Commissioners, Judges and Contracts Must Be Fully Examined To Ensure Limited and Accountable Government

BEDFORD, N.H.—Grounded in the fundamental principles needed to ensure limited and accountable state government, Executive Council District 4 candidate Bob Burns promises to stand firm on six campaign goals for the good of the people of New Hampshire and to persuade the governor and other executive councilors to do the same.

“The New Hampshire Executive Council was created to help make sure the governor and executive branch answer only to the people of this state and to ensure that our state maintains its tradition of low taxes, limited government and local control,” said Bob Burns, candidate for the District 4 Executive Councilor seat. “Many candidates will talk about civility and compromise during this election cycle, and I think these features are important, but not at the expense of accountability or principle. I owe it to the people of New Hampshire to stand on principle and devote my energy to the power of persuasion so I can change hearts and minds and advance the goals I am articulating today.”

Burns, who was recently endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire and several notables devoted to the cause of liberty, is outlining his Executive Council agenda today embodying the same spirit.

Because each state commissioner serves a four-year term that outlasts the governor and executive council’s two-year terms, Burns first pledges to vet each candidate for commissioner to make sure his or her skill set matches the role he or she is employed to fill. Recent scandals involving the Commissioner of N.H. Employment Security, who resigned after defrauding the system to benefit her own daughter, and the N.H. State Liquor Commissioner’s inability to account for 300 missing cases of fine wine valued at $100,000, highlight the need for the executive council to examine job candidates’ qualifications ahead of time.

“For too long, we have been filling these coveted posts with an eye toward rewarding political friends and operatives mired in outdated and poorly controlled systems, and this must stop now,” Burns said. “There should be no tolerance for political patronage in this system. An appointee’s first loyalty should be to the people of New Hampshire and not to their party. I will interview each candidate with the full understanding that I am entrusting him or her with my own money and my constituents’ money.”

Equally important to vetting commissioners is an executive councilor’s role in confirming judicial appointments. In making appointments, Burns said he will only support judges with a strong understanding of both the U.S. and N.H. constitutions’ original construction and purpose.

“The recent Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare reminds us that judicial appointments matter. Whether it is an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court or to a court in New Hampshire, we need justices that will strictly interpret the Constitution,” Burns said. “New Hampshire deserves an executive councilor that will properly scrutinize judicial appointments and not just take the word of the good ole boys network.”

As part of the vetting process, Burns said he would look past the large Concord and Manchester lobbying and law firms to identify the best candidates from more humble sources. In making recommendations to the governor, it is important that these insiders are only considered after a more thorough search process has been undertaken, Burns said.

Additionally, Burns said he would focus on cleaning up problems within the family court system. Accounts identified by the House Redress of Grievances Committee about court officials improperly stripping parental rights from good parents must be addressed. Except in the most extreme cases, children are always better off with both of their parents, he said, and judges should make sure the family courts are doing everything they can to keep families together.

Finally, Burns pledges to carefully review all state leases and contracts to make sure the people are getting a market rate from their tenants and paying a fair price to their contractors for work that needs to be done. All contracts and leases should be open to public scrutiny so that competitors will have an opportunity to offer the state a better deal and the state’s citizen Legislature will have a chance to examine them and determine whether the business conducted by the state continues to make sense, Burns said.

“It’s time to bring an end to excuses, such as ‘It’s a personnel matter’ or ‘It’s currently under investigation,’ when legislators, the media or the public ask questions about state contracts, leases or other matters of public importance,” Burns said. “These comments appear to cloak misdeeds in secrecy, and that’s not the impression our state government should be giving. Who is being protected by such secrecy? Certainly not the citizenry. As District 4 Executive Councilor, I will always call for sunshine in the back-door meeting rooms of state government to ensure our public officials are always accountable to the people they serve and the laws set by our State Legislature.”

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