Creating Alaska

Chris Poulsen

Name: Chris Poulsen

City: Anchorage

District: 18

Occupation: Miner, Businessman

Born: October 9, 1904 - Denmark

Death: October 4, 1988 - Sun City, Arizona

Alaska Resident: 1933-64

Convention Posts:

  • Member, Committee on Resolutions and Recommendations
  • Member, Committee on Finance and Taxation

Education: Public Schools, Denmark

Quote from the Constitutional Convention:

"Yesterday I asked to strike "Tennessee Plan", possibly not thinking it through too clearly. It is true the Tennessee Plan in the last two or three months had quite a bit of publicity. But, on the other hand, the word "Alaska" means a lot to us and it really is an Alaskan plan. This goes back maybe as much as 150 years when this first was adopted, and the last time it was used was maybe a little less than 100 years ago, and I think the old-timers -- if you had the word Alaska ahead of it would be a tremendous so-called sales plan, maybe, to get it over."

-Delegate Chris Poulsen, Day 69 of the Constitutional Convention, regarding the proposed ordinance placed on the ballot at the time of the constitution's ratification. The ordinance adopted the "Tennessee Plan," calling for the election of two senators and a representative to travel to Washington D.C. to lobby for statehood. This method for electing unofficial federal representatives, was first implemented in Tennessee, then adopted by several territories in their subsequent fights for statehood. The plan, called the "Alaska-Tennessee Plan" on the ballot, was adopted. Ernest Gruening and Bill Egan were elected "senators," and Frank Rivers was elected as Alaska's "representative." They were never officially seated, but worked for the cause of statehood until it was granted in 1959.