- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis‘ top aide is leaving the job to join President Donald Trump’s administration.

The White House announced Monday that Ray Starling would become a special assistant to the president for agriculture, trade and food assistance through Trump’s National Economic Council.

Starling worked for Tillis for several years while he was state House speaker and when he joined the Senate in 2015. He was Tillis‘ chief lawyer in both positions and had advised him on agriculture policy. He also previously worked for the state Department of Agriculture.

Starling is a Sampson County native who attended North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill law school.

Tillis said in a news release State Director Jordan Shaw will be his interim chief of staff.

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