To The Daily Sun,
It must have been the year 2000. The Executive Council was in town to explain its 20 year highway plan. Phase I of the Lakes Business Park was complete and negotiations were well under way with Gilford for Phase II. I was interested in the proposed Route 106 interchange that would provide access from the highway directly to the entrance of the Business Park.
The weather was nice so I walked from my office at the Belknap Mill to the old Martha Prescott Auditorium at the library where the Executive Council was set up, with all sorts of plans and maps behind them. As I came down the steps and into view, I was greeted by a familiar voice, "The mayor's got something on his mind today!" It was Ray Burton. He stood up, smiling broadly, and shook my hand with his trademark "How are you?" with emphasis on the "you." We had a friendly chat about the city, family and work, all interspersed with Ray's humor.
That was Ray: Friendly, witty, genuine — and fair. He was an equal-opportunity councilor. Ray did not judge people based upon who they were or what they were. He treated people the way he wanted to be treated. Ray could have cared less that I was a Democrat and he a Republican. He did his job non-partisan. I, in turn, regularly voted for Ray because of his tireless work for the city. I would have been an ingrate not to.
So what does any of this have to do with Tuesday's District 1 Executive Council special election? Well, if these are the attributes that earned Ray Burton the distinction as the state's most respected and beloved politician of the last 40 years, then maybe the next guy should have some of them, too.
I believe that Mike Cryans is that person. Mike worked shoulder to shoulder with Ray Burton for years as a Grafton County Commissioner. Mike has the same well-earned reputation for fairness and non-partisanship. The Executive Council wields exceptional power in appointing judges, department heads and other government officials. Mike can be trusted to make those appointments in a fair way, and not based upon some political or social bias toward the applicant. Mike, like Ray, treats people as he would want to be treated. It is no wonder that Ray Burton's family, who knew him best, has given their whole-hearted support to Michael Cryans.
I urge my fellow Laconians to vote for Michael Cryans for District 1 Executive Councilor on Tuesday, March 11.