Kelso Businessman John Jabusch Takes New Role as Cowlitz County Commissioner | Government and politics

Minutes after being sworn in on Tuesday, Cowlitz County Commissioner John Jabusch passed one of the most important decisions of the year, passing the county’s $ 250 million budget.

“I would say it’s going really well,” Jabusch said. “My impression of the other Commissioners is really good, and I have no doubts that I can work with both. I’m trying to be a sponge right now.

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Jabusch to the vacant District 3 seat last week after the Kelso resident applied directly to the governor’s office.

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Jabusch said he didn’t initially apply for the job after Joe Gardner resigned in September because he didn’t think he was ready to “decouple” from his commitments with his company.

Commissioners Dennis Weber and Arne Mortensen could not agree on a candidate within 60 days and the decision was communicated to Inslee in early November.

Around this time, Jabusch said a good friend encouraged him to apply for the governor’s office. He sent a letter of interest on November 22 and was then interviewed virtually. Jabusch said he plans to run for the job next year in the election.

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Jabusch said he wanted to apply because he is passionate about trying to help the county be successful. He said he would make a good rep as a longtime county resident who has spent years “building a toolbox” and who may have unique skills and perspectives.

After graduating from Kelso High School in 1977 and Western Washington University in 1981, Jabusch worked at Wilcox and Flegel until 1989. He then started Petroleum Services Unlimited and sold it in 1994. Jabusch then bought the Honda motorcycle dealership in Longview, which later became Pro Caliber Motorsports. The Longview store closed in 2016, and Jabusch continued to own the Vancouver and Bend, Ore stores.

Jabusch served on the YMCA of Southwest Washington for eight years, the Cowlitz County Public Facilities District Council, and the Kelso Dugout Club. He has coached youth sports including baseball, football, and basketball. Jabusch has been married to Shelly Jabusch for 41 years and has four children and seven grandchildren in the area.

“I want to give back to the community,” he said. “I have all my family here. … I wish there were opportunities for them. … I want this for all the kids in Cowlitz County.

Jabusch said many people growing up in the county are moving and he would like to better use the county’s assets and create reasons for people to stay.

The county has large industrial properties, ports and an available workforce, Jabusch said. After years of battles for permits, donors pulled a methanol plant project out of Kalama, Jabusch said the county needed to think outside the box for economic development.

“I see great opportunities for Cowlitz County, but we’ve got to have something we can get,” he said.

Jabusch said he was eager to find solutions to the homeless problem because he was passionate about helping people.

As he strives to get on top of things, Jabusch said he plans to listen a lot, not be afraid to share his opinion, and not be afraid to ask questions. He said he wanted to visit the county projects, the headquarters dump and the Alabama Street camp.

Jabusch said he remained in Cowlitz County because of his businesses in the area and his family’s deep roots in the community, dating back to 1900.

“I’m not going anywhere. If I can help improve it, I want it,” he said. “Being able to help to a certain extent as a commissioner is my goal. “

Commissioner Weber said he was delighted Jabusch had joined the board.

“I was absolutely impressed with the way John got into our discussions and some decision-making based on his experiences in the business world,” Weber said. “I’m really happy that he doesn’t hesitate to express what he thinks and does based on his experience, his compassion for others and his willingness to listen to different points of view.”

Commissioner Mortensen said he was “optimistic and enthusiastic” about Jabusch’s appointment.

“He does all the right things, asks a lot of questions, isn’t presumptive at all or anything like that. (He) asks questions and contributes along the way, ”Mortensen said. “I’m always a cautious person so when I say I’m an optimist that’s a pretty solid statement.”

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