Executive Council Dates from 1679

Ours is the last with real authority

By Bill Bardsley

During every state election, we find candidates for Executive Council on the ballot. I suspect this office remains mysterious to many voters.

New Hampshire is the only state that retains an Executive Council with real authority. Our Executive Council goes way back to 1679, when King Charles II directed that New Hampshire be separated from Massachusetts and set up a government of its own that he formulated. Now our Council reviews the state budget, votes on the governor’s judicial and administrative appointments (more than 300 of these), and must approve all state contracts over $10,000. It also manages the state’s 10-year highway plan.

Ray Burton served as District 1 (North Country) Executive Councilor for decades prior to his death a year ago. He became our councilor as that North Country district spread southward, when population growth in southern counties compressed the geographic size of the other four districts. On November 4, we vote to select a councilor to fill Ray’s seat for a full two-year term.

The first councilors back in 1679 served reluctantly, not happy to be part of a government ordered by the King of England. In 2014, we are fortunate to have candidates who do wish to serve. One is Michael Cryans. Michael has a long record as a county commissioner. (He also was the winner in his age group in Andover’s Fourth of July Firecracker 5K race.) He is a Democrat, but he will work for the people of the district and state, as did Republican Ray Burton, rather than pushing a radical personal or party agenda, as does his opponent. This is likely the reason that Burton’s relatives support Cryans. I hope you will, too, with a vote for Michael Cryans on November 4.