Throughout the election season in Tillamook County, the dominant topic of discussion has no doubt been the race for County Commissioner, Position Three.
By Max Kirkendall
With nearly 56 percent of the vote, Mary Faith Bell won the hotly contested race over Adam Schwend for that commissioner spot as Tillamook County had almost 69 percent in voter turnout.
Bell said her victory left her feeling humble and honored to have been elected, and that she is eager to get to work starting Jan. 2.
“I am deeply grateful to everyone who supported me and voted for me,” Bell said. “This victory belongs as much to everyone who helped me as it does to me. There was a small army of people working on my campaign, many of whom I didn’t ask, and some of whom I didn’t know, they just volunteered.”
Her opponent Schwend received almost 44 percent of the vote and said his campaign experience was filled with many joys and sacrifices throughout the grueling process.
“While I had to sacrifice time away from my family and my business, I was able to experience the joy of learning new things about the community that I’ve called home for my whole life,” Schwend said. “I was able to hear about issues that matter to people in ways that I never imagined. I’ve always known Tillamook County was an amazing place to live and work. This process has solidified that belief, making it even stronger.”
Bell had a plethora of people to thank for making her victory possible including campaign manager Judson Randall, campaign treasurer Sandy Tryer, Nat Finn, Jerry Dove and Richard Stanfill. She also wanted to give a special thank-you to Patty Olson, who recruited her and devoted herself to working on the campaign for 10 months straight.
“I’ve been asked, to what do I attribute my success?” Bell said. “Largely it’s been Patty for tirelessly canvassing every community in Tillamook County twice, once in the primary and again in the general election, going door to door talking to folks about me. I barely knew Patty 10 months ago; over the course of the campaign we have become friends and I cherish her friendship.”
Bell also thanked her campaign committee, friends and community members who have endorsed and donated to the campaign. For her, the victory really has been a team effort.
Schwend also gave much thanks to everyone who worked on and supported his campaign as well as his 5,000-plus voters.
“Those folks who wrote letters, put up signs, donated, knocked on doors, made phone calls; it was all so humbling,” Schwend said. “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to push us over the finish line, but the faith that over 5,000 people put in me by their votes is something I am so thankful for. It meant more than you might know.”
Starting Jan. 2, Bell will take the place of Commissioner Tim Josi who is finishing his fifth term as chair. She will join Vice Chair David Yamamoto and Commissioner Bill Baertlein as they will look to tackle the issues facing Tillamook County. Bell said she cannot wait to join the team and is grateful for the support she has received from the community.
“One of my friends asked me, ‘how does it feel to be a winner in the eyes of your community?’” Bell said, “It feels like love.”