Ray Burton, the state’s longest serving Executive Councilor, and a political force in the Northern part of the state for more than 30 years, has died at the age of 74. Burton had kidney cancer. Across the state leaders on both side of the aisle remember Burton as a consummate public servant.
A new fire training facility in the North Country will be named after Executive Councilor Ray Burton, said Deborah A. Pendergast, the director of the state’s division of Fire Standards & Training and Emergency Medical Services.
The center, located in Bethlehem, will allow fire fighters from the North Country to learn fire fighting techniques without the cost and time involved in traveling to Concord.
“It gives the folks up in that area a facility that meets their needs,” she said in a telephone interview.
Executive Councilor Ray Burton has received Plymouth State University’s highest award for public service, only the third time the honor has been given in almost a decade.
The Henry W. Blair Award for Distinguished Public Service was created in 2004.
“It is for distinguished public service, it recognizes someone who has devoted – as Henry Blair did – a life to making the world better through strong public service,” PSU president Sara Jayne Steen said in an interview. “And, in that sense of course, Ray is the perfect candidate.”
Here’s how this year’s election in the North Country – including the September 11th primary - is shaping up, according to filings with the New Hampshire Secretary of State.
* Longtime Coos County Commissioner Bing Judd is being challenged by Rick Samson - also a Republican – who is deeply involved in the opposition to the Northern Pass hydro-electric project. There is no Democratic opponent.
* Executive Councilor Ray Burton of Bath faces another Republican, Gerard L. Thibodeau of Rumney in the primary. Democrat Beth Funicella of Jackson has also filed.
Executive Councilor Ray Burton of Bath says he tried unsuccessfully to keep Meredith Hatfield as the state’s consumer advocate on public utility matters because she has been “independent minded” and helped consumers.
But last week the Republican controlled Executive Council voted 3 – 2 against re-appointing Hatfield who represents consumer interests before the Public Utilities Commission.