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Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 12:17 a.m.
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Chamber of Commerce official named to Game & Fish Commission

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was originally published July 9, 2014 at 9:38 a.m. Updated July 9, 2014 at 10:07 a.m.

new-game-and-fish-commissioner-andrew-parker-right-chats-with-gov-mike-beebe-just-before-his-appointment-to-the-commission

New Game and Fish Commissioner Andrew Parker, right, chats with Gov. Mike Beebe just before his appointment to the commission.

Gov. Mike Beebe on Wednesday named a director with the state Chamber of Commerce to the Game and Fish Commission.

Andrew Parker, 37, is the director of governmental affairs for the state chamber and a former attorney for the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission. He will serve a seven-year term.

Parker, an Eagle Scout described in a statement as a "hunting and fishing enthusiast," grew up in Little Rock and served three years as Beebe's liaison to 14 state boards and commissions including Game and Fish.

Beebe called him "one of our bright, up-and-coming Arkansans" who while younger than the rest of the commission knows the importance of the outdoors to Arkansas residents and tourists.

"And in addition to the hunting and fishing, he understands conservation," Beebe said. "He understands the responsibility to take what we have been given in that phrase the Natural State and uphold the opportunity for that to stay that way and be enhanced for the rest of our lifetime ... and for the lifetimes of those who come after us."

Parker, after being introduced by Beebe at a news conference at the Game and Fish-operated Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center in the River Market, called the selection an "immeasurable honor" and said he wants to focus on promoting outdoor activities, particularly to youths.

"Hunting and fishing aren't just recreational sports," he told a crowd that included Game and Fish commissioners and employees and family members. "They're something more than that."

Parker succeeds Ty Patterson, who was named to the commission by Beebe last year to fill the remaining 16 months of former commissioner Rick Watkins' term.

Watkins, who was the vice chairman of the body, resigned after a Jan. 22, 2013, arrest in Lonoke County. He was charged with misdemeanor public intoxication and disorderly conduct after authorities alleged he banged on the door of a rural Lonoke County home and later fired a shot into the ground.

Watkins later pleaded guilty to the public intoxication charge in exchange for the second count being dropped and he was fined and assessed court charges totaling $250.

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