Ray Burton, a Republican who has represented the North Country for four decades, says his kidney cancer has returned and he won’t be seeking re-election.
Burton has served as both Executive Councilor and a Grafton County Commissioner.
Earlier this year Burton, who lives in Bath, said he had cancer but it was curable.
For much of the year he has been attending functions throughout the North Country, his cancer said to be in remission.
But Sunday he released a statement saying “It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that my cancer has returned. After several days in and out of the hospital I will be heading home to Bath, New Hampshire to rest. Due to this recent health development I wish to inform my intention not to seek re-election to the posts of Executive Councilor and Grafton County Commission.”
Burton said, however, he hopes to continue to fulfill his duties. He would have faced re-election next year.
“People have come to rely on him for four decades in the North Country, a place that has great needs and he has been a great servant,” said Jeff Woodburn, a Democrat from Dalton who is the senator representing the North Country.
Politicians around the state were responding Sunday.
Governor Maggie Hassan (D): "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.”
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D): 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."
Senator Kelly Ayotte (R): 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.
Burton was not available for comment Sunday. But in his statement he noted:
“I wish to thank my fellow residents of New Hampshire for giving me the privilege to serve them. In addition I thank my fellow Councilors and the Governors I proudly served with. I would also like to thank the 350 directors and commissioners I had the honor to work with over my years of public service. All decisions and matters addressed were always in the best intention to see our state succeed and I am honored to have been allowed to serve and work to make a difference for the Granite State.”