NRA Names New Chief Lobbyist

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:20 PM EDT

( - The National Rifle Association is losing its chief lobbyist. James Jay Baker announced he is returning to private law practice.

In a press release on Wednesday, the NRA's Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre announced that Baker "will be changing his relationship with the NRA," although he will continue to work as a consultant to the organization.

"I will miss Jim's leadership, tough legislative skills and most of all, the partnership we have enjoyed for these many years working together," said LaPierre.

LaPierre announced that Chris Cox will become the executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, thus becoming the association's chief lobbyist on Capitol Hill.

Cox worked on Capitol Hill for over a decade. Prior to joining the NRA, he served as a legislative aide to Rep. John Tanner, a Tennessee Democrat.

Cox, 32, is a native of Jackson, Tennessee and a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis. He calls himself an avid hunter and shooting sports enthusiast.

LaPierre said that Cox has played a key role in helping the NRA work with the federal government. "He is politically astute and result- oriented in his management approach. He has what it takes to be the NRA's chief lobbyist."

Cox called his new job "an awesome responsibility," and he said he would work tirelessly "to advance the state and federal legislative and political strategies of this 131-year-old Association."

Baker said he was happy to turn over the reins of the NRA's political arm to Cox.

"He is an intelligent and talented political operative. I am confident that he will lead NRA-ILA to new heights," Baker said.

Baker gave no indication that he would be leaving his NRA post when he addressed the NRA convention in Reno, Nev., last Saturday.

E-mail a news tip to Jim Burns.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.