Born in Portland, Butland attended public schools there until his family moved to Cumberland when he was 13 years old. In Cumberland, he attended Greely High School.
Butland received his bachelor’s degree from Bates College where he majored in Political Science. As a college junior, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served as a Communications Specialist. After 22 years, Butland retired from the Marine Reserves with the rank of Major, in the summer of 1994.
Prior to becoming the first Republican President of the Senate since 1982, Butland served one term in the State Senate. During his first term in the State Senate, Butland served as a member of the Joint Standing Committee on State and Local Government.
From 1988-1992, Butland served as a member of the Maine House of Representatives. As a member of the House chamber, Butland served on the Labor and Taxation Committees.
From 1985-88 he was a member of the Cumberland Town Council where he served as Vice Chair. He is the former President of the Cumberland Historical Society and former President and Board Member of the People’s Regional Opportunity Program. His other community service includes the MSAD #51 Enrollment and Facilities Study Committee, the Maine Turnpike Authority Northern Corridor Committee, the Cumberland Mainland and Island Land Trust and the Prince Memorial Library Building Committee.
When he was not working in the State House, Butland was a customer service representative at L.L. Bean, Inc. in Freeport.
In 2002, he was appointed New England administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration. Senator Butland died unexpectedly on August 1, 2004. He was 53 years old.