Sealaska Heritage

NEWS_SHI to sponsor lecture by former Juneau mayor, attorney general on constitutional convention

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Free event to be offered in-person, virtually

Sept. 16, 2022


Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) will sponsor a lecture by former Juneau Mayor and Alaska Attorney General Bruce Botelho on Tuesday on a Constitutional Convention, which is a gathering of delegates to propose amendments and changes to the state constitution.

On November 8, Alaskans once again will be asked to answer the question, “Shall there be a Constitutional Convention?” The proposition, which was initially supported in 1970, has been rejected by Alaskans in five successive votes held every ten years. There is reason to believe that current circumstances could lead to a different outcome in 2022, Botelho wrote.

Through his presentation, Botelho will review the origins of the initial call for a convention by the 1955 territorial legislature and post-statehood preparations for possible conventions. Finally, he will examine the decisions that the Alaska Legislature will confront if the proposition passes, namely the number, manner and timing of selection of delegates and the location, timing and duration of the convention itself.

Botelho retired in October 2012, after completing four terms as mayor of Juneau, the longest serving mayor in the city’s history. Mayor Botelho also served as the deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Revenue and later as deputy attorney general of the Alaska Department of Law until his appointment as attorney general in December 1994, serving until December 2002, thus achieving the distinction as the longest-serving attorney general since statehood.

In his capacity as mayor, he served as a commissioner on the Alaska Rural Justice and Law Enforcement Commission and as a director of the Alaska Municipal League. He is a past president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors. He recently completed service as the public policy chair of the Foraker Group and as a board member of the Alaska Humanities Forum.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Alaska State Bar Association’s 2005 Pro Bono Award, its 2007 Jay Rabinowitz Public Service Award, and the Alaska Municipal League’s 2011 Vic Fischer Local Government Leadership Award. In 2018, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from the University of Alaska Southeast. He is married to Lupita Alvarez and they have two children: Alejandro and Adriana.

The lecture is scheduled for 12 pm, Tuesday, Sept. 20, in Shuká Hít within SHI’s Walter Soboleff Building, 105 S. Seward St. in Juneau. The lectures will be livestreamed and posted on SHI’s YouTube channel.

Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.

CONTACT: Kathy Dye, SHI Communications and Publications Deputy Director, 907.321.4636,

Caption: Photo of Bruce Botelho courtesy of Bruce Botelho. Note: News outlets are welcome to use this photo for coverage of this story. For a higher-res image, contact