About G.K. Butterfield
Congressman G. K. Butterfield is a life-long resident of eastern North Carolina. His father was a well respected dentist and civic leader in Wilson for many years and was the first black elected official elected in eastern North Carolina in the 20th century. His mother was a classroom teacher for 48 years. Having graduated from the Charles H. Darden High School, Congressman Butterfield graduated from North Carolina Central University with degrees in Political Science and Sociology. In 1974, he received a Juris Doctor degree from the NCCU School of Law launching a very successful legal career.
After graduating from law school, Congressman Butterfield engaged in the practice of law in his home community with Milton “Toby” Fitch and at various times with Quentin Sumner and James Wynn. All of his former law partners are now distinguished judges. Congressman Butterfield's law practice was devoted to representing poor people with extraordinary legal problems. He was considered the “People's Lawyer” in his hometown – a title that earned him great respect and admiration in the community. He is best known for successfully handling several Voting Rights lawsuits in eastern North Carolina counties resulting in the Court-ordered implementation of district elections for local officials.
In 1988, Congressman 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. His knowledge of the law and common sense approach to judicial decision-making earned him the reputation as a firm but fair judge.
In February of 2001, North Carolina Governor Mike Easley appointed Congressman Butterfield to the seven-member North Carolina Supreme Court. He served on the Supreme Court until December 31, 2002 when he returned to the Superior Court Bench after being defeated in the November General Election. His candidacy attracted the endorsement of most of North Carolina's newspapers as well as endorsements from nearly every major legal organization in North Carolina but he was victim to North Carolina’s partisan method of electing judges. That method of election has since been changed.
After fifteen years as a judge, Congressman Butterfield retired from the Judiciary in April of 2004 when he was selected by the Democratic Party as the nominee in the July Special Election for the United States House of Representatives. His resounding victory in that election entitled him to complete the term of his predecessor. Since winning that special election, Congressman Butterfield has been twice re-elected to serve full two-year terms in the House of Representatives.
Congressman Butterfield serves on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee and serves on three sub-committees of the full committee. Those sub-committees are: Energy and Air Quality (where he sits as Vice-Chairman); Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection; and Environment and Hazardous Materials.
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. He is the first Democratic member of Congress from North Carolina to serve as a Chief Deputy Whip.
Congressman Butterfield is a life-long member of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church in Wilson where he served as Chairman of the Finance Ministry. He is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army where he served as a Personnel Specialist. Congressman Butterfield is the proud father of adult daughters, Valeisha and Lenai.
Roll Call recently named Butterfield one of seven up-and-coming Democrats in the House “who could play pivotal roles in the 110th Congress.”