G.K. Butterfield | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Candidate for U.S. House

G.K. Butterfield 

Candidate for U.S. House

Name as it Appears on the Ballot: G.K. Butterfield

Full legal name, if different: George Kenneth Butterfield

Date of Birth: April 27, 1947

Mailing address: P.O. Box 2156 Wilson, NC 27894

Campaign Web Site: www.gkbutterfield.com

Occupation & Employer: U.S. Representative, First Congressional District

Work Phone: (202) 225-3101

Twitter handle, if applicable: @gkbutterfield


1. If elected to the House, what is your highest priority for the next Congress? Please discuss what you would do to help it be achieved.

Job creation continues to be the most important issue facing the First District. To build on the past 48 months of job growth, I will continue to advocate for the renewal of emergency unemployment benefits, support providing tax breaks to businesses that hire the long-term unemployed, support investments in job training and innovation, increase access to capital for small and minority owned businesses, and help enforce equal economic opportunity for women.

2. Some House candidates favor term limits and pledge, if elected, to limit the number of terms they will seek? Is that a good idea? Will you, if elected, impose terms limits on yourself?

The authors of the U.S. Constitution envisioned a legislative body that would be directly elected by the people to serve two year terms. The power of the “People’s House” resides solely in the hands of the electorate. Every two years, the electorate decides who they want to be their elected representative. So long as the people of the First Congressional District have the confidence in my ability to represent their interests in Congress, I will seek reelection.

3. As a result of Citizens United and related factors, so-called “dark money” is pouring into American political campaigns without voters knowing where it came from. Do you favor or oppose measures to require that contributors be identified when their money is used to pay for political ads and other activities?

I opposed the Supreme Court’s rulings on Citizens United and the McCutcheon v. FEC. Since the Citizens United decision, the massive infusion of corporate financing has dramatically altered the electoral process, making it more difficult for the interests of everyday Americans to be heard. Freedom of speech is one of the most important tenets of our Constitution; however, extending this right to corporations and eliminating limits on individual campaign contributions empowers the wealthy and special interest groups at the cost of everyday Americans.

4. The American economy is not producing enough jobs for everyone who wants one, especially not enough jobs that pay enough to support a family. Conservative critics say the reason is too much federal spending which crowds out private investment. Critics on the left say there’s not enough public investment in job-producing sectors, while private capital is flowing to other countries. Where do you come down on this issue?

The economic downturn began during the Bush Administration. The country was fighting two wars that stretched the resources of the United States at the same time the housing market was crashing and the American people were bailing out domestic automakers. These problems did not occur overnight and they cannot be solved overnight. However, progress is being made. Economic success and the jobs that are created and sustained because of it are a direct result of federal investments in innovative industries that create high paying and long term jobs. But the role of private investment in American businesses that create American jobs is equally important. It is in everyone’s best interest when the public and private sectors work collaboratively to create jobs and sustain a strong economy.

5. Do you support increasing the federal minimum wage? If so, to what amount? And should it be indexed for inflation?

No responsible American that works a full-time job and plays by the rules should struggle to make ends meet. Therefore, I support increasing the federal wage and indexing it for inflation.

6. On the Affordable Care Act, what should the next Congress do? Repeal it? Change it? If so, how?

The Affordable Care Act is the single most important bill to be enacted in recent years. As a member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which was largely responsible for drafting ACA, and the eighth most senior member on the Health Subcommittee, my chief responsibility is to protect the ACA against the misinformation and flagrant scare tactics employed by Republicans who want nothing more than to see the law repealed. I am proud to have played a leading role in the development of this landmark law that has given millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans access to affordable healthcare. It is unfortunate that there are some who see access to affordable health care as a privilege and not a right. I hope to not only play an essential role in preserving the reforms to our healthcare system, but to also expand and improve health-related policies and regulations for all Americans.

7. Should undocumented immigrants be offered a path to citizenship? If so, what requirements would you impose? How should the law treat undocumented young adults and children who’ve grown up in the U.S. after being brought here by their parents?

As a nation of immigrants, we must treat all of those who come from other countries with respect. With more than 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., we must adopt policies that encourage pathways to citizenship and expand efforts to document immigrants currently living in this country. Undocumented immigrants with a history of violent crime must be deported, and existing border security mechanisms should be strengthened. It is most important that the federal government take action to solve this problem, rather than state-by-state immigration initiatives.

8. Do you think climate change is a serious, even urgent problem? Do you think human beings are causing it? What environmental policies should the U.S. adopt to combat climate change, if any?

The First Congressional District has felt the human and economic impact of climate change after Hurricane Irene, Superstorm Sandy, and the recent drought. There is no question that climate change is real. There is no question that climate change has been caused in part by human activity. The scientific community is in total agreement. Democrats in Congress have acted and have introduced proposals to curb greenhouse gas emissions, make vehicles more efficient, and support clean energy initiatives. I have supported many of these commonsense proposals and use my position as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee to advocate for policies that will address the long term consequences of climate change.

9. Is it time to pass a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) to protect the rights of LGBTQ people in the workplace?

Under current law, qualified, hardworking Americans can be denied job opportunities, fired or otherwise discriminated against simply because they are, or are perceived to be, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Without federal law protecting these individuals, it will remain legal in 29 states to discriminate based on sexual orientation, and legal in 33 states to discriminate based on gender identity or expression. ENDA is an important and needed step toward equality in this country.

10. Should union organizing be facilitated by changes to labor laws, including the proposed Employee Free Choice Act (ECRA)?

Unions have played a central role in building a strong middle class and advocating for workers’ rights. The ability to organize is a fundamental right and should be strengthened and preserved.

11. Do you support or oppose increasing tax rates on the wealthy, either to reduce federal debt or as part of a package to raise money for public investments and/or cut taxes for the middle-class?

The middle class has been taxed at a disproportionally higher rate than the rich. I support extending and expanding middle class tax cuts. Middle class Americans keeping more of the money they earn has a tremendous economic benefit for the country. The ultra-rich who have financially benefited from the hard work of the middle class can and should be taxed fairly and not be given expensive tax breaks that do nothing but feed our budget deficit and restricts the long-term ability of the federal government to provide essential services to all Americans.

12.What do you think of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s idea of expanding Social Security benefits as private pensions become less and less common?

There is no question that the landscape of retirement is changing. More and more Americans fear that they will not be able to retire at all or maintain a decent lifestyle while in retirement. Expanding Social Security is one option that may be able to put retirement in reach for hardworking Americans. I am open to considering and supporting all common sense proposals that will strengthen and preserve Social Security now and for future generations.

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