CONCORD — In a political coup of sorts, Democratic District 1 Executive Council candidate Michael Cryans has won the joint endorsement of the three siblings of the late Republican councilor Raymond Burton, the New Hampshire Union Leader has learned.
An official announcement is expected later today.
Burton's two sisters, Joan Day of Concord and Mary Grimes of Columbia, and his brother, Steve Burton of Hanover, said this weekend that Democrat Cryans is the most qualified candidate to follow in their brother's footsteps in representing the northern third of the state on the five-member council.
According to the New Hampshire Democratic Party, Day and Grimes are Republicans, while Steve Burton is a Democrat.
Cryans, a Grafton County commissioner, faces Republican former state Sen. Joe Kenney in the March 11 special election. Burton, who served the district from 1977-79 and 1981-2013, died in November following a battle with cancer.
"The residents of district one lost an important advocate when my brother passed away last November," said Burton's sister, Joan Day. "However, I cannot think of a more qualified individual to fill his seat than Mike Cryans. I have no doubt that he will put the needs of his constituents first and come to Concord to provide full services as a public servant. Mike knows there is a lot work to do and he will get it done."
"New Hampshire was blessed with a one of a kind public servant during Ray's 35 years in Concord," said Steve Burton. "Now we must 'look north' and elect someone who will continue to advocate for northern New Hampshire residents. That person is Mike Cryans. Intelligent, compassionate, and dedicated to serving the needs of others, Mike will never forget the residents of district one."
"There is little doubt that my brother Ray left big shoes to fill," said Mary Grimes. "But I am confident that Mike Cryans is the man to succeed him. He has a deep understanding of district one and the issues facing its residents. Mike is someone who listens to the concerns of his constituents and will follow through on their issues. I know he will make an excellent executive councilor."
She said her mother was a resident of the Grafton County Nursing Home, and she "'saw first hand (Cryans') concerns for the residents while attending many of their functions, talking and listening to them."
"Ray Burton's death was a major blow to all of New Hampshire, myself included," said Cryans. "I'm extremely honored that Ray's brother and sisters have stepped forward to endorse me. Ray and I worked together for 16 years as Grafton County Commissioners. He was a dear friend and I will try my best to carry on his legacy."According to the state Democratic Party, Burton and Cryans "worked effectively together across party lines as county commissioners to deliver real accomplishments for their constituents, including constructing a new county jail, expanding the county nursing home, and building a biomass plant to heat the county facilities. Burton endorsed Cryans for County Commissioner in the most recent election and supported Cryans as Chair of the Commissioners in 2010 even though Republicans held a majority on the County Commission."