Leader Blues

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

EDITORIAL >>Will Feland is right choice

Gov. Mike Beebe has named former Lonoke County prosecutor Will Feland, a Cabot renaissance man, to serve out the balance of District 23 Prosecuting Attorney Lona McCastlain’s term, which would have ended in December 2010.

McCastlain, who has served as prosecutor for 10 years, has put criminals, corrupt officials and all sorts of troublemakers behind bars. She is leaving Dec. 31 to accompany her husband Bruce, a colonel in the Army National Guard, on an overseas assignment. He serves full-time in the National Guard and was promoted last month from lieutenant colonel to full colonel.

Feland, 56 — lawyer, businessman, minister, accountant, former president of the Cabot Chamber of Commerce and a Lonoke Exceptional School board member — was one of the two people McCastlain had recommended to Beebe as her replacement.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased if I had (picked him) myself,” McCastlain told The Leader last week. “He’s professional and will serve the people well. He did it before and I know he will do it again. I told the governor I’d be leaving the position in good hands,” she added.

Feland served as deputy prosecutor before he was elected for four terms. In 1992, he did not seek reelection, going to seminary instead. Did we say he is pastor of First Christian Church in Sherwood and has a business, Pinnacle Structures, in Cabot? He is also a member of the Arkansas Coalition against Sexual Assault.

McCastlain was a tireless advocate in behalf of battered and sexually abused women and children, and Feland said his office would remain active in prosecuting such cases. The new prosecutor will have a full plate when he takes over: Lonoke County, sometimes known as the meth capital of Arkansas, is huge. There are a couple of murder trials pending and a full docket.

Feland cannot run for the office again in 2010, but till then, he’ll have plenty to do. McCastlain leaves the office in good hands.

Beebe could not have picked a better person for the job.