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Today, the Alaska House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 28, sponsored by Senator Tom Begich (D-Anchorage), establishing April 24 as Vic Fischer and Jack Coghill Constitution of the State of Alaska Day. On April 24, 1956, the citizens of Alaska ratified the Constitution of the State of Alaska, enshrining the values of individual freedom, local control, and personal autonomy at the core of statehood. On January 3, 1959, Alaska officially became the 49th state of the Union.
“The last two remaining survivors of the convention, Jack Coghill and Vic Fischer, embodied the spirit of Alaska’s constitution – where people of different ideologies and convictions find common ground in the interest of statehood,” said Sen. Begich. “Our constitution drew on the best on what our country had to offer. Together all members of the convention crafted a document that transcends time.”
"I'm thrilled to play a very small part to help pass this legislation into law and honor Alaska's founding fathers. I have the utmost respect for Vic and Jack and Alaska's other constitutional delegates, and the utmost regard for the constitution that shapes the state we live in today," said Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D-Sitka), who carried the legislation on the House floor.
On February 13, 2019, at the age of 93, Jack Coghill passed away. Vic Fischer currently resides in downtown Anchorage, continuing to advocate for all Alaskans.
The other members of the Alaska Constitutional Convention are Robert Roland Armstrong, Dorothy J. Awes, Frank Barr, John C. Boswell, Seaborn J. Buckalew, E. B. Collins, George D. Cooper, John M. Cross, Edward V. Davis, James P. Doogan, William A. Egan, Truman C. Emberg, Mrs. E.A. (Helen) Fischer, Douglas Gray, Thomas C. Harris, John S. Hellenthal, Mildred R. Hermann, Herb Hilscher, Jack Hinckel, James Hurley, Maurice T. Johnson, Yule F. Kilcher, Leonard H. King, William W. Knight, W. W. Laws, Eldor R. Lee, Maynard D. Londborg, Steve McCutcheon, George W. McLaughlin, Robert J. McNealy, John A. McNees, M. R. Marston, Irwin L Metcalf, Leslie Nerland, James Nolan, Katherine D. Nordale, Frank Peratrovich, Chris Poulsen, Peter L. Reader, Burke Riley, Ralph J. Rivers, Victor C. Rivers, R. E. Robertson, John H. Rosswog, W. O. Smith, B. D. Stewart, George Sundborg, Dora M. Sweeney, Warren A. Taylor, H. R. VanderLeest, M. J. Walsh, Barrie M. White, and Ada B. Wien.
Senate Bill 28 passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 24 to 16. The legislation now heads to Governor Mike Dunleavy to sign into law.