The National Restaurant Association has announced that Matt Walker has been named vice president of government affairs and will lead the Association’s advocacy strategy in the U.S. Senate and support efforts directed at the U.S. House of Representatives and Administration.
Prior to joining the Association, Walker worked in Congress for 14 years, most recently as the longtime Deputy Staff Director and Chief Counsel of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and senior aide to former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).
In addition to managing the Small Business Committee’s priorities, he supported Snowe’s legislative efforts on the Senate Finance and Senate Commerce Committees. His accomplishments include developing and spearheading legislative initiatives credited with helping the Small Business Administration support more than $30 billion in small business loans, the highest level in the agency’s history. He has been recognized in major national publications as among the top aides on Capitol Hill.
“Matt’s Senate tenure and policy expertise on small business issues will allow him to be an effective advocate on behalf of America’s nearly one million restaurants,” says Scott DeFife, executive vice president of the National Restaurant Association. “The foodservice industry is affected by policy decisions on a wide array of issues, ranging from tax reform to health care to immigration reform, and the National Restaurant Association’s policy team will be working in 2013 to promote policies that allow restaurants to continue to create jobs. Matt is a valued addition to our team at a critical time.”
Walker is a recently retired veteran of the Armed Forces. Throughout his military career in the Army National Guard, he played critical roles in diverse units including engineer, infantry, and joint forces headquarters. During his 2006-2007 deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Walker was selected as U.S. Liaison to the South Korean and Polish forces and Project Manager of their construction operations. In that role, he managed more than 25 major construction projects in a combat theater without a single work stoppage or major safety incident.
Previously, Walker practiced law at Pierce Atwood, a leading New England firm, focusing on complex general and commercial litigation involving high profile cases. He also has extensive restaurant experience working in various establishments for more than six years.
A Maine native, Walker earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and an Interdisciplinary in Legal Studies from the University of Maine and a Juris Doctor from the Maine School of Law.