BUTTERFIELD TO HEAD CBC
Congressman G.K Butterfield was unanimously elected Wednesday as the 24th chair of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 114th Congress.
Beginning in January, Butterfield will lead the largest CBC in the organization’s history with 45 members.
"I’m moved by the unwavering support the CBC has shown me throughout the years,” said Butterfield. "Each year they’ve continued to elect me to senior positions within the Caucus, solidifying their confidence in me to help steer and now lead the conscience of the Congress as chair. I do not take this endorsement lightly.”
Butterfield rose to chair after serving eight years in Caucus leadership. He thanked the current chair for her support.
"I’m grateful to outgoing Chairwoman Marcia Fudge for her hard work and commitment over the past two years. There is no doubt that the CBC is better off as a result of her vision and leadership.”
The Congressional Black Caucus began in 1971 to give a greater voice to African-Americans and poorer Americans through legislation.
Butterfield, a Democrat, said the new Congress provides a fresh start to address the issues that are important to everyone.
Members of the CBC come from every region of the country.
While different members have different priorities, they speak together with a more united voice, Butterfield said.
There are too many Americans who have not benefitted from the recent economic recovery, he said.
"There continues to be great disparities for African-Americans that are the same as 30 years ago — disparities in income and wealth,” Butterfield said. "And those disparities are also with many white and brown Americans who have not been able to access the American dream.”
Butterfield said the CBC is facing an uphill battle after recent elections with Republican control of Congress.
"We find ourselves in a new legislative environment unlike anything I have ever seen,” Butterfield said. "The Congress is firmly in the hands of Republicans. We have a Republican majority that tries to discredit President Obama every opportunity they can.”
Butterfield said that he and the CBC are determined to speak on behalf of Americans who have been left out.
"We are called the Congressional Black Caucus, but we work on behalf of any person who has been disadvantaged and left out of this American system,” Butterfield said.
Butterfield, who represents the 1st District, said as he takes the helm of the CBC, his work doubles.
He continues to be grateful for his support back in Wilson.
"If anything drives me to tears, it is the love I have and Wilson has for me,” Butterfield said. "It has been created over many years starting with childhood. I will lift up the community I am a product of. This position with the CBC is not only my own individual appointment, but includes the hundreds of people in Wilson who help formulate who I am.”
Butterfield said many Wilson people have played a significant part in his career.
"I am going to continue to fight for those who are not benefiting — for things from improved wages to decent housing,” Butterfield said.