Campaign Gossip: Real Transparency, Truth & Kindness – Statement from Mary Faith Bell

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ve all heard the phrase “politics is a dirty business.” And it seems in recent history that the “smear your opponent” tactic has become the weapon of choice – even if it’s untrue. We all know how active the community gossip mill is, and below Mary Faith addresses some “gossip” and she does it in a powerful, transparent way that shows what a real leader looks like.
Her opponent has repeatedly dodged questions from the media, and has a criminal history record that’s pages long. A recent letter to the editor that included only a couple of his offenses caused lots of buzz on social media suggesting that it was mis-leading. See link to letter below.
Then this candidate’s supporters are overheard making false and misleading statements about Mary Faith Bell.
The Tillamook County Pioneer maintains a neutral stance on political matters – reporting and fairly covering all sides and viewpoints.
We have not endorsed a candidate in the past that I’m aware of, but we are strongly supporting and endorsing Mary Faith Bell. She has demonstrated a depth of character and leads with transparency, and most importantly kindness. We are so fortunate to have her calming presence and reporter’s view to gather information, ask the right questions and provide guidance to our community. I hope you will join me to vote for Mary Faith Bell for County Commissioner. Here’s her statement:

By Mary Faith Bell
Hi Friends and Neighbors,
I had a booth for my reelection campaign at the Home and Garden Show this weekend. Thanks to Patty and Doug Olson and Carrie Fuller, Frances Payne Hartwell and Brooke Bennett for helping in my booth and thanks to all who stopped and talked to me.
There were a lot of good people there this weekend. It was nice to participate in a community event.
I’d like to respond to some campaign gossip. A friend told me that during the set-up for the H&G show on Friday, she overheard my opponent’s supporters saying that I am ‘just a social butterfly and a recovering alcoholic.’
I understand that in an election, people will talk about you, it’s natural. But it occurs to me that this is an opportunity to share my story, in hopes that it might help someone.
To the first point, anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a social butterfly. I’m an introvert, and often socially uncomfortable. However, I am kind. Kindness is a deliberate choice to spread positive energy rather than negative, to uplift people, to look for the good in them, to suspend judgement and offer love.
I’m not kind 100 percent of the time, but it is something I actively practice, because that’s the way I want to treat people.
To the second point, I am a recovering alcoholic. This isn’t a secret, it’s something I have shared publicly. It’s a good story, ultimately about hope for families in recovery.
I come from a big Irish Catholic family where alcoholism was prevalent. I say ‘was’ because most of us who were alcoholic are in recovery now. My mom is the hero of this story. She was alcoholic, and the first in the family to go to treatment and stay sober. She role modeled for the rest of us that it was possible. People in our family watched her, and waited for her to fail and fall off the wagon, but she did not. She overcame tremendous odds and stayed sober.
I was a teenage alcoholic. Three years after mom got sober I went to a 30 day inpatient treatment center as a teen, before adolescent treatment centers existed.
It was me and 61 adults.
Treatment worked for me. I learned about alcoholism as a disease, in my case, a hereditary disease. I learned that I could put my disease in remission by staying sober, and build a life worth living. It was a revelation to me that I could choose a better life, and the price was giving up alcohol.
I graduated from treatment, joined a 12 step program and stayed sober. I haven’t had a drink or smoked pot or used any recreational drugs since 1981. It was 41 years in January.
After I quit, my grandparents quit drinking, as did my aunt and uncle, my brother, my cousin…in a family where most of the adults were alcoholic when I was a child, most of us are sober now.
Alcoholism has been present in our family for generations. When my mom got sober, she showed her parents and her children that we could, too. Then three generations of alcoholics in our family were sober. Consequently my child and my brother’s children have never seen their parents or their grandparents drunk. We broke the cycle of generational alcoholism in our family. Our children had healthy, happy, normal childhoods as a result.
I encourage anyone who is struggling with alcoholism or addiction to seek help. There is hope. You can change your story, and your family’s story, and you don’t have to do it alone. People of any age or background can recover. There is a strong recovering community in Tillamook, 12 step programs work, treatment can be a Godsend, and there is a bridge from where you are now to a decent, sober life.
I also encourage all of us to practice kindness. It can be like a superpower. With kindness, we can spread ripples of goodness in the world.