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Office of Governor Gary Locke
Contact:  Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Locke appoints Jill Johanson to Cowlitz County Superior Court

KELSO – Gov. Gary Locke today appointed Jill Johanson to the Cowlitz County Superior Court bench.

“I have a deep and abiding commitment to the independence and integrity of the judicial branch of our government,” said Locke. “It is with great pleasure and honor that I announce the appointment of Jill Johanson to the Cowlitz County Superior Court, Position No. 3, beginning just as soon as she can get here.”

Speaking at the Cowlitz County Hall of Justice this morning, the governor also praised Judge Don McCulloch, who is retiring after 20 years of service to the court.

“Judge McCulloch is a local boy who became an institution in his hometown,” Locke said, praising his ability to treat both sides in a case with fairness and respect. “We greatly appreciate Judge McCulloch’s years on the bench. He will be missed.”

The governor, who has selected and appointed 38 judges across the state (22 men and 16 women), said the search to replace McCulloch was grueling and competitive. He consulted judges of the Superior, Appeals and Supreme Courts, the Attorney General, leaders and members of the Cowlitz County Bar Association, the Cowlitz County prosecutor and public defenders and others who dealt with the candidates professionally.

“I am honored and humbled that the governor has appointed me to serve on the Cowlitz County Superior Court bench,” said Johanson, who also expressed thanks to her community supporters. “I am dedicated to my community and to improving the quality of life for others. I look forward to continuing my service by ensuring that everyone who comes before me is treated equally and fairly.”

Johanson, 43, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Washington State University, then completed a law degree from Willamette University, College of Law. She practiced law in Walla Walla before settling in Cowlitz County in 1989 to work as an assistant city attorney for the city of Longview. Johanson then served for nearly nine years as a deputy prosecutor with the Cowlitz County prosecuting attorney’s office. She currently works as a prosecuting attorney for the city of Kelso.

With a long record of service to the community, Johanson has worked as a volunteer to help children, victims of domestic violence, the mentally ill and individuals with disabilities. She is active with organizations such as the Girl Scouts of America and the Northlake Elementary Parent Teacher Association, among others.

Since Superior Court judges must be elected, Johanson will have to stand for election in September. The position carries an annual salary of $119,230.
Related Links:
- Cowlitz County Superior Court

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