Lawmaker Profile

Rep. George Butterfield

[D, NC-1]
Congressman G.K. Butterfield believes that if you work hard and play by the rules you deserve a fair shot at achieving the American Dream. But for many Americans, this dream seems out of reach. Too many North Carolinians are struggling to make ends meet. That is why Congressman Butterfield is working to expand opportunity to all Americans and ensure the poor and middle class have a seat at the decision making table. From the courts to Congress, G. K. Butterfield has always fought for equality of opportunity.    

Congressman Butterfield's roots in Wilson, N.C. taught him the values of hard work and responsibility. His father, Dr. G. K. Butterfield Sr., was a respected dentist and elected official.   Many of his patients had never received dental services because they were unable to afford care. However, Dr. Butterfield did not turn anyone away because they were unable to pay. To him, access to care was a right for everyone, not a privilege for the few.

Congressman Butterfield's mother, Addie, was passionate about education. She taught elementary school for 48 years in some of the poorest communities in North Carolina. Mrs. Butterfield was keenly focused on making sure her students learned to read--a right that was denied to many Blacks in the South. 

Congressman Butterfield's parents led by example and instilled in him the importance of serving your community and working to give people the opportunity to succeed. 

After graduating from Charles H. Darden High School in Wilson, Congressman Butterfield earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Sociology from North Carolina Central University (NCCU).  During his time at NCCU, Congressman Butterfield was active in organizing voter registration drives in Durham. After the enactment of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, Butterfield organized a student march from the State Capital in Raleigh to the Wilson County Courthouse to draw attention to the importance of voter registration. 

During his junior year at NCCU, Congressman Butterfield was drafted into the United States Army and was stationed at Fort Bragg Army installation in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He was later honorably discharged from the Army and returned to NCCU to complete his undergraduate degree. Following his graduation, he attended NCCU School of Law.  While in law school, Congressman Butterfield focused on learning how the law could be used to protect peoples' rights as opposed to limiting them.

After completing law school, Congressman Butterfield began his distinguished legal career as a civil rights attorney. For 14 years, Butterfield practiced law across eastern North Carolina representing mostly low-income clients who needed legal services. He also focused on protecting civil rights, winning several voting rights cases that earned him the reputation of a principled litigator. Butterfield's litigation work helped to preserve the ability of several African American communities to elect candidates of their choice to public office.

Congressman Butterfield was elected Resident Superior Court Judge for the First Judicial Division. For 13 years, he presided over civil and criminal courts in 46 counties throughout North Carolina.

In February 2001, then-Governor Mike Easley appointed Butterfield to the North Carolina Supreme Court. While serving on the highest court in the state, Congressman Butterfield authored more than 15 opinions on cases involving judicial sentencing procedures, eminent domain, and the application of capital punishment.

In 2004, G. K. Butterfield retired from the bench to run in a special election to fill the unexpired term of Congressman Frank Ballance (NC-01). Congressman Butterfield won a crowded primary election to fill the seat, where he captured 71 percent of the vote.

In January 2007, Congressman Butterfield was appointed a Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, a position in which he continues to serve. Butterfield works with the Democratic leadership to help formulate policy and rally support for the Caucus' legislative priorities on the House Floor. 

In November 2014, Congressman Butterfield was unanimously elected Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) for the 114th Congress. As a member of the CBC, Congressman Butterfield focused on promoting anti-poverty programs, expanding economic development and job creation, protecting voting rights, advocating for the appointment of African American to judgeships and senior Administration positions, and increasing diversity in leadership positions in corporate America. He has been an outspoken member of the CBC since his election in 2004.

Since coming to Congress, Congressman Butterfield has been a tireless advocate and champion for his constituents. He has worked to improve the lives of his constituents by proposing strong legislative initiatives, helping to direct more than $100 million in federal dollars to the First District, and by prioritizing constituent service. He has consistently supported projects in his district that work to increase student achievement and expand opportunities for his constituents. Congressman Butterfield has successfully fought for funding for transportation and redevelopment projects and has secured funding to support important health care programs in the First District. He serves on the committee that was a key architect of the Affordable Care Act, is an outspoken opponent of any attempts to repeal the law. 

Congressman Butterfield is a lifelong member of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church in Wilson, N.C. He is the father of three adult daughters, Valeisha, Lenai and Tunya, and a proud grandfather of three grandsons.

Lawmaker posts coming soon.