G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.)

U.S. Representative (since July 2004)

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Why He Matters

Butterfield is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and a strong supporter of civil rights. He supported 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. Butterfield is an outspoken opponent of a Navy plan to build a landing field in his district and has twice introduced legislation that would provide money to states to eradicate bedbugs.

Butterfield is the congressman for North Carolina's 1st district and a former judge who served on the Superior Court and the state Supreme Court before winning a special election to replace Frank Ballance (D) in July 2004. Butterfield was named a House Democratic chief deputy whip after helping friend Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) become House majority whip in 2006.

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G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.)

U.S. Representative (since July 2004)

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At a Glance

  • Career History: North Carolina Superior Court, (1988-2001), (2002-04); North Carolina Supreme Court, (2001-2002); Practicing attorney, (1974-1988)
  • Birthday: April 27, 1947
  • Hometown: Wilson, North Carolina
  • Alma Mater: North Carolina Central University, B.A. 1971; J.D. 1974
  • Spouse: Divorced
  • Religion: Baptist
  • Committees: Energy and Commerce ; Ethics
  • DC Office: 413 Cannon House Office Building, 202-225-3101
  • State/District Office: WIlson, 252-237-9816; Weldon, 252-538-4123
  • Web site

Path to Power

Butterfield wsas born in 1947 in Wilson, N.C., where his African-American family broke political barriers.

Butterfield's father, G.K. Butterfield Sr., was a dentist from Bermuda and elected a Wilson city alderman in 1953. "It sent shock waves not only through Wilson, but through the state," the younger Butterfield would say decades later. "The shivers that ran down the spine of the white power structure, set us on our course." Butterfield Sr. was defeated in 1957 after the other aldermen changed the city's structure from ward-based to at-large elections to shut out the possibility of a black candidate's win.

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The Issues

A reliable Democrat, Butterfield voted with House Democrats 97 percent of the time during the 111th Congress.

In 2009, The News & Observer reported that Butterfield and two other North Carolina Democrats, Brad Miller and Mike McIntyre, began voting a stricter line on issues related to Cuba after receiving campaign funds in 2004 from the country's largest Cuban-American political action committee. "My position fully galvanized after learning the extent of repression and suffering in Cuba," Butterfield said about his shift, adding that lifting sanctions would bolster the dictatorship.

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The Network

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) credited Butterfield with playing an important role in his 2006 campaign to become the majority whip.

Butterfield is close friends with Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

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Additional Resources

  1. "Butterfield holds health care town hall" ABC WTVD-TV, Aug. 12, 2009
  2. Anderson, David, "Butterfield tapped for key House role" Kinston Free Press, Jan. 22, 2011
  3. Whittington, Lauren W., "Judge Likely To Complete Ballance Term" Roll Call, June 16, 2004
  4. Barrett, Barbara, "Black farmers to share in settlement" The Washington Post, Dec. 13, 2010
  5. Barrett, Barbara, "Cuba and the cashflow" The News & Observer, Nov. 16, 2009
  6. Bresnahan, John, "Charlie Rangel to face censure vote" Politico, Nov. 18, 2010
  7. "G.K. Butterfield Elected To Fill Ballance's Term" The Associated Press, July 21, 2004
  8. Johnson, Mark, "2 WHO LOST ELECTIONS NAMED TO JUDGESHIPS" Charlotte Observer, Dec. 14, 2002
  9. "Butterfield Applauds Health Insurance Reform Benefits" March 18, 2010
  10. Shaw, Matt, "A star rising: U.S. Rep. Butterfield plays significant role in Washington" The Wilson Daily Times, Jan. 17, 2009
  11. "Washington Post Votes Database"
  12. "Butterfield to serve as Dems chief deputy whip" The Rocky Mount Telegram, Dec. 7, 2010
  13. National Journal, Almanac of American Politics 2008
  14. "Black lawmakers push for leadership post if Democrats win House" The Associated Press, Nov. 2, 2006
  15. Barrett, Barbara, "Ethics probe ends; too little evidence found" Raleigh News & Observer, Jan. 4, 2011
  16. Book, Sue, "Butterfield champions Voting Rights Act renewal: Democrat among 151 co-sponsors of effort" New Bern Sun Journal, July 13, 2006
  17. Perlmutt, David, "PROGRESS AT THE POLLS" Charlotte Observer, July 24, 2005
  18. Connor-Knox, Janet, "Butterfield talks about health care, GOP and ethics probe" The Wilson Daily Times, Jan. 10, 2011
  19. "Butterfield Appointed to Democratic Leadership Post" Press Release, Dec. 6, 2010
  20. Eisley, Matthew, "Easley picks Wilson judge" The News and Observer, Feb. 6, 2001
  21. Frazier, Eric, "NON-JUDGE'S WIN RAISES QUESTIONS ON SYSTEM" Charlotte Observer, Nov. 7, 2002
  22. "Butterfield keeping Rangel donation" The News & Observer, Jan. 27, 2009
  23. Herszenhorn, David M., "Congress Sends $801 Billion Tax Cut Bill to Obama" The New York Times, Dec. 16, 2010
  24. "National Briefing | South: North Carolina: First-Term Congressman Resigns" The New York Times, June 9, 2004
  25. Associated Press: "EPA looks for ways to not let the bedbugs bite," April 14, 2009
  26. National Journal, Almanac of American Politics 2008
  27. Shortley, Vanessa C., "N.C. representative one of few Democrats to vote against bailout" The Free Press (Kinstin, N.C.), Sept. 30, 2008