Butterfield chosen as deputy whip
By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on December 11, 2006 1:45 PM
U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield, who represents much of eastern North Carolina, has been picked as one of nine chief deputy whips in the new Democrat-controlled 110th Congress.
"G.K. is an extremely energetic and organized person who is well-liked by members," Majority Whip-elect James Clyburn said.
Butterfield, D-District 1, spent much of the recent election cycle campaigning in support of fellow House members. The 59-year-old Wilson native has served in Congress since 2004 and this year, ran for re-election unopposed.
"He knows first-hand that people across the country want change in the next Congress, and Democrats will bring change in the form of a raise in the minimum wage, cut in student loan interest rates and a fair and open legislative process," Clyburn continued.
House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi also was pleased with Butterfield's selection.
"He has illustrated his ability to work effectively with his colleagues and to tackle the crucial issues facing the American people," she said.
Ken Willis, spokesman for Butterfield, said the congressman and other Democrats are anxious to get to work.
"Obviously we're pleased (the Democrats took over Congress)," he said. "Our belief is that Congress will do more to represent not just the privileged few, but all people and that means a lot to the people of eastern North Carolina. We don't have what you typically think of as the privileged few and we want to have a Congress who'll do more to help working families and those who struggle to get by."
Willis explained that the congressman's opportunity to join the House leadership team was made possible in part by his work on Clyburn's whip election campaign.
"He worked very closely with Clyburn," Willis said. "It's something he enjoyed doing. It's an opportunity to be part of the leadership team."
As part of the whip team, Butterfield will be responsible for helping to mobilize the party vote on legislation. He also will work as a liaison between Democrat party members and the leadership and will help coordinate strategy within the party.
"The deputy whips are used to figure out where people stand so you don't bring something to the floor and then not have the votes to make that happen," Willis said. "They help ensure that the legislative process runs smoothly."
But that's not all Butterfield will be doing as a deputy whip.
He also will be in a position to further help eastern North Carolina -- an opportunity that has Butterfield excited about the upcoming session.
"I'm proud to be part of a leadership team that will work hard to move America in a new direction," he said. "Being part of the majority leadership will also help me in bringing needed resources to eastern North Carolina."
Specifically, Willis explained, because of his position, Butterfield will have the opportunity to help shape legislation.
"Anytime there's a bill that includes appropriations, there often will be an opportunity to fit in the needs of eastern North Carolina," Willis said, mentioning in particular, military, health care, education and transportation issues. "Having a voice on the leadership has an advantage for those resources."
Butterfield will serve as deputy whip alongside U.S. Reps. John Lewis of Georgia, Maxine Waters of California, John Tanner of Tennessee, Ed Pastor of Arizona, Janice Schakowsky of Illinois, Joe Crowley of New York, Diana DeGette of Colorado and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida.
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