Two men running for prosecutor--Stewart Feil


Rick Nelson

Stewart Feil

Cathlamet attorney Stewart Feil is running for Wahkiakum County prosecuting attorney.

Feil grew up in Centerville, Utah. He received a Bachelors in English and a minor in psychology from BYU and met his wife while giving sword fighting lessons in Provo, Utah.

It was while working at the Utah State Hospital, a lockdown psychiatric facility, that he discovered he had an interest in the law.

"I started interacting with the legal side of the mental health industry," Feil said. "I saw that law really broke the mental health industry."

He attended Gonzaga University and worked in a law office, while partially licensed to practice law. He handled personal injury, some criminal defense, divorces, and "other weird stuff."

After he graduated, he opened his first practice in Ellensburg.

"I did juvenile defense," Feil said. "I got on the public defender docket for Grant County for a little while. I was taking on private defense clients. Whatever came through the door. A little estate planning, a little real estate stuff, a little bit of everything."

He eventually decided to focus on estate planning and moved his young family to Vancouver.

"I was trying to be responsive and adaptive to market demands," Feil said. "I took on a criminal defense client here and there. After spending so much time working as a defense attorney I was burned out. It's emotionally draining, much like working in the mental health industry full time in a lock down psychiatric facility. Every now and then you need a break from that.

That's why I went into estate planning."

After a business venture fell through, he took a job in Tim Hanigan's office in 2016.

"I thought that I grew up in a small town," he laughed. "18,000 people. In smaller communities, people can really connect. I came out here and really fell in love with the place. I thought it was going to be a hiatus where I would figure out the next step, but it turns out I want to raise my family here. There are a lot of great possibilities here."

Feil is a martial arts instructor. He started training in karate at the age of 13. In 2001, he tried sword fighting and fell in love with it. He has been on the board of directors for the Historical European Martial Arts Alliance since 2009.

He also picked up some ideas during high school while serving on a youth city council where he received leadership training. It has been helpful.

"As my wife likes to remind me, I fail to forget things," Feil laughed.

"I have a real passion for freedom," Feil said. "That is one of the foundational principles that got me into law. I think that people want to have a just society. They want to be treated fairly. They want to know that their officials are advised effectively. I see the prosecuting attorney as a gateway position to the court system. The prosecuting attorney is the gatekeeper. I feel like having the right person in that role is essential for a community's well being. I think I can bring the right amount of strict adherence to law, the right amount of compassion and understanding, and the right amount of discretion and scrutiny of a case to balance all three and seek justice for the community, and protect the rights of everyone including the defendant."

He is also interested in the civil aspects of the position.

"The county prosecutor is the legal counsel for all of the county department heads, the county commissioners and the school district here," Feil said. "Those organizations make decisions that affect you and me on a daily basis. They make decisions that impact our economy, they make decisions that impact how our kids are raised. I want to make sure that those organizations have the best legal advice that they can. I want to be actively involved in all aspects of those organizations."

He spoke specifically of the school district.

"We want to educate the kids, keep them from using drugs or getting involved in criminal activity," he said. "We can maybe age out the criminal problem in our society with our youth by training them to adult effectively by the time they graduate. By helping them make good decisions and helping them be productive."

Feil also addressed the mental health court system. He would like to develop a pilot program in Wahkiakum County to serve that population and would be a model for the state.

"I want to support justice and freedom for all," Feil said.


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