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Alaska Independence Party holds statewide convention

John Wayne Howe at KNOM radio during his 2022 run for congress.
Courtesy KNOM
John Wayne Howe at KNOM radio during his 2022 run for congress.

The Alaskan Independence Party just held its Statewide Convention in Fairbanks, (April 13) for the first time since 2008. A new board of directors wants to focus on getting party members to run for state offices.

The Alaskan Independence Party holds a convention every two years. At last weekend’s meeting, John Howe was elected chairman of the party that boasts 19-thousand members in Alaska.

“We are the third largest. We are the largest one outside of the Democrats and the … Demlicans and Republicrats.”

John Howe was one of the first to register in the party when it was formed in the 1970s. He has run for house seats, the U.S. congressional seat and for governor under the AIP banner.

 “The big thing that we are working for -- we want to get candidates on the party. And if anyone listening wants to run under the Alaskan Independence Party, the only party born in the state of Alaska.”

Bert Williams was just elected as party secretary. He says the party is looking at state legislative races.

“We don't really have any interest in more federal positions such as Senate or House of Representatives or the presidential election. And when the party was founded, Joe Vogler, he was very adamant for the party to be focused on the state.”

The party was formed by Joe Vogler, who didn’t like the way the statehood commission put Alaska in the union in 1959. The AIP charter says they would like to have had a vote on other options. In 1973, Vogler started serious advocacy for secession, although Howe says the AIP's platform does not explicitly call for it.

“And it is possible that we could achieve a level of independence and still be connected with the U. S. Which Joe was not against being connected with the U. S., he just didn't want the oppression the way that it, uh, is currently set up.”

At the state convention, the party reinvigorated its platform, and Howe says they passed some new planks.

“There’s one that I like real well. – ‘Independence for every individual Alaskan is our goal and must be executed by all peaceful and lawful means’.”

The new board also thanked former chair Bob Bird, saying he organized party affairs after the unexpected death of the previous chair, Lynette Clark, who took over from Vogler.

In addition to recruiting candidates for office, another focus for the party now is communication. They hope to launch a new website with the address "" sometime this week.

Robyne began her career in public media news at KUAC, coiling cables in the TV studio and loading reel-to-reel tape machines for the radio station.