The Organic Trade Association (OTA) has announced the hiring of two experienced government affairs professionals to join its team.
Kelley Poole has been selected to fill the role of Vice President of Government Affairs at the trade association. In addition, Megan DeBates will take on the new position of Director of Legislative Affairs and Coalitions. Both Poole and DeBates will begin their posts in January 2017 and help introduce organic food and farming to a new Administration and Congress. Both will be based in OTA’s Washington, D.C., office at the Hall of the States.
Poole most recently served as Director of Government Relations for Verto Solutions LLC based in D.C. There, she has provided oversight of federal legislative, public policy and regulatory activities in the United States and across the globe for food industry associations including The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States and The American Spice Trade Association. Previously, she served in the Bush Administration in several capacities including serving as Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services and Director of Legislative and Public Affairs for Rural Development while assigned to the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 2003 to 2009. Prior to that, she provided strategic planning and insight for communications and events for the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Trade & Development Agency, and the U.S. Department of Labor, and served as a White House press advance representative to President George W. Bush, Mrs. Laura Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Poole previously served as Chief Cabinet Aide to the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and as Staff Director for the Florida Senate Majority Office before moving to Washington, D.C.
DeBates, meanwhile, most recently has served as Senior Legislative Assistant to U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Peter A. DeFazio (OR-04), who was an author of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 that established national organic standards. Graduating from the University of Oregon with a dual degree in international studies and environmental studies, she has advised and helped develop legislative strategy for this senior member of Congress on key issues concerning agriculture, defense, trade, foreign affairs, small business, homeland security and natural resource policy. She has served as the lead staff for the House Organic Caucus.
“As an important part of diverse agriculture, organic continues to be at the table on agriculture, food and fiber policy issues. We believe that these two additions to our staff will aid us in our work with policymakers to make the voices and perspectives of organic heard and respected.” said Laura Batcha, OTA’s Executive Director/CEO.
Added Batcha, “We are delighted and eager to have Kelley and Megan join our staff, and believe that they will help us in our advocacy efforts in D.C. on behalf of our members nationwide.”
The Organic Trade Association is an equal opportunity provider and employer