Constitutional convention backers meet in Indiana - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Constitutional convention backers meet in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS -

Many agree there is a problem with our political system in Washington, DC. Some state lawmakers believe the best way to fix it is to fix the United States Constitution.

So for the first time in the history of our country, state lawmakers may form a group that would trump the federal government.

"I want to welcome each of you to the first official gathering of appointed delegates for the purpose of discussing a convention of the states in 227 years," Indiana State Senate President David Long said as he welcomed the gathering to the Indiana Statehouse.

With that Indiana Senator David Long opened the second meeting of the Mount Vernon Assembly.

The first convened behind closed doors at George Washington's Historic home in December. The second meeting, and the first opened to the media, started Thursday in Indianapolis.

"I'm going to ask you a question. Which Washington do you want to emulate?" Wisconsin Representative Chris Kapenga asked delegates.

Over 100 delegates from 33 states are participating, which holds particular significance because it takes the consent of 34 states to allow for the amending of the state constitution.

"We are trying to build awareness credibility and consensus among the state legislatures. Obviously with the turnout we've got today we are accomplishing that," Kapenga said confidently.

Such a move that would bypass Congress has become a rallying cry for the states who see Washington, DC as the problem that needs to be addressed.

"A convention has never been called. We know that. Anyone who has ever had a conversation about Article V knows why. Every conversation starts with a what and ends with a how. That is where it derails," Kapenga continued.

The Mount Vernon Assembly is trying to lay the foundation that solves that problem but the temptation is to discuss the problems that a first constitutional convention would have to address.

"I think it is important to reel ourselves back and think about the how and not the what. Today and tomorrow are about the how," Idaho State Representative Marv Hagedorn told his fellow delegates on the floor of the Indiana House of Representatives.

There is another issue. The state lawmakers are not immune to the same issue that hampers progress in the nation's capital.

"That is probably the most common email I get from my constituents is that they don't trust us to do the right thing and that is why they worry there will be a runaway convention," Arizona State Senator Kelli Ward noted.

So this group is walking a fine line. State lawmakers are asking voters to trust them when they say they can fix Washington by changing the US Constitution. Not everyone is in lockstep that the constitution is the problem.

While a majority of lawmakers participating are Republicans, there are some Democrats, including State Senator Jim Arnold from LaPorte, Indiana.

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