Democrat Seeks County Post

Bath — The Grafton County delegation is soliciting candidates to fill the District 2 seat for county commissioner vacated by the death of Ray Burton, and a close friend and fellow Bath resident has already stepped up to the plate.

Each county has three commissioners, who oversee the county budget and manage personnel and facilities. The second district encompasses 19 towns, including the Upper Valley towns of Haverhill, Lyme, Orford and Piermont.

State Rep. Linda Lauer, D-Bath, who knew Burton through church and the local Grange, said she was inspired to seek the seat by her “long talks with Ray about the role of a public servant and how they can really make a difference in the lives of people.

“Having lost Ray, it’s important to me that the people that he represented continue to have somebody to go to, that their first interest is helping other people,” Lauer said on Monday.

Lauer, 64, a Navy veteran, has a doctorate in chemistry and worked for Lockheed Martin for 26 years in Orlando, Fla. In that role, she managed personnel, budgets, capital acquisitions and laboratory facilities.

“People are people and budgets are budgets,” Lauer said. “I have the basic tools that I need going into it, plus a real strong desire to serve.”

The Grafton County Executive Committee, which consists of nine state representatives (three of them Republicans), voted to accept the timetable for vetting candidates on Monday. Executive Committee Chairman Andy White, a Lebanon Democrat, said that letters of interest and resumes will be accepted until Dec. 13.

White said the committee will review the applicants on Dec. 20, and will start interviewing candidates in early January. He said the full county delegation of 27 members — seven of them Republicans — will vote on Jan. 27.

A simple majority will be needed for delegation members to approve the appointment, which will run through Jan. 6, 2015. But whomever is appointed to fill the vacant seat will have to stand for election in November, 2014, if she or he wants to serve beyond Burton’s term.

Lauer said she doesn’t “think for a minute that I’m a Ray Burton,” and conceded that the prospect of filling his shoes in any capacity is an intimidating one.

“If I could do one tenth of what Ray Burton did, I’d consider my life to be a huge success,” Lauer said.

Grafton County commissioners receive an annual salary of $10,782.