WASHINGTON, D.C. The White House announced Monday that Ray Starling, chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), will be leaving the senator’s office to serve as special assistant to the president for agriculture, trade and food assistance.”We will greatly miss Ray’s tremendous leadership, his warm sense of humor, and his genuine passion for working on behalf of all North Carolinians, but the silver lining is that our state’s loss is America’s gain,” said Tillis. “There is simply no one better qualified than Ray to advise the president on agriculture and trade policy. Ray has been a lifelong champion for North Carolina’s agricultural industry, and he will now play a major role in fulfilling the administration’s plans to support our nation’s farmers and ranchers and revitalize rural America.”Tillis also announced that his state director, Jordan Shaw, will serve as his interim chief of staff.”I’m glad we are going to have a North Carolinian working on agriculture policy in the White House,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). “Ray Starling has a deep understanding of the agriculture industry and I know he will work to promote policies that will help our nation’s economy thrive.”Starling has also served as Tillis’ chief counsel, and was then-Speaker Tillis’ general counsel and agriculture adviser in the N.C. General Assembly. After growing up on a Century Family Farm in Autryville, N.C., Starling received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from N.C. State University and a doctorate from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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