George Kenneth Butterfield, Jr. (born April 27, 1947) is the U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 1st congressional district, serving since 2004. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district is located in the northeastern corner of the state.
Early life and education
Butterfield grew up in a prominent black family in Wilson, North Carolina. Both of his parents had white ancestors. Butterfield's father emigrated to the United States from Bermuda.
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.
Butterfield served honorably in the United States Army from 1968 to 1970.
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
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, Congressman Butterfield was appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Whip, Congressman Jim Clyburn, to serve as one of eight Chief Deputy Whips responsible for helping to formulate Democratic policy and insuring the passage of legislation by maintaining good communication with members.
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.
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 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.
Originally endorsing John Edwards for the presidential primary, in January 2008, Butterfield endorsed Barack Obama for the primary and general election.
Butterfield defeated Republican nominee Ashley Woolard.
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 two adult daughters, Valeisha and Lenai.
His ex-wife is Jean Farmer-Butterfield, who is currently a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives and representing the 24th House District. He is also a member of the Groove Phi Groove fraternal organization.
January 7th, 2012