Virginia’s senators are telling President Barack Obama he should pick Roanoke attorney John Fishwick as the next U.S. attorney for Western Virginia.

If chosen, Fishwick would succeed Timothy Heaphy, who left the post in December for a private sector law job.

In Heaphy’s wake, Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine announced they were recruiting candidates to be this region’s next top federal prosecutor. They chose a panel of attorneys from throughout the state to interview an undisclosed number of applicants.

The panel’s top pick was Fishwick, who holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and a law degree from Washington and Lee University. He clerked for U.S. District Judge James Turk and has practiced law for more than 30 years. He was an unsuccessful applicant for a judgeship that went to Salem attorney Elizabeth Dillon, who began hearing cases in February.

“John is well-known to the legal community in the western district and has earned the respect of many of his colleagues for both his work and his contributions to the bar,” the senators wrote to Obama in a letter dated May 5 and released Tuesday.

Fishwick could not be reached for comment. Warner spokesman Kevin Hall said he did not know when Obama might address the Fishwick recommendation. U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president and require U.S. Senate confirmation.

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Jeff Sturgeon covers business, banking, transportation and federal court. Phone: (540) 981-3251. Email: jeff.sturgeon@roanoke.com. Mail: 201 W. Campbell Ave., Roanoke, VA 24011.

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