Congressman G. K. Butterfield is a former member of Congress having represented North Carolina’s first district for more than 18 years. He is a senior advisor on McGuireWoods Consulting’s federal public affairs team. A native of Wilson, North Carolina, Butterfield has served his state and Nation for many years and in various capacities.
For most of his congressional career, Congressman Butterfield served on the influential Committee on Energy & Commerce. This committee has jurisdiction over issues involving energy distribution, renewable energy, health, telecommunications, environment, and consumer protection.
Congressman Butterfield served as Senior Chief Deputy Whip under the leadership of his lifelong friend, Congressman Jim Clyburn. As part of the Whip operation, Butterfield worked with the Democratic leadership to help formulate policy and promote the Caucus’ legislative priorities.
In November 2014, Congressman Butterfield was unanimously elected Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 114th Congress. As chairman, Butterfield worked with President Barack Obama and his administration on legislation to address poverty, income inequality, and other economic justice issues.
In addition, Butterfield founded “CBC Tech 2020” to persuade Fortune 500 companies to diversify their Boards of Directors and include African Americans as senior c-Suite executives. CBC Tech 2020 also used its influence to encourage meaningful corporate partnerships with HBCUs. Under his leadership, Butterfield help recruit qualified African Americans for nomination to the federal bench. He also helped lead the effort to pass legislation to update the formula contained in Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. During his tenure, Chairman Butterfield travelled the Nation and delivered countless speeches on behalf of his caucus.
During his 18 years in Congress, Butterfield has championed many other important bi-partisan issues including legislation to address pediatric rare diseases, expanding America’s infrastructure to include high speed rural broadband, and passing House legislation to recognize the Lumbee Indian Tribe of North Carolina. He championed restoration of the Minority Tax Certificate as a means of promoting minority broadcast opportunities.
Before his election to Congress, Congressman Butterfield engaged in the private practice of law in Wilson, North Carolina with the legendary firm of Fitch, Butterfield & Wynn. In 1988, Butterfield was elected Resident Superior Court Judge presiding over civil and criminal courts in 46 counties of North Carolina.
In 2001, Governor Michael Easley appointed Judge Butterfield as Associate Justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court. During his two-years on the Court, he authored more than 15 opinions in cases involving judicial sentencing procedures, eminent domain, and the imposition of capital punishment. After losing the 2002 general election to retain his Supreme Court seat in a partisan, statewide election, Butterfield was appointed by Governor Easley as Special Superior Court judge, a position he held until he successfully ran for Congress in a special election on July 20, 2004.
Congressman Butterfield graduated from North Carolina Central University (NCCU) with a degree in Political Science and Sociology. He then graduated from the NCCU School of Law in 1974 with a Juris Doctor degree. He has been a licensed attorney for 47 years. Congressman Butterfield is the recipient of many, many citations and distinguished awards including honorary doctorate degrees from several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Congressman Butterfield is married to Dr. Sylvia Butterfield who serves as Deputy Assistant Director for the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for STEM Education (EDU) in Alexandria, Virginia. Congressman Butterfield is a life-long member of Jackson Chapel First Baptist Church of Wilson. He served in the U.S. Army from 1968-1970 as a Personnel Specialist, E-4.
Congressman Butterfield is the proud father of three successful daughters and four young grandsons.