National Restaurant Association's Scott DeFife, EVP of policy and government affairs, has been named a "Top Lobbyist" by Washington-based news publication CEO Update, which featured a select group of lobbyists for their major victories — both on the congressional front and at the local level — for the groups they represent.

"We are very proud of this acknowledgement for Scott on behalf of the National Restaurant Association and the restaurant industry," Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney said. "Under his leadership, our first-rate policy and government affairs team is focused on protecting the industry and advocating for legislation and regulations that will benefit restaurateurs across the country."

DeFife was recognized for the Association's work focusing on the industry's strides to provide more healthful menu options for children. Under his leadership, the Association's award-winning Kids LiveWell program has grown to include more than 135 restaurant brands representing 40,000 locations nationwide. The Association launched the consumer-facing initiative — new territory for a business trade association — to help restaurants highlight their healthful menu choices for children.

In addition, DeFife was recognized for directing the Association's response to New York City's proposed ban on larger-sized sugar-sweetened beverages.

Since joining the Association three years ago, DeFife has led the industry to important victories in the interchange debate; the Association continues its work protecting swipe fee reforms against attacks, Sweeney said.

DeFife also is leading the Association's advocacy efforts on health care and immigration reform. The 2010 health care law poses challenges that make it difficult for restaurant employers to implement as written, Sweeney said. The Association is targeting provisions of the law that have the greatest impact on the industry's ability to create jobs, such as the specifics of the employer mandate and related penalties, as well as working to address the most onerous parts of the law through regulatory changes, she said.

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