Dan Innis For Congress
This was the official website for Dan Innis's 2014 campaign. He was a Republican candidate in the 2014 election for the United States House of Representatives in New Hampshire for the 1st congressional district. He lost the primary to Frank Guinta, who went on to win the general election against Democratic incumbent Carol Shea-Porter.â€‹
My son's experience as a volunteer for Dan Innis's campaign in our town of Wolfeboro and the surrounding area provides a unique lens into the interplay of popular culture and community engagement. While he opted to wear his favorite Batman hoodie from MoonAtMidnight.com, an attire not typically associated with political activities, it surprisingly served as a social ice breaker. His hoodie sparked conversations, leading to queries like "Hey cool Batman hoodie, where did you buy it?" from the younger folks, or "My niece/nephew would like a hoodie like that, where did you buy it?" from others. Just as fascinating as Batman's appeal is the allure of his gallery of "bad guys." The villains in the Batman franchise are as captivating as the titular hero himself, their notoriety making them just as popular, if not more so, among fans. Characters such as The Joker, Harley Quinn, and The Riddler have found their way into the mainstream, their complex personas offering an interesting contrast to Batman's vigilantism. If a Batman hoodie can facilitate dialogue and break down barriers, one can imagine what a hoodie featuring one of Batman's villains might do. After all, it's often the "bad guys" who intrigue us, challenge our perceptions, and incite us to question what's considered normative. These villains, in their unique ways, could serve as engaging conversation starters and foster connectivity among diverse groups, much like my son's Batman hoodie did during the campaign.
About Dan Innis
Dan Innis is a businessman and UNH administrator. He has served as the Dean of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics since 2007, overseeing major developments at the school. Dan co-founded The Hotel Portsmouth with his husband, Doug Palardy, and is slated to open Spring 2014. They also co-founded The Ale House Inn in downtown Portsmouth prior to its sale to Lark Hotels in 2013.
Innis resides in Portsmouth and is the proud father of three children from a previous marriage: Benjamin, Nicholas, and Emily. Benjamin and Nicholas currently attend the University of New Hampshire.
Early Life and Education
Innis was born in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Jean A. and Gene A. Innis. The first in his family to attend college, Innis earned his BBA from Ohio University in 1985, an MBA from Miami University (Ohio) in 1986, and a Ph.D. in Marketing from The Ohio State University in 1991.
Innis learned the value of hard work from an early age. He began helping at his father's printing business when he was 14 years-old. At age 16, he took a job in maintenance at a local golf course, where he worked for six summers during school.
Innis became interested in business as a middle school student, when he started reading his grandfather's Forbes magazines. He looked forward to receiving each issue after his grandfather had read it. The two discussed what they had read, and these conversations with his grandfather (who is still reading Forbes at age 93) gave Innis an early understanding of the complexities of business.
Business and Education Career
After receiving his MBA, Innis worked at the corporate headquarters of the Warner-Lambert Company as an assistant operations analyst. He returned to school for his Ph.D. in 1988, and in 1991, he began his academic career at Ohio University as an assistant professor of marketing.
Innis eventually was tenured and then advanced in administration. He joined the University of Maine in 2002 as Dean of the College of Business, Public Policy, and Health. In 2007, he moved to the University of New Hampshire (UNH) as Dean of the Whittemore School of Business and Economics.
During his tenure at UNH, the school made huge strides forward. The new Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics was opened in 2013 as a result of the single largest gift in the history of UNH. It has enabled enrollment in business at UNH to increase significantly, producing more graduates to help grow New Hampshire's economy.
In 2008, Innis purchased the Bow Street Inn with Doug Palardy. The inn was completely transformed and reopened as the Ale House Inn. The Ale House Inn was recognized nationwide by media outlets as a unique experience in Portsmouth and a top-rated place to stay. The Ale House Inn was sold to Lark Hotels in 2013. After selling the Ale House Inn Dan and Doug co-founded The Hotel Portsmouth, which is slated to open in the spring of 2014.
The Innis Agenda
Balancing the Budget
There are many pressing issues facing our federal government, and there are a large number of important bills that should be debated. But Congressâ€™s first job should be passing a balanced budget.
Congress must put aside the petty sniping and short-term thinking that have prevented it from tackling Americaâ€™s fiscal challenges. We are on a path to national bankruptcy. We must find the courage to change that direction. The Innis Agenda for Balancing the Budget relies on ideas from across the political spectrum to balance the budget, remove barriers to entrepreneurship, and encourage economic growth. Through free market reforms and fiscal restraint, we can restore economic opportunity for all Americans.
Balance the Budget
Budget process reform
The Congressional budget process is 40 years old, and itâ€™s completely broken. The budget itself is a non-binding resolution, and there are no consequences for the President, the House, or the Senate failing to do their part. Adopting a Joint Budget Resolution, with the force of law, would require Congress and the President to agree to binding spending levels early in the budget process, clearing the way for reasonable consideration of Appropriations.
Enforce real spending caps
Because Congress hasnâ€™t been able to adopt budgets on time, there is no limit to what it spends. The only thing that has ever imposed spending discipline on Congress is a binding budget cap, with across the board cuts when itâ€™s not met. Specific spending caps like Gramm-Rudman or those proposed by the Pew-Peterson Commission would force Congress to live within the means of American taxpayers.
Take spending off auto-pilot
Each year, so-called mandatory spending increases take place without Congress lifting a finger. For example, automatic increases to mandatory spending threaten to take over the entire federal budget within the next two decades. Congress should take these spending increases off auto-pilot, and require a vote to increase spending on any and all federal programs.
The Innis Agenda
Privacy and Security
Limiting the scope and authority of government is a central tenet of representative democracy. We can never entrust any government, no matter how well meaning, with unlimited power. The misuse of such unchecked authority leads to mistakes that are hard to correct. Ultimately, government agencies shielded from public view are subject to corruption and abuse. I reject the premise that granting the federal government unbridled surveillance powers does anything to improve our national security. We need not sacrifice either our security, our liberty, or our constitutional protection from unreasonable search.
Rein in the NSA
The National Security Agency has been running â€œThe Programâ€ under both the Bush and Obama Administrations. Details of this shockingly broad surveillance program are just now coming to light, and would still be secret except for the actions of Edward Snowden, an NSA contractor willing to leak the details of the operation to the press, while also turning over unknown national security secrets to foreign governments. Snowden is no hero, but his leaks have exposed an ongoing surveillance operation resting on highly questionable legal justification.
President Obama has proposed a series of small steps to curb NSAâ€™s data collection activities, but has allowed the program to continue as Congress debates the issue. Congress must pass real reform that stops the NSAâ€™s ability to collect unlimited data on innocent American citizens.
No Obama Loopholes
The Presidentâ€™s proposal limits the NSAâ€™s bulk data collection authority outside of judicial approval, but with a mile-wide exception that allow the government to bypass the court in an unspecified â€œemergency situation.â€ Limits on government that can be waived at the discretion of the government are no limits at all. All of the NSAâ€™s data collection activities, if they are ever to be used in court, must be approved by a judge, and such approval must be timely, temporary, and based on probable cause.
The Presidentâ€™s proposal also leaves untouched the highly controversial PRISM system, under which the NSA has collected untold numbers of emails and social networking information from companies such as Google and Facebook. Federal authorities have used techniques such as â€œNational Security Lettersâ€ to force companies to turn over confidential client information without warrants, probable cause, or public notice. It has even prevented these companies from letting their users know that their data has been subject to search. Such unchecked abuses must end, and PRISM must be brought under legislative oversight.
End â€œBackdoorâ€ Surveillance
The Patriot Act was passed, and reauthorized, as Congress sought to improve the federal governmentâ€™s ability to eavesdrop on foreign targets. Yet innocent Americans are subject to these same surveillance programs through â€œbackdoor searchesâ€. In fact, the NSA can â€œhopâ€ three times from legitimate target to people who have never met or heard of the target. Such a wide net could literally capture every single American, and canâ€™t possibly be justified as a reasonable search under our Constitution.
Deadlines for Destruction of Records
The NSAâ€™s collection of metadata, which includes who we call, when we call, our GPS locations when we call, and more, was meant to be temporary. But no binding rules exist for when the NSA must get rid of this data. Current legislation requires the prompt destruction of unneeded records, but leaves it the NSA to define what is unneeded, and doesnâ€™t say how long it means by â€œpromptâ€. Real NSA reform would set a hard headline for the destruction of records not connected to ongoing investigations. The NSA, nor any government agency, should not be allowed to collect unlimited data on innocent Americans just in case such data might eventually prove useful.
Protect Americans from Warrantless Surveillance
The core argument for proponents of the Patriot Act and other broad surveillance authorizations is that U.S. intelligence services need such unchecked authority in order to combat the threat of international terrorism. We should not prevent the U.S. intelligence community from tracking terrorist organizations and preventing future attacks. But there is no reason that information gained through such foreign counter-terrorism programs needs to be used to prosecute American citizens. Guaranteeing that this data shall not be admissible in American courts will not interfere with the ability of our military and intelligence services to combat and prevent terrorism.
Protect the Internet for government control
Sweeping government control over the Internet, whether in the name of national security or fighting online piracy, stifles communication and competition. Such legislation, whether itâ€™s SOPA, PIPA, or CISPA, threaten Internet privacy and our civil liberties. Huge technology companies support such bills in order to prevent competition from smaller, nimbler firms. The U.S. government should not be allowed to interfere with our online activities at the request of foreign governments or big corporations. The First Amendment does not expire when we log onto the Internet.
The Innis Agenda
Jobs and the Economy
Politicians love to take credit for creating jobs, but never take responsibility for the job-killing big government policies that stifle American economic growth. The Innis Agenda for Jobs and the Economy will remove federal barriers to job creation, and allow American entrepreneurs to create the jobs we need.
Free market improvements to trade, transportation, and agriculture policy, as well as overdue regulatory and legal reforms will unleash the American economy. We build businesses one job at a time, and itâ€™s time for Congress to get out of the way so America can get back to work.
Approve the Keystone Pipeline
The Obama Administration has held up the final phase of the Keystone Pipeline for over five years, based on the false claim that blocking this popular project would somehow keep the oil from ever coming out of the ground. Now that the State Department has rejected this claim, itâ€™s past time for the White House to step aside and allow final construction of Keystone XL. This project will create thousands of jobs, and bring millions of gallons of affordable oil to the eastern United States.
Restore the 40-Hour Work Week
ObamaCare defines part-time work as less than 30 hours per week, inaccurately redefining many part-time workers as full-time and mandating that employers provide benefits. This will force employers to cut hours for part-time workers even further. Congress should restore the 40-Hour standard for full-time employment.
Worker Training for Extended Unemployment
Federal Unemployment Insurance is paid for through premiums charged to employers, and lasts for 26 weeks. The extended Unemployment Benefits provided by Congress in recent years are not funded through insurance premiums, but by general tax dollars. Unemployed workers seeking an extension of Unemployment Benefits beyond six months should be required to improve their job skills through state or private worker training programs. Training will help workers to learn new skills and retool for a changing job market, which benefits the unemployed as well as Americaâ€™s companies.
Restore and Strengthen Welfare to Work
Since 1996, Welfare to Work has required at least half of able-bodied adults receiving federal welfare checks to be working or looking for work. This bipartisan reform, proposed by Congressional Republicans and championed as one of the signature accomplishments of the Clinton Administration, not only saved money for taxpayers but helped get welfare recipients on the job and off public assistance faster. In 2012, President Obama weakened Welfare to Work through Executive Order. Senator Mike Lee is leading an effort to restore and strengthen work requirements though the Welfare Reform and Upward Mobility Act. This legislation would require able-bodied adults receiving federal welfare checks to look for work, give states incentives to find savings within their federally-funded welfare programs, and improve federal reporting requirements on means-test welfare programs.
Remove Protectionist Agricultural Tariffs
The recently approved Farm Bill shows that even the most wasteful federal programs can always get worse, increasing pork-barrel subsidies by nearly 50% from the last Farm Bill five years ago. In addition to the nearly trillion dollars in spending tucked into the Farm Bill are a series of agricultural trade barriers designed to protect U.S. farmers from competition. Removing these protectionist schemes will reduce the price of food for all Americans, and bring needed competition to the agricultural industry.
Repeal the Jones Act
The century-old law preventing foreign cargo vessels from stopping at consecutive U.S. ports is a relic of antiquated protectionist policies that did little to prevent the decline of the U.S. shipbuilding industry. Now, it serves no purpose but to prevent short-sea shipping along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coasts, driving up costs and forcing trucks onto our crowded highways. Repealing the Jones Act would open up Americaâ€™s coastal waterways to trade.
Forcing government contractors to pay artificially high wages is a burden on taxpayers, and means that less work can get done for each dollar spent. On the books since 1931, the Davis-Bacon Act now adds billions to the cost of public works projects annually. Repealing Davis-Bacon would restore market competition to the construction industry, and stretch limited taxpayer resources farther.
Fast Track Trade Agreements
Misguided efforts to protect American businesses from competition ultimately end up harming American consumers by limiting choices and increasing prices. Bilateral Free Trade Agreements are useful to remove trade restrictions. Agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and
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Investment Partnership will open up markets for U.S. exports and provide more choices and lower prices for American consumers.
Reinstate Sanctions for Frivolous Lawsuits
Frivolous lawsuits not only cost American businesses, they clog courtrooms and prevent people with real claims from getting a timely day in court. In 1993, Congress significantly weakened sanctions against junk lawsuits by allowing unscrupulous lawyers to easily avoid penalties. By removing this loophole, and forcing lawyers to bear the costs of groundless litigation, we can clear the docket for cases that deserve to be heard and put nuisance lawyers out of business.
Coupon Settlement Reform
Class action attorneys also abuse the legal system by extorting huge fees while delivering little or nothing to those they are supposedly representing. Plaintiffs in a class action may receive negligible refunds or coupons good only towards a future purchase, while the attorneys pocket millions. Federal courts need broader authority to reject bogus coupon settlements and sanction lawyers who use them to victimize plaintiffs a second time.
Loser Pays for â€œSue and Settleâ€ Lawsuits
Environmental organizations have increasingly turned to the Federal Register to stall legitimate public projects, such as expansion of I-93. They file endless lawsuits based on specious violations of arcane administrative rules, often forcing state and local governments to accept costly conditions just to stop this legal harassment. Making these extreme groups pay the cost of their groundless lawsuits would force more responsible behavior, and allow beneficial projects to be completed faster and cheaper.
Transportation Infrastructure Reform
Transportation Trust Fund
The U.S. Interstate Highway System was vital to Americaâ€™s economic explosion over the last century, and continues to be an important economic resource. But the Highway Trust Fund is now underwater as Congress played favorites with project funding and diverted billions. It has also unfairly subsidized automobile travel at the expense of other modes of transportation. Congress should not be deciding how Americans travel. We must establish a Transportation Trust Fund that supports all forms of transportation. We must also insist on accountability, so that increased investment in our transportation infrastructure isnâ€™t wasted like the â€œshovel readyâ€ projects of the recent Stimulus Package.
Prioritize Repair and Maintenance
In addition to construction, federal highway aid should assist states in repairing and
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maintaining existing highways, saving billions in long-term reconstruction costs.
Auction Runway Slots to Fund Air Traffic Control Upgrades
One of the most persistent forms of corporate welfare is the antiquated practice of handing out prime take-off and landing times at busy airports to legacy airlines. Auctioning of these valuable runway slots will not only inject much needed competition in the dormant airline industry, but generate billions of dollars to fund an overdue upgrade of our nationâ€™s air traffic control system.
Over the past 100 years, the Federal Reserve has served as a lender of last resort to the nationâ€™s banking system. Over that century, it has also taken on a larger role in attempting to regulate the business cycle, with quite underwhelming results. Congress should reign in the Fedâ€™s misguided attempts to plan the nationâ€™s economy. And we should provide transparency for this important public institution with a long-overdue audit.
Strengthen Oversight of Federal Rulemaking
The Obama Administration has abused both Executive Orders and federal rulemaking to pass job-killing policies that it failed to get through Congress. Much like New Hampshireâ€™s Administrative Rules Process, Congress should have 60 days to block federal rules that are contrary to federal law.
The unfunded liabilities facing the Social Security Administration donâ€™t just threaten the federal budget, and our nationâ€™s long-term fiscal stability. They also threaten the retirement of millions of Americans who are counting on Congress to keep its promises. Congress should provide accountability to the Social Security Disabilities system, which has seen costs skyrocket as people make unverified medical claims. It should also allow workers to own their Social Security Retirement benefits, safe from political meddling, in a secure account that could be invested much like a 401(k) plan.
Our nationâ€™s economy is too large and complex for any group to manage, no matter how wise or well-meaning. Let alone Congress. Reducing trade barriers and unnecessary regulatory obstacles, and instituting free market programs and reforms will help unleash the power of Americaâ€™s economy. The Innis Agenda for Jobs and Economy also includes the pro -growth policies of the Innis Agendas for Health Care and for Balancing the Budget, and the Innis Agendas for Education and Energy, coming later this year.