U.S. Rep. G. K. Butterfield speaks for December 10 commencement

Kesha Williams
November 28, 2005U.S. Representative G. K. Butterfield is the speaker for Elizabeth City State University's 141st Commencement Ceremony at 10 a.m., December 10, in the R. L. Vaughan Center. Butterfield is a life-long resident of eastern North Carolina. The Congressman, a two-time graduate of North Carolina Central University (NCCU), having earned an undergraduate degree in political science and sociology and, in 1974, a Juris Doctor from the School of Law. Atty. Butterfield practiced law in his home community, Wilson, NC, where he became known as the People's Lawyer. His law practice was devoted to representing low income people with extraordinary legal problems. A major accomplishment for the attorney was his success with several eastern North Carolina voting rights lawsuits that led to the court-ordered implementation of district elections for local officials. In 1988, Butterfield was elected as Resident Superior Court Judge in the first judicial division. For the next 12 years, he presided over civil and criminal court in 46 counties of North Carolina. In February 2001, Governor Mike Easley appointed him to the seven-member North Carolina Supreme Court. Butterfield served as a Justice on the Supreme Court until December 31, 2002, when he returned to the Superior Court Bench after being defeated in the November 2002 General Election. Butterfield retired from the Judiciary in April 2004, and was selected by the Democratic Party as the party's nominee in the July 20, 2004 Special Election for the U.S. House of Representatives. His resounding victory in that election entitled him to serve in Congress from July 21, 2004 until January 3, 2005. In the November 2004 General Election, Butterfield defeated the Republican candidate entitling him to serve a full two-year term beginning on January 3, 2005. Currently, Butterfield serves on the powerful House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Agriculture. In addition, he was elected by the 21 Democratic Members of Congress from the southern states to be their representative on the Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. Butterfield's father was a well-respected dentist and civic leader in Wilson, NC for many years and was the first black elected official in eastern North Carolina in the 20th century. His mother was a classroom teacher for 48 years. Butterfield is the father of two adult daughters, Valeisha and Lenai. He is a member of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church in Wilson where he previously served as chairman of the Finance Committee.