The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Two men running for prosecutor--Dan Bigelow

 

Rick Nelson

Dan Bigelow

Dan Bigelow has been the prosecuting attorney for Wahkiakum County for three terms. He's hoping to make it four.

Why? For a myriad of reasons. He has made this place his home, he wants to serve, and he feels fulfilled in a way that he isn't sure he could be somewhere else.

"I still think that I can do it best," Bigelow said. "I think that Wahkiakum County has come to expect a level of service after Fred Johnson. His eminence in prosecuting and working as a coroner has gotten people accustomed to someone who is a polymath and has the ability to do all these things right off the bat. If Fred had not chosen to retire, I would not have stepped forward, because I would have known that I was not the best person for the job. When he did, I raised my hand because I thought I could give better service than others."

"I still want to serve," he added. "Any place that I go, I won't be able to do some of the things that I have been able to do here. I live within a couple feet of the fire hall, so I've been able to make a lot of calls as an EMT as well."

If you ask him what he wants to accomplish, he's quick to point out that the job and the environment make those choices.

"Biosolids defined an entire term of my existence, regardless of what I really wanted to do. My goal didn't matter for anything. Plans don't work. If you were in King County you could decide, 'This is going to be my auto theft year.' You can't do that here."

"I hope to accomplish whatever becomes necessary. I don't necessarily think it's right for a prosecutor to have an agenda," Bigelow said. "Anybody that comes to you with an agenda in this job doesn't know what this job is like. You've got to be able to do what comes through the door. You can't just be good at a thing. You have to be good at getting good at a thing.

Bigelow received a Bachelors in Philosophy from the University of Washington before studying law at the University of Puget Sound.

He worked for a year in Ferry County in eastern Washington as a deputy prosecuting attorney before joining his uncle, Bill Faubion, at his practice in Cathlamet.

"I worked for Bill who was the town attorney as well as the district court judge," Bigelow said. "I joined the fire department as soon as I got here, and became an EMT as soon as I got a class. Bill was kind enough as long as I didn't miss court and made up the time to go on calls during the day. I got a lot of experience real quick in that. I think I've made more than 2,000 calls."

"I helped him with all the stuff he did, which included prosecuting for the Town of Cathlamet," Bigelow said. "We had a criminal court back then and even a police force, a couple of officers. I would do prosecution for that."

Bigelow advised the Town of Cathlamet and other small government entities as well. He'd already had experience advising county government in Ferry County and had prosecuted juvenile felonies and some sex crimes.

"I did a lot of government law in those first few years," he said. "I took felony cases because then I wouldn't be practicing before Bill as the public defender. I've tried criminal felony cases since I was in my 20s in Wahkiakum, Pacific, and Cowlitz counties, but mostly in Wahkiakum. I've seen a Wahkiakum County jury pretty much every year since I started out. I've always enjoyed appellate, and while with Bill I sought out and received a contract to work as a public defender for appeals. I did more than 100 appeals and got pretty good at it. By the end of it, they were flying me into Spokane to do Division III appeals."

He is always learning, and believes his experience as an EMT came in handy when it came time to put on the coroner hat.

"It wasn't the first body I had seen when I became coroner," Bigelow said. "It's useful to be kind of comfortable in a solemn situation and to know certain things about how people die."

"I feel kind of lucky because I didn't really have any design to become prosecuting attorney when I came to Wahkiakum County," Bigelow said. "Here I can do everything that I can do and make a real difference. I can be my whole me."

"There are two ways that a job can catch you," he said. "It can feel good to do, or it can feel important, even when it hurts. It fulfills you even if you're not happy. I don't deal with happy things. But I still feel fulfilled in doing it because it is important."

 

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