By ETHAN DEWITT
The Keene Sentinel
September 30, 2016

Dan Weeks made his name pushing for electoral reforms from outside the system. Now, as the Democratic candidate for the N.H. Executive Council in District 5, he’s hoping to effect change from the inside.

As executive director of Open Democracy, Weeks, of Nashua, managed statewide campaigns to press for eliminating corporate money from politics, including the New Hampshire Rebellion walking campaign in 2014.

As executive councilor, he would be tasked with sifting through reams of state contracts worth more than $25,000, overseeing the 10-year Department of Transportation plan and approving appointments of judges and commissioners.

In a meeting with Sentinel editors Thursday, Weeks argued his management of a nonprofit organization gave him the experience necessary for the technical work on the council.

“I want to bring those qualities that I’ve developed as a leader of nonprofits, scrutinizing budgets and campaign finance statements ... to the council and be an advocate for District 5,” he said.

Among Weeks’ principal stances is a promise to help remove partisanship from the five-member council, which in recent years has been dominated by 3-2 decisions often along party lines.

He said his Republican opponent, incumbent David Wheeler of Milford, has made votes that were ideologically driven, and that he would vote for contracts based on the strength of their fundamentals.

But in detailing his positions, Weeks is unabashed in his own political stances. He supports a $4 million to $7 million investment in a commuter rail project in the capital corridor and an expansion of solar projects in the district. He spoke against votes his opponent had taken against Planned Parenthood funding, Medicaid expansion, commuter rail and renewable energy projects.

Drawing a contrast between his own philosophy and his opponent’s, Weeks said he believes in delivering the best value for voters, while Wheeler and other Republicans are overly concerned with the lowest cost.

“We as a state are all too often penny-wise and pound-foolish,” he said. “We look for the lowest up-front cost, and we fail to make smart investments — in the form of living wages, in the form of reasonable environmental requirements, sustainability requirements — which end up costing us more in the long term.”

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