By Melissa Proulx, Staff Writer
Dan Innis, the now former dean of the Paul College of Business amd Economics and New Hampshire 1st District Congressional Candidate, has returned. After being away on the campaign trail, he is happy to be back and settled down at his old stomping grounds.
“It’s kind of odd, I feel like I’ve had three jobs in almost a year,” Innis said. “I was dean, and then candidate, and now I’m a faculty member and hotel owner.”
Innis lost to Frank Guinta on Tuesday, Sept. 9 during the New Hampshire Republican Primary, 49 to 41 percent. To other Republican runners, Brendan Kelly and Everett Jabour, picked up the last 10 percent. Guinta will face off against Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, who has occupied the seat since 2012.
Though Innis admits that he was upset in the days following the primary, he says he remained calm in the moments immediately after as he gave his concession speech to the crowd of supporters who gathered in The Hotel Portsmouth that night.
“As I stood in that room and looked at everyone, I had a sense of satisfaction and closure,” Innis conceded to Frank Guinta on the night of the Primary.
“I had run a good race, I had done all I could do, and it was done.”
He has a new home in his office on the second floor of the business school that he officially moved into on Sept. 15, and though he won’t be teaching on campus until next semester, Innis said he will stay busy helping out with students on various projects in the hospitality department and helping to run The Hotel Portsmouth, a business that he and his husband, Doug Palardy, run together.
“There’s a lot of responsibility (as dean), which is good, I enjoyed it that,” Innis said, “At the same time, when you’ve done one thing for a long time, it’s always good to change it up and do something new.“This is almost like new, it’s been so long,” he said, motioning to his desk with its Wildcat statue and photos of his family and the shelves of books that line his wall.
It may feel new to him now, but Innis is still very familiar with the building that he helped construct during his seven-year stint as Dean. Innis left the university to run after announcing his plans last October after months of speculation from the public, but made official on June 6 when he handed in his paperwork at the New Hampshire Secretary of State office.
For the last year, Innis has been campaigning and fundraising. While he didn＊t enjoy every minute of it, his experiences meeting new people as a candidate left a lasting impression.
“There’s some amazing people around this state; people who care about our country and what we’re doing,” Innis said. “You don’t realize that as you live your day to day life. I think that was the best thing and the most encouraging thing.”
Though disappointed he lost, Innis said he is thankful for the experience that he said was “fulfilling.”
“It was a grueling experience, but I’m better for it,” he said.
Innis said that he will bring a lot of what he learned into the classroom when he starts teaching next semester and is looking forward to spending time with the students.
“The best part of being at the university is the students and hanging out with you guys,” Innis said. “That is the most rewarding part of the job for me, and it always has been.”
One of the major points he hopes to drive home to students is the importance of getting out to vote and having your voice heard. Innis cites the surprisingly low turnout for this year’s primary not only as a reason he lost, but a disappointing shadow that has been cast on society.
“This is our future and if we want to change Congress, if we want to improve Congress, we’ve got to get out and be heard,” he said. “We’ve got to get out and vote. If we don’t, we have no one to blame but ourselves.”
So, will Innis ever run in the future?
Innis was vague in his answer, saying he’s not sure if he will, but that he “wants to leave that door open.”
“We’ll see what develops in the next couple of years,” he said, with a sly smile.