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I know Jean Farmer-Butterfield as a longtime friend, colleague and seatmate on the floor of the North Carolina House of Representatives.
Through the years, I have served with many big names and great public servants as they have made their respective ways through the N.C. House. However, through the years, I don’t know that I’ve ever met someone who truly lives for their constituents like Jean. You won’t find a greater advocate for teachers, principals, assistant principals and public education in general. As a descendant of a long line of teachers, and someone who began her own professional career as a teacher, it is quite literally in her blood. Furthermore, you won’t find a greater advocate for health care for all. Whenever an issue on health care emerges, we can all expect Jean to be at the front of the line fighting for the rights of every single North Carolinian.
I met Jean in 2005, and from the very beginning she demonstrated that she was a leader and a team player. She was elected twice as House majority whip, served as chair of the Joint Democratic Women’s Caucus twice and served in numerous other positions of leadership on committees.
I always knew her as a strong defender of small local businesses, and recently learned that her staunch stance on that issue runs blood-deep as well. Her father ran a small business in Wilson. Even further evidence that she and her family have been serving Wilson County for generations.
Jean is most significantly defined by her fierce pride in her community. I struggle to name someone more proud of their roots than Jean is to be a Wilsonian. And to be honest, not only is she a strong advocate for Wilson, she’s an advocate for Eastern North Carolina as a whole. In a country where so many seek elected office for the wrong reasons, many try to exploit the system and many run only for the sake of their own publicity or their own self-interest, the people of Wilson County are among the luckiest in this state that they are represented in the North Carolina House of Representatives by Jean Farmer-Butterfield.
Rep. Garland Pierce
The writer represents District 48 in the N.C. House, where he serves as minority whip.