by Max Brantley
Gov. Mike Beebe gets to pass out one of the coveted Game and Fish Commission seats today. It will be announced at 11 a.m. I haven't a clue. A white male with a big bank account and a record of contributions to the governor would be a good guess for key demos. He must also like to shoot guns at living things. Sandal-wearing birdwatchers who do their shooting with cameras need not apply.
UPDATE: Blog reader Al Fornaut thinks the appointee will be cut from slightly different mold, though a mainstream outdoors type just the same. He predicts it will be Ron Duncan, the Springdale teacher who pioneered the "Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs" program. Now I'll be humming that "Hooked on Fishing" jingle all day, whether it's Duncan or not.
UPDATE II: Al Fornaut wins the kewpie doll for news tip o' the week. Ron Duncan is the new commissioner. Release on the jump. He's a white male, to be sure, but, as a school counselor, not the fat cat exec. often favored for these seats. He gave a whopping $113 to Mike Beebe in 2006. In 2002 he gave $750 to the Republican Party. No other hits on followthemoney.org.
GOV. BEEBE NEWS RELEASE
LITTLE ROCK – Governor Mike Beebe has named Ron Duncan of Springdale as the newest commissioner of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
"For decades, Ron has shown that the efforts of one man dedicated to education and the outdoors can better the lives of thousands of students," Beebe said. "His passion for fishing has provided inspiration nationwide and Arkansans can be proud to have him as a Game and Fish Commissioner."
Duncan, 56, started a fishing club in 1982 at Springdale Central Junior High School, where he was a civics teacher. Based on the simple idea of introducing kids to fishing, the club inspired a national initiative known as the "Hooked on Fishing, Not Drugs" program. That program has produced thousands of similar clubs nationwide.
Inducted into the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame in 2004, Duncan has twice been honored as the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society Man of the Year, and was the National Wildlife Federation Educator of the Year in 1999. Through the fishing clubs he's championed, Duncan has worked closely with the Arkansas Game and Fish Education and Fisheries Departments for many years.
A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Duncan joined the Springdale School District in 1974. He remains with the district today as a student counselor.
Duncan fills the 3rd Congressional District position on the Commission, replacing Sonny Varnell. His term will expire July 1, 2015.