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Executive Councilor Ray Burton on the mend, and looking ahead

Special to the Union Leader

April 07. 2013 8:39PM

District 1 Executive Councilor Ray Burton stopped by the Presby's Annual Sugar Party in Bethlehem on Sunday. (SARA YOUNG-KNOX PHOTO)

BETHELHEM - District 1 Executive Councilor Ray Burton said on Sunday: "I haven't felt this good since last July."

The North Country icon was looking chipper after stopping in at the annual Presby Maple Sugar Party in Bethlehem. Chauffeured from his home in Bath to the event by his good friend, John LaBombard, Burton said that after chemotherapy in February and March, his latest CAT scan shows no cancer around his kidney.

He still faces the removal of a kidney, but is very happy that the debilitating chemotherapy treatments are behind him and is now looking forward to doing what he loves best, serving his 263,000 constituents in the sprawling District 1.

"I'm ready to announce for re-election for both 2014 and 2016 and beyond," Burton said, "as long as the people of Council District One and Grafton County Commissioner District 2 want me to continue my service as a public servant."

This winter, Burton missed a few events while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for kidney cancer, but he did not miss any Governor and Council or Grafton County Commissioners' meetings.

He did attend one G & C meeting via phone, and according to Governor Maggie Hassan, easily followed a PowerPoint presentation via the Internet at home.

"He's one of the hardest fighters I've ever seen," LaBombard said. "You can't keep 'Burton for Certain' down."

Throughout his fight with cancer, Burton's received a morning call from LaBombard and an afternoon call from fellow Grafton commissioner Mike Cyrans. He's also received more than 1,000 get well cards, and has been touched by the outpouring of support.

Joel Maiola and others have made sure Burton is represented at events.

"Every event I get an invitation to is covered," Burton said.

One event Burton will be at in person is on April 22 when Burton's friends and supporters get together for the annual Friends of Burton fundraising event at the Woodstock Inn Station and Brewery.

Woodstock owners Scott and Peggy Rice, along with the Friends of Ray Burton are putting on the 6 p.m. social, 7 p.m. buffet dinner evening.

Bonnie Ham of Friends of Ray Burton has been a good friend of Burton's since the 1970s, and is taking ticket reservations at

A good turnout is expected and it's not even an election year.

"I donate this event to Ray as a way to thank him for all the help he has given to us personally and to everyone in he is district in negotiating NH state government," Scott Rice said.

"One call to Ray and if he can help get the answers you need he will. What other politician is out there that tells you to call him at home if you need to. Over the 30 years I have known Ray, he has been there not only for help with state and county issues, but also with some great advice on how to operate a successful business in the North Country. Have an event Ray, will be there."

NH People Politics Bethlehem Photo Feature

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