Tributes pour in for ailing N.H. Executive Council member Ray Burton
Executive councilor Ray Burton attended the dedication of Langdon Woods, a new student residence at Plymouth State University. (Friday, Oct.13, 2006)
(Concord Monitor photo/Ken Williams)
Tributes are pouring in for Ray Burton, the longtime member of the Executive Council from New Hampshire’s North Country, who announced Sunday he would not seek re-election in 2014 due to a return of his cancer.
Below are some of the statements and tweets of support and praise issued by Granite State politicians.
“Ray Burton’s steadfast dedication to the people and communities of the North Country and his unmatched public service have for decades strengthened the entire state of New Hampshire. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside Councilor Burton and I deeply appreciate his invaluable knowledge and deep commitment to the Granite State. I will work with the Executive Council to provide any support Councilor Burton requires as he continues to fulfill his duties on behalf of his constituents. My thoughts and prayers are with Ray and his loved ones in this difficult time.” -Gov. Maggie Hassan
“Public service is a labor of love for Councilor Burton, who has established an unmatched record of achievement, and I am deeply saddened by his announcement. No one has fought harder for his constituents than Ray, who has been a passionate and tireless voice for the North Country for decades –earning the admiration and gratitude of citizens across New Hampshire, Grafton County and Council District 1.
“When I served as Attorney General, I saw Councilor Burton in action and had the privilege of working with him on numerous occasions. He always did his homework, always asked tough questions, and carried in his heart the best interests of his district and our state.
“This must have been a very difficult decision for Councilor Burton, and I join with his constituents and people throughout New Hampshire in expressing deep and heartfelt thanks for his extraordinary service. I pray that Ray will find strength and peace during this difficult time.” -U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte
“Ray has been a dedicated public servant for more than three decades and the North Country is a better place because of his service. His decision to retire is a big loss for not only his constituents but the entire state of New Hampshire. My thoughts and prayers are with Ray and his family.” -U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
“Ray Burton has been a fixture of governance and service in New Hampshire since I was a young girl. Ray’s kindness, compassion, and commitment will set the bar for generations of public servants to come. We send our deep appreciation and abiding affection to Ray. Our thoughts and prayers join thousands more across the state, wishing him well in his recovery.” -U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster
“Sad to hear that this will be Councilor Burton’s last term. He is a terrific public servant and voice for the North Country, and I’ve enjoyed working with him over the years. Thank you, Ray, for your dedication and hard work!” -U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter
“Ray Burton is a true public servant. #NH will miss his steady leadership. @AnnDRomney & I are keeping him in our thoughts & prayers.” -2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney
“Ray Burton is a legend in New Hampshire politics, and it’s hard to even consider the Executive Council without his steady and reassuring presence. For over three decades, Ray has been a tireless champion for the North Country, a respected bipartisan leader and one of the most dedicated elected officials in New Hampshire.
“There will never be another public servant like Councilor Ray Burton. He is simply irreplaceable and his difficult decision is an enormous loss for our state. New Hampshire is thankful for his outstanding service and our thoughts and prayers are with him during these trying times.” -Jennifer Horn, chairwoman of the New Hampshire Republican Party
“I’m full of sadness as I contemplate politics without my friend and mentor Ray Burton, the persistent, perennial Executive Councilor, who will not seek another term as he faces serious illness. He has been extraordinary public official, a champion for the North Country and a politician who transcended politics and became an icon. God bless Ray Burton and the North Country as we endure the loss of such a steadfast public servant.” -State Sen. Jeff Woodburn, a former Burton intern
“Ray Burton, a special person who loves NH. He is my friend, he is our friend. He has honored us with his service.” -Tom Rath, former state attorney general
“I am deeply saddened to hear that Councilor Ray Burton will not seek reelection after over thirty years in public service. As a former governor who served with Ray for six years, I was always impressed with his dedication and deep commitment to his constituents. No one has done more to stand up for the North Country than Ray, and his institutional knowledge and bipartisan leadership will be missed on the Executive Council.
“Nancy and I extend our best wishes to Ray during these difficult times, and we ask that all Granite Staters keep him in their thoughts and prayers.” -Former governor John H. Sununu
(UPDATED, Oct. 29, with additional statements.)
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)