Debra Wood Buschman of Mena has announced her candidacy for Prosecuting Attorney for the 18th West Judicial District, which consists of Montgomery and Polk Counties. Debra currently serves as Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the district. Buschman is a 1997 graduate of Wickes High School and holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Arkansas State University, where she graduated magna cum laude. She completed her law degree at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2006.
Debra and her husband, Dr. Paul Buschman, have two sons, Benjamin and Samuel. The family attends The Crossing Church in Mena where Debra enjoys serving on the Children’s Ministry Team. She is the president of the Polk County/Mena Rotary Club and a member of the Lioness Club. She has served on the board of the Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on the board of the Mena Water Utility. Debra was selected to serve as President of the Montgomery and Polk Counties’ Bar Association for two consecutive years. “I was raised in Polk County and when my husband was offered a position at Mena Regional Health System in 2013, I was beyond thrilled to return home to serve my community. Paul and I are so grateful to raise our boys in such a safe and wholesome environment where there is a strong sense of community and where people know and help their neighbors. I am very honored to serve as a prosecutor for this community that I love and care about so deeply,” says Buschman.
Debra began her career in private practice in 2006, before focusing her career on prosecution in 2007. She worked briefly in private practice and as chief public defender before returning to prosecution. She has also worked in private practice and as a conflicts attorney for the State of Arkansas. In January 2019 Debra was hired as a part-time deputy prosecutor, and she was promoted to the full-time position of Chief Deputy Prosecutor for Montgomery and Polk Counties in January 2021.
Debra says, “My first boss, threw me straight into the deep end. I tried my first jury trial as a prosecutor only a couple of weeks after being hired. It was then I realized my calling. I have worked in other areas of the law, and I value the perspective and experience those cases have given me, but my true passion is for prosecution. Seeking justice for victims of violent crimes is one of the most fulfilling parts of my career. I strive to help victims navigate the complicated court system and help them feel more comfortable through what can sometimes be a scary and confusing process. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve my home district while fulfilling my professional calling to seek justice for victims in our community.” Andy Riner’s election to Circuit Judge left a vacancy in the prosecuting attorney’s office that was filled by gubernatorial appointee D. Jason Barrett, former Chief Deputy Prosecutor for Tim Williamson. An appointed prosecutor is not eligible to run for the position. The non-partisan election will be held in May of 2022.