MANCHESTER — Outgoing University of New Hampshire business school Dean Dan Innis of Portsmouth today is formally announcing his candidacy for the 1st District U.S. House seat, promising to work to shrink the federal government, reform the tax code and "get our fiscal house in order."
Innis, 50, has been the dean of the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics since 2007 and previously was dean of the University of Maine's College of Business, Public Policy and Health for five years. He also spent several years in the private sector and was a university marketing assistant professor.
Although known in state academic and business circles, Innis is a political newcomer, making his first run for elective office.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Innis received his bachelor's degree in business administration from The Ohio State University, his master's degree in business administration from Miami (Ohio) University and a doctrate in marketing from Ohio State.
He emerged as a possible candidate for the congressional seat held by Democrat Rep. Carol Shea-Porter during the summer, and in September announced his resignation as dean of the business school, effective Nov. 1.
His candidacy sets up a Republican primary between him and former U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, who formally announced on Sept. 23 that he is running for a third time for the seat he won in 2010 and then lost in 2012.
Innis is the first openly gay Republican to seek high office in New Hampshire. He resides in Portsmouth with his spouse, Douglas Palardy. The couple, which has three children, purchased the former Bow Street Inn in 2008 and re-opened it as the Ale House Inn.
Innis said in a recent interview he views the fact that he is a married gay man as a non-issue, although his candidacy is expected to draw support from national Republican gay rights and pro-same-sex marriage groups.
Innis is making the announcement of his candidacy on a web video on his new campaign web site, InnisForCongress.com.
He talks about Washington "racking up" trillions of dollars in new debt and calls the Affordable Care Act "a disastrous government takeover of health care that directly attacks small businesses families and seniors."
And in an opinion piece on Page A7 in the New Hampshire Union Leader today, Innis says, "I am not a politician. I have not lived my life making decisions based on running for elected office.
In an interview Tuesday, Innis told the Union Leader that while he is "a little bit of an outsider," he paid attention to politics for much of his life.
He became interested in politics, and the relationship between politics and business, in the 1970s with the onset of government price controls the Arab oil embargo.
But he said he became increasingly concerned in recent years "as I watched things unfold in Washington, lurching from crisis to crisis."
"It's very disappointing when government gets shut down," Innis said. "A big part of this is with the President and his lack of leadership in helping to begin the conversation to move things forward."
Innis said the Affordable Care Act — a.k.a Obamacare — "is a bad law, but the only way we're going to overturn the law is to get Republican majorities in the Senate and House and to have a Republican in the White House."
In the meantime, he said, "We've got to approach this in a problem-solving way and in a very thoughtful way."