G. K. Butterfield
|G. K. Butterfield|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 1st district
July 20, 2004
|Preceded by||Frank Ballance|
|Born||George Kenneth Butterfield, Jr.
April 27, 1947
Wilson, North Carolina
|Residence||Wilson, North Carolina|
|Alma mater||North Carolina Central University|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1968-1970|
George Kenneth "G. K." Butterfield, Jr. (born April 27, 1947) is the U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 1st congressional district, elected in 2004. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district is located in the northeastern corner of the state, stretching from Durham to Elizabeth City and including all or parts of 24 counties.
An attorney, he served as Resident Superior Court judge for North Carolina (1988-2000) and as a state Supreme Court justice, the latter from 2001-2004.
Early life and education 
Butterfield was born and raised in a prominent African-American family in Wilson, North Carolina, the son of Addie Lourine (née Davis) and George Kenneth Butterfield. Butterfield's father immigrated to the United States from Bermuda.
Thomas Butterfield served as Chief Justice of the Bermuda Supreme Court in February 1835, when the American brig Enterprise (slave ship), part of the coastwise slave trade, put in at Bermuda because of severe weather. With Britain having abolished slavery the year before, Chief Justice Butterfield interviewed the 78 slaves individually to determine if they wanted to stay in Bermuda and gain freedom, or return with the ship to the US and slavery. Seventy-two chose to stay in Bermuda and were emancipated.
Described by the Washington Post as an "African-American who appears to be white," Butterfield identifies himself as an African-American. He has noted having grown up on the "black" side of town, and led civil rights marches. He is proud of his Black identity. and is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Butterfield graduated from Charles H. Darden High School. He earned degrees in Political Science and Sociology from North Carolina Central University (NCCU). In 1974, he received a Juris Doctor degree from the NCCU School of Law.
Judicial career 
In 1988, Butterfield was elected as Resident Superior Court judge in the first judicial division. For the next twelve years, he presided over civil and criminal court in 46 counties of North Carolina. In February 2001, he was appointed to the North Carolina Supreme Court by Governor Mike Easley. In 2002, Butterfield lost his seat on the Supreme Court but returned to the Superior Court bench by special appointment of Governor Mike Easley and served in that position until his retirement in May 2004.
U.S. House of Representatives 
Committee assignments 
- Committee on Energy and Commerce
Caucus memberships 
- Congressional Black Caucus (previously the second vice chair, he was chosen first vice chair for the 113th United States Congress.)
- International Conservation Caucus
- Congressional Motorcycle Safety Caucus
Butterfield serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and formerly served on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Agriculture Committee. He is the Region VIII representative on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.
Beginning in the 110th Congress, Butterfield was chosen to serve as one of eight Chief Deputy Whips responsible for assisting the formulation of Democratic policy and to insure the passage of legislation by maintaining good communication with members. He was appointed to this position by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.
Political positions 
As a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, G.K. Butterfield advocated for the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Butterfield supports "a market-based approach to capping carbon emissions" and wants to broaden America’s sources of energy. On his website, Butterfield stresses the need to find more clean and domestic sources of energy.
A strong supporter of civil rights, he advocated renewal of the Voting Rights Act and "introduced a bill calling for the Capitol Visitor's Center to acknowledge the slave labor used to build the Capitol."
In 2009, Butterfield introduced the Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act "to assist states in carrying out inspections of lodging facilities, train inspection personnel, contract with a commercial exterminator; educate owners and staff at lodging facilities." Butterfield also passed H.R. 4252 "To amend the Small Business Act to change the net worth amount under the small business program for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals from $750,000 to $978,722, and for other purposes."
Butterfield supports a health care option offered by the government and relaxing regulations on the importation of prescription drugs. Butterfield supported the Obama Health Care bill and worked with the Energy and Commerce Committee to help write the legislation. During the discussion of the bill in Congress, Butterfield complained about the lack of cooperation from the Republican party.
Butterfield supports increasing taxes for higher-income families while decreasing taxes for middle and low-income families. Although he is an advocate for using government stimulus in order to improve the economy, Butterfield wants to reduce government regulations on the private sector.
In 2008 Planned Parenthood gave Butterfield a 80 percent ranking and in 2009 Butterfield supported the interests of NARAL Pro-Choice America 100 percent of the time. Butterfield considers himself pro-choice and is especially clear in his support of legalized abortion when the life of the woman is in danger or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.
Butterfield has repeatedly voted against defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, voting against the Marriage Protection Act of 2004 and constitutional marriage amendments in 2004 and 2006. He has voted to ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation and in 2010 voted for the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.
In 2011, he voted to extend expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act and voted in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012.
In 2012, Butterfield introduced legislation that, if passed, would require more input from the public before tolls are introduced on roads. His legislation is in response to the "No toll on I-95" group, which is a Roanoke Rapids based group that opposes instating a toll on I-95. Opponents of the toll argue that it leads to double taxation, and say it is the first time "the federal government has put tolls on an existing interstate."
Political campaigns 
Butterfield was elected to Congress in a special election on July 20, 2004 to fill the unexpired term of Representative Frank Ballance, who resigned for legal reasons. He defeated Republican candidate Greg Dority and Libertarian Party nominee Tom Eisenmenger. Butterfield was sworn into office on July 21, 2004.
On July 20, 2004, Butterfield won the Democratic primary entitling him to run in the November 2004 general election. He again faced Dority and won his first full term with 64% of the popular vote.
Butterfield was unopposed for reelection in 2006.
Butterfield won against Dean Stephens with 70.28% of the vote.
2008 Presidential campaign 
Butterfield defeated Republican nominee Ashley Woolard.
Butterfield will be seeking re-election in 2012; the district is expected to strongly favor Democrats.
In April 2012, Butterfield accompanied President Obama to speak at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to speak about extending the current interest rates on federal loan program for many undergraduate students. Butterfield expressed concern with the pending expiration, saying: “Allowing the current interest rates to expire would burden students with additional debt, prolong their ability to kick start their careers, and send the message that it is more important to cut taxes for the wealthy than educational expenses for our young people.”
Personal life 
Butterfield is a member of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church in Wilson, North Carolina, where he formerly served as Trustee and Chairman of the Finance Ministry. Butterfield has three adult daughters, Valeisha, Lenai and Tunya; His ex-wife is Jean Farmer-Butterfield, who is a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives representing the 24th House District. He is also a member of the Groove Phi Groove fraternal organization.
See also 
- "Once a Soldier... Always a Soldier". Legislative Agenda. Association of the United States Army. 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- "CSCE :: Testimony :: Hon. G.K. Butterfield Commissioner - Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe". Csce.gov. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- "February 18, 1835: Supreme Court frees 72 Enterprise slaves", This Month in History, Bermuda Biographies, accessed 3 April 2013
- "G.K. Butterfield, (D-N.C.)", Politics, Washington Post, 23 December 2011, accessed 4 April 2013
- AP, "Many insisting that Obama is not black", Huffington Post, 14 December 2008, accessed 4 April 2013
- "About GK". United States House of Representatives. undated. Archived from the original on 2008-07-30. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- BUTTERFIELD, George Kenneth, Jr. (G.K.), (1947 - ) Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- "Butterfield elected to Congressional Black Caucus". The Daily Reflector. November 16, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
- Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) (06/15/09). "Poorest Americans, contributing least to climate change, will not be hurt by legislation to rectify". The Hill.
- "Energy & Global Climate Change". Congressman G.K. Butterfield Official Website.
- Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) (06/15/10). "Hearing with oil executives underscores need for energy overhaul". The Hill.
- "G.K. Butterfield - Gay Marriage". The Political Guide.
- "Democrat George Kenneth 'G.K.' Butterfield, Jr.". Washington Post. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
- "HR 1540 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 - Voting Record". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
- "Butterfield to announce tolling bill". Chicago Tribune. 4 May 2012.
- William L. Holmes (21 July 2004). "Butterfield Wins Special Election; Will Face Dority in November". Associated Press.
- Cindy George (21 July 2004). "Former Justice Wins 1st District; Butterfield Fills Ballance’s Seat". News and Observer. p. A16.
- "North Carolina Election Results 2008". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- Butterfield now endorses Obama
- Boyer, Robert (2008-10-12). "Hunt among state Dems stumping for Obama". Times-News.
- Miller, Joshua (8 August 2011). "Race Ratings: GOP Looks for Major Gains in North Carolina". Roll Call. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
- Johnston, Bill (24 April 2012). "Butterfield to Join President Obama at Chapel Hill Speech Today". Goldsboro Daily News. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
- Davis, Edmond. "Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship (1962-- )". BlackPast.org. Retrieved 11 December 2011.
- Congressman G. K. Butterfield official U.S. House site
- Butterfield for Congress official campaign site
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Profile at Ballotpedia
- Congressional profile at GovTrack
- Congressional profile at OpenCongress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Financial information (federal office) at OpenSecrets.org
- Staff salaries, trips and personal finance (federal office) at LegiStorm.com
- Issue positions and quotes at On the Issues
- Voting record at The Washington Post
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Collected news and commentary at The Washington Post
- Profile at The News & Observer
- Press release on Butterfield's State Supreme Court appointment
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 1st congressional district
|United States order of precedence|
|United States Representatives by seniority