Robert Holifield, co-founder and a principal of Lincoln Policy Group and a longtime Capitol Hill staff member, died June 16. He was 43.
He is a former staff director of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry Committee, where he served as the principal adviser to then-Chair Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark. During his tenure, Robert helped develop multiple legislative proposals passed by Congress and signed into law.
Among those successful legislative efforts was Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act relating to financial derivatives and the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which provided the first increase in the federal reimbursement for school lunches since 1973. The bill also represented the first required nutritional standards for all meals served in schools.
“Just like everyone else who knew or ever met Robert I am shocked and confused by his passing. Devastated and heartbroken are the words most used by friends and acquaintances in Washington, D.C., and Arkansas on this very sad day,” said fellow Arkansan Dana Brooks, who is president and CEO of the Pet Food Institute. “Thoughts and prayers to his family, friends, and colleagues.”
During his career, Robert also served as the staff director of the Senate Finance Committee’s International Trade, Customs & Global Competitiveness Subcommittee. In this role, he attended classified briefings conducted by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative relating to ongoing international trade negotiations. Holifield accompanied several U.S. delegations to multilateral and bilateral trade discussions, including two World Trade Organization ministerial meetings.
Before his tenure in the Senate, Holifield worked for three commissioners at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and most recently served as deputy chief of staff to Chairman Gary Gensler. In this role, he attended classified market surveillance meetings and advised the chairman on all matters coming before the Commission.
Additionally, Robert worked on the staff of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., where he led rural outreach efforts at the staff level for Senate Democrats. During the presidential election of 2008, he was involved in the transition as an assistant to Bart Chilton at USDA as well as on the confirmation team for Gensler.
A native of Blytheville, Arkansas, Robert received a B.A. from Arkansas State University and an MBA from Georgetown University.
He is survived by his wife, Kat, and three young children. A GoFundMe account has been established to help support the family.
Editor’s note: We will update this story as more details become available.
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