Bill O'Conner joined the firm of McLeod, Watkinson and Miller in 2010, bringing with him more than three decades of experience in the legislative and executive branches of government. During that time, he was one of the key policy staffers in the development and passage of five farm bills, three laws to restructure and reform the Farm Credit System, and the entire legislative development of the federal crop insurance program.
He also played a key role in the legislative evolution of futures and derivatives regulation from the 1980's through House passage of the most recent financial services reform in 2009. He continues to follow closely the implementation of the Dodd - Frank Act and the huge number of regulations that are being promulgated to implement that Act. He was at the center of legislation regulating pesticides, including the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996. He has played a major legislative role in all of the diverse legislation in the jurisdiction of the House Agriculture Committee from forestry to food stamps and tobacco to trade. That breadth and depth of experience is now available to the clients of McLeod, Watkinson and Miller.
Former Positions Held
Mr. O'Conner began his service in Washington in 1979, working in the House Republican leadership. In 1983, he was brought to the House Agriculture Committee by Congressman Ed Madigan of Illinois, where he worked as deputy staff director. In 1991 Congressman Madigan became Agriculture Secretary Madigan and Bill became his chief of staff. In addition to overseeing general functioning of USDA, Bill worked intensively on the negotiation of the Uruguay Round of trade talks.
In 1993, Bill returned to the House Agriculture Committee as policy director, coordinating and implementing policy for the Committee. He served in that capacity for Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas and Chairman Bob Smith of Oregon. In 1999 Chairman Larry Combest of Texas named Bill Staff Director for the Committee, a position that continued under Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. At the time Bill retired from Capitol Hill to join McLeod,Watkinson and Miller, he was serving as minority policy director for Ranking Member Frank Lucas of Oklahoma.
Video of remarks about Bill O'Conner's service to American Agriculture: Click here to view