President Donald J. Trump’s Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and Director of the National Economic Council (NEC) Gary Cohn has announced key additions to the NEC senior staff that includes Ray Starling of North Carolina. Starling will serve as Special Assistant to the President for Agriculture, Trade and Food Assistance. He was previously Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, and also served as the Senator’s Chief Counsel. Prior to these positions, he was the General Counsel for then-Speaker Tillis’ and Senior Agriculture Advisor in the North Carolina General Assembly. He has been the General Counsel for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, has private practice experience from several years at Hunton & Williams, and has taught numerous agricultural and food law courses. After growing up on a Century Family Farm in southeast North Carolina, Starling received a B.S. in Agricultural Education from N.C. State University and a J.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill. In his position with the National Economic Council, he will advise the White House on issues pertaining to food safety.
Having grown up on a North Carolina farm, he knows agriculture from the inside and understands food safety and agriculture. He served on the state’s food safety task force where he addressed changes that would exist as a result of the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Starling’s education as an attorney and knowledge of Capitol Hill gained while working for the senator give him a frame of reference that should allow him to advise the administration from a practical, workable point of view.