Amy Fecher to Head Rural Services; Lawrence Bengal, John Felts to Stay at Oil & Gas Commission, Parole Board

Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson has named Amy Fecher as director of the Department of Rural Services, and has also announced the retainment of Lawrence Bengal as director of the Oil & Gas Commission, and John Felts as chairman of the Arkansas Parole Board.

Fecher was deputy director of the department under Gov. Mike Huckabee. Currently, she’s the manager of Campaign Research for the Voices for Healthy Kids Team with the American Heart Association. Fecher has been in the position since 2013.

Prior, she worked six years for Save the Children, an international nonprofit. 

“[Fecher] understands rural Arkansas, and her expeirence, background and familiarity with this department makes her the obvious choice to lead the department and its mission,” Hutchinson said in a statement.

Fecher will replace John Andrews, who is the co-founder of Collective Bias of Bentonville, a global social media marketing firm. Andrews served as president and CEO of the company until June 2013. 

Bengal has been directo of the Arkansas Oil & Gas Commission since 2004, and has 35 years of experience. Previously, he served as the governor’s representative for Illinois and still serves as the governor’s representative for Arkansas to the Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission. 

“Natural resources are critically important to our state, and [Bengal] understands that better than anyone,” Hutchinson said.

Felts has been chairman of the Arkansas Parole Board since 2011. He was appointed to the board in 1998 by Huckabee, and reappointed in 2012. The seven-year term ends in 2019.

“Keeping our communities safe, while giving those, who deserve it, a second chance is a vital part of growing a robust economy,” Hutchinson said.