Ray Starling tapped as Tillis chief of staff

Ray Starling

Ray Starling

WASHINGTON — Ray Starling will begin the new year as U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis’ chief of staff, replacing John Mashburn. Starling has worked for Tillis since before the Republican’s 2014 election victory over Kay Hagan, and has been serving as his general counsel and senior policy adviser since Tillis took office in January.

Before moving to Washington, Starling served as general counsel to Tillis when Tillis was speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives. He has also been an adjunct professor of agricultural and food law and policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Campbell University and general counsel to the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.

Originally from Autryville (near Fayetteville), Starling earned a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University and a law degree from UNC Chapel Hill.

Starling replaces John Mashburn, Tillis’ chief staffer since January. Mashburn is leaving to return to the private sector, and Starling says that Mashburn’s extensive Senate experience was invaluable for the new staff. A North Carolina native, Mashburn has more than 25 years of Capitol Hill experience in both the Senate and the House.