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The National Restaurant Association has promoted Brendan Flanagan to vice president of State and Local Affairs, a new position in the expanded Political and State Affairs department.

Flanagan will lead the NRA's engagement in public policy matters at the state and local level, working directly with state restaurant association executives and their staff members, as well as the state-focused governmental affairs staff of NRA members.

"Brendan has been an effective advocate for the National Restaurant Association, our state partners and our members for nearly a dozen years," said Rob Gifford, executive vice president, Political and State Affairs. "The restaurant industry provides jobs in every community in every state, and Brendan's expertise will be of continued value as we promote pro-restaurant policies at the state and local level, allowing restaurants to create even more jobs nationwide."

Flanagan has spent nearly 20 years working on public policy issues for the restaurant industry at the local, state and federal level. For the past 11 years, he has worked in the NRA's Policy and Government Affairs department, mostly recently as a senior director of federal relations. Prior to joining the NRA in 2001, Flanagan was director of government relations for the International Franchise Association. Previously, he was vice president for government relations at the Restaurant Association of Maryland. Following graduation from the University of Maryland, Flanagan served as a legislative aide to former Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD).

EVP of Philanthropic Initiatives named

Flanagan will report to Gifford as part of the Political and State Affairs team. The NRA has also named Gifford as executive vice president of Philanthropic Initiatives and will lead the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, in addition to his current duties as executive vice president of Political and State Affairs.

"In this expanded role, Rob will lead our overall Foundation and philanthropic strategy and work with me and the foundation's officers and trustees to advance our mission, drive the execution of a successful comprehensive fundraising program and build awareness of our educational mission and philanthropic programs," CEO Dawn Sweeney said. "The restaurant industry provides opportunities for millions of Americans nationwide, and utilizing Rob's skills in this role will help us enhance our efforts to inspire the next generation of restaurant leaders."

Prior to joining the NRA in 2011, Gifford served as president and CEO of the Michigan Restaurant Association for more than 18 years. Earlier in his career, Gifford worked in government relations at the NRA.

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