07/18/04 — Butterfield visits Goldsboro

View Archive

Butterfield visits Goldsboro

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on July 18, 2004 2:01 AM

G.K. Butterfield made several appearances in Goldsboro on Friday in a final flurry of campaigning before Election Day.

Butterfield, a Democrat seeking the U.S. House's 1st District seat, visited several offices at the Wayne County Courthouse. He then met the lunchtime crowd at Wilber's Barbecue. He ended up at the H.G.D.C. Community Crisis Center on Slocumb Street before heading to Snow Hill. He was nearing the end of a week-long trip through each of the 23 counties in the 1st District.

But if last week was exhausting, this week could be worse.

If Butterfield wins Tuesday's special election to fill former Congressman Frank Ballance's seat, he will be sworn in to office Wednesday and immediately begin work as a congressman.

"I'd have about a minute to respond. We'd pose for the official photograph, they'd hand me a House pager and I'd get to work," Butterfield said during a pause Friday.

He continued, "It's very sobering. That would be a tremendous responsibility -- to represent 660,000 citizens, to help them with their needs, their dreams, their hopes."

Butterfield, a Wilson native, is a former N.C. Supreme Court justice, but prior to that, he was a lawyer and then a Superior Court judge. He worked the bench in every one of the 1st District's counties and has come to Wayne County "hundreds of times," he said.

His campaign workers were telling people to be sure to "vote twice" for Butterfield Tuesday.

Many voters have not known or at least understood about the special election being a separate contest, Butterfield said. "They're becoming aware, but it's been a challenge."

His campaign has done several mailings and began a radio campaign over the last few weeks. He is trying to reach out to Republicans and unaffiliated voters as well for the fall election.

"You're going to hear me talk a lot about bipartisanship," he said. "At the end of the day, we've got to work together to solve our nation's problems."

George Kenneth Butterfield Jr. was born in 1947 to Dr. G.K. Butterfield Sr. and Addie Davis Butterfield. After graduating from Wilson County public schools in 1965, Butterfield attended N.C. Central University but was drafted in 1968. He served in the U.S. Army as a personnel specialist and was honorably discharged in 1970.

He returned to N.C. Central and graduated in 1971 with degrees in sociology and political science. He then earned his law degree from NCCU's School of Law in 1974. He was in private practice until he was elected to the Superior Court bench in November 1988. His home district was Edgecombe and Wilson counties but he presided over thousands of civil and criminal cases in 46 counties.

On Feb. 8, 2001, Gov. Michael F. Easley appointed Butterfield to the Supreme Court of North Carolina. He was defeated in the 2002 general election, after which Easley appointed Butterfield as a special Superior Court judge. He retired when he filed for the U.S. House.

He currently serves as a vice president of the N.C. Bar Association. He previously served as president of the N.C. Association of Black Lawyers.

Butterfield is divorced with adult daughters, Valeisha and Lenai.

For more information, see www.gkbutterfield.com.