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Butterfield to stand down as congressman

Congressman GK Butterfield has announced he is standing down at the 2022 election.

A US congressman whose father was Bermudian and who helped secure the release of emergency equipment for the island as the Covid19 crisis hit, is to stand down from his seat.

GK Butterfield, a Democrat, attacked Republicans for “racially gerrymandering” his North Carolina constituency as he announced he would retire at next year’s House of Representatives election.

Mr Butterfield, 74, a Congressman since 2004, earlier served as deputy chief whip for his party, and was chair of the influential Congressional Black Caucus.

He helped secure the release of a container of high-protection N95 masks for Bermuda in the early stages of the coronavirus crisis after then-president Donald Trump slapped an export ban on personal protective equipment.

Mr Butterfield and his staff had to lock themselves in the his offices in the Rayburn Building across the street from where pro-Trump insurrectionists rioted at the US Capitol on January 6.

Mr Butterfield wrote: “I am safe and monitoring the violent uprising that is ongoing at the US Capitol complex.

“Please pray for our country.”

Mr Butterfield used his resignation announcement to launch an attack on the Republican Party and insisted it had redrawn electoral boundaries to their own advantage.

He said: “Every ten years the North Carolina legislature enacts a new congressional map.

“The map that was recently enacted by the legislature is a partisan map, it’s racially gerrymandered.

“It will disadvantage African-American communities all across the First Congressional District.”

Mr Butterfield added: “I am disappointed. Terribly disappointed with the Republican majority legislature for again gerrymandering our state’s congressional districts and putting their party politics over the best interests of North Carolinians.”

Democrats, who have a wafer-thin margin in the House of Representatives, face an uphill battle to retain a majority in the November 2022 midterm elections as president Joe Biden’s approval rates have plunged.

Mr Butterfield, a former judge, is a lifelong member of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church in Wilson, North Carolina.

He is married with three adult daughters.

His father, GK Butterfield Sr, who emigrated to the US from Bermuda, was a dentist and was elected to the city council in Wilson, North Carolina in the 1950s.

Dr Butterfield was the first Black elected official in eastern North Carolina since the Civil War ended in 1865.

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Published November 23, 2021 at 7:57 am (Updated November 23, 2021 at 7:40 am)

Butterfield to stand down as congressman

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