question for debate.

Alaskan Independence Party Chair Bob Bird vs. Alaska Senator John Coghill: Constitutional Convention Debate, Alaska, Feb. 5, 2022. Q&A begins at 53 minutes. Two social conservatives disagree over the merits of calling a constitutional convention.

Talk Shows

J.H. Snider Comment: It is hard to gather information on radio, TV, and internet-based events covering the upcoming constitutional convention referendum, so this section merely scratches the surface of such programming. 

Michael Dukes Talk Show, KMVN 105.7 FM, March 10, 2022. Interview with J.H. Snider. Description: We start off with headlines and then jump into a deeper discussion with Dr JH Snider PhD about the in’s and out’s of the Constitutional Convention. We’ll go through the mechanics, positives and pitfalls of the ConCon. The discussion is from 20:25 to 59:10.

Suzanne Downing Podcast, Must Read Alaska, Dec. 21, 2021. Interview with Fritz Pettyjohn. Description: “In today’s episode of the MRAK podcast, Suzanne Downing talks with Fritz Pettyjohn about his time in Alaska, including the state senate, news, and more. He also discusses the ideas behind the constitutional convention.”

Other Events

PFD Rally’s Happening Statewide Sept 20!, ConstitutionYES Press Release, Sept. 16, 2022.

Sen. Mike Shower (R-Wasilla) on the need to call a statewide constitutional convention, School of Government, July 25, 2022.