Mary Faith Bell

Mary Faith Bell

Editor’s note: This is the fourth of the now-six candidates for the seat on the Tillamook County Board of Commissioners the Headlight-Herald has received statements from and will print the remaining as they become available.

Service is the thing that moves me the most. It is my calling, my pur­pose in life. I am always looking for new opportunities to be of service, both in small ways and in large. It is important to me to know that I am useful, that I am contributing to the lives around me in a positive way. This is why I am attracted to the po­sition of Tillamook County Commis­sioner. I perceive it as an opportunity to devote myself whole heartedly to being of service to the people of Tillamook County.

I have long admired the job of Tillamook County commissioner and I have admired people in the position. While I worked at the Til­lamook Headlight-Herald, first as a reporter and then as editor, I attended the Board of County Commission­ers meetings and their workshops before the meetings. I was fascinated by the scope and variety of issues they work on, from ocean science to flood mapping, forest practices to health services. As a person who gets excited about learning new things, I thought, “Wow, what a great job.”

Even more than the learning com­ponent, it is the people component of the position that appeals to me. I love people. I love engaging with people and listening to their stories and helping them. I love creative problem solving. I am skilled at relationship building, networking and bringing people together for a common goal.

I am the director of communica­tions and marketing at Tillamook Regional Medical Center where I am responsible for internal com­munications to the hospital’s 525 employees and external communica­tions to the communities we serve. I am the person behind the Life and Wellness newsletter you receive in your mailboxes quarterly, the ads you see in the papers, the posts on Facebook and the spots on KTIL and KMUN radio. I am a member of the Civic Advisory Board at the hospital where I serve alongside the seated commissioners.

A little about my background: I’m a native Oregonian. I was the first person in my family to go to college. As a young person I worked as a waitress and attended Chemeketa Community College in McMinnville part time for years. Community college was a great experience for me. It helped build my confidence, made me believe I could do more and be more and ultimately it was the bridge to transfer to Linfield College for a four-year degree in creative writing. I now serve on the Tillamook Bay Community College Board of Education because I feel so strongly about the opportunity that community college provides to lift students up out of the circumstances of their lives and give them hope and self-esteem and set them on a course for something more.

It is also my honor to serve on the Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors. I love that work because a community is as strong as its economy. Local businesses from the smallest to the largest are the heartbeat of the com­munity, providing jobs, goods and services, creating the framework for Tillamook County to thrive and to grow. I admire the entrepreneurial spirit of so many Tillamook County business owners whose calling is to build and to create. As a commis­sioner I would be a champion of local business.

I live in Nehalem. I moved to Tillamook County in 2005 with my son, Gabriel, who is now in his third year in a computer engineer­ing program at Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls. We lived in South Tillamook County in Blaine, on the upper Nestucca. That is beautiful country and I had the best neighbors. From there I moved to Oceanside, which is gorgeous and charming. Now I live in Nehalem in a peaceful spot on the river where I can kayak and fish and watch the river otters. Everywhere I have lived has made me love Tillamook County more. While all three commissioners represent the entire county, it would be ideal to have someone who lives in North Tillamook County on the board of county commissioners.

There are a number of issues about which I am passionate – busi­ness and economic development, health care access, education, ocean science, ag and natural resources, emergency preparedness – draw­ing them together, the overarching theme is opportunity. I want to build and grow and support opportunity for the people of Tillamook County. I look forward to being of service as your next county commissioner.

You can reach me at maryfaith­bell@gmail.com and find me on Facebook. Thank you.

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