WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2017 - Joel Leftwich is stepping down as majority staff director for the Senate Agriculture Committee and will be replaced by James Glueck, a senior policy adviser for the panel who has experience at the Agriculture Department and in the private sector.

Leftwich, a longtime aide to Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and a former top lobbyist for PepsiCo, is leaving the committee staff later this month to pursue other interests.

joel leftwich“Joel Leftwich has been a trusted and valuable advisor,” Roberts said in a release. “He fought for farmers and ranchers and achieved bipartisan success on problems many thought had no solution. He has honorably served agriculture and the Senate with distinction, and I wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Glueck, a native of Canyon in the Texas Panhandle, grew up on a chicken and peanut farm. He has been on the committee staff since March 2013. He served as deputy staff director and policy director when the committee was under Democratic control from 2013 to 2015.

“James Glueck is experienced in both the Senate and in agriculture policy,” Roberts said. “He accepts the responsibility for running the Committee staff at a critical time as we begin to consider the next Farm Bill. I am confident he will carry on the Committee’s focus on the farmer and rancher and put their needs first.”

Glueck went to work at USDA in 2002 as a confidential assistant at the Farm Service Agency and served in several other positions before becoming senior adviser for farm and foreign agricultural services at USDA in April 2007.

He left the department in August 2008 to become director of government affairs at Bunge North America, where he worked until February 2011.

He then served as legislative assistant to then-Sen. Mike Johanns for just over two years before joining the Agriculture Committee staff. Glueck has a degree in agricultural development from Texas A&M University as well as a graduate certificate in Advanced International Affairs from the George Bush School of Government and Public Service. 

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Leftwich, a native of Wellington, Kansas, briefly led President Trump’s transition team at USDA in late 2016 before returning full-time to the committee staff.

He was senior director for PepsiCo’s public policy and government affairs team before joining the committee in early 2015 as Roberts assumed the committee chairmanship.

Leftwich has worked off and on for Roberts since 2005. He served as congressional liaison in USDA’s congressional relations office for a year during the George W. Bush administration and then spent five and a half years as a legislative assistant to Roberts before joining DuPont for three months in 2010 as program manager for the company’s government affairs team.

He left DuPont to return to work for Roberts on the Senate committee staff. He joined PepsiCo in March 2013.