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Constitutional Convention Debated
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Supporters and opponents debate Constitutional Convention: Photo By Anna SaleSupporters and opponents debate Constitutional Convention: Photo By Anna SaleProperty taxes, gay marriage, immigration and affirmative action all came up during during the hour and half panel discussion about the constitutional convention ballot question.

Convention supporters characterized a "Yes" vote as a way to get around what they called "an unresponsive legislature." They said their only focus is amending the state constitution to include direct ballot initiatives.

John Woodcock is a former Democratic state representative and Vice Chairman of the Constitutional Convention Campaign.

"This whole contest really is about power. It's about the people being on the outside and basically having very little power in the halls of the state Capitol. It's trying to make the citizens of this state have a more meaningful role in their government."

Voters weigh in on Constitutional Convention: Photo By Anna SaleVoters weigh in on Constitutional Convention: Photo By Anna Sale

But convention opponents pointed out that the same legislators being criticized would be the ones selecting convention delegates.

The danger, they said, is that it's not clear who will set the agenda for a convention, and it could go way beyond ballot initiatives. Peggy Shorey is campaign manager for the Vote No Coalition.

"The only thing we know for sure is that if a convention is called, it's completely open. Every single individual right that we have is on the table."

Attorney Kim Knox pointed out that the Connecticut constitution was designed to be a stable document, and that a convention opens up the state's whole governing structure to special interests.

To that, Convention Campaign chairman Matthew Daly quipped that it is laughable to argue special interests are on his side, when the campaign has raised less than 11-thousand dollars. The Vote No coalition has amassed over 800-thousand dollars, mostly from labor unions - an expense the coalition defends as worth it to let voters know what is at stake.