The Truth About Doris

The Truth About Doris Gentry

Opinion piece by Chris Edwards – Disillusioned with Doris Gentry.


Southern Illinois is a region deeply rooted with farmers, rich in traditions with close family ties, similar to Napa.

Burlin Ledbetter Sr. born, 1811, Cave-N-Rock, then Gallatin County, Illinois championed the formation of Hardin County, Illinois. Burlin Edwards is my 3rd great grandfather of my grandmother Loreen Edwards.

Mayoral candidate Doris L. (Orr, Boynton, Adcock) Gentry was born in Hardin County, Illinois. Roxana Orr was Doris’s grandmother. Doris’s great grandmother was Hannah Foster. Hannah’s sister, Julia Foster married Dr. Jackson Ledbetter, the brother of my 3rd great grandfather, Burlin Ledbetter Sr.

Thanks to the genealogical research of my cousin, Melinda Ramsey Watts, we discovered that Doris L. (Orr, Boynton, Adcock) Gentry is my 5th cousin.

I want to support Doris’s campaign as my cousin. I want to see Cousin Doris excel. I want to see success built on the traditions and family values of a proud Illinois heritage. We’ve both lived public lives in Napa, led similar paths of public service, as did our relatives in Illinois. Maybe the craving to serve and the scrutiny is a genetic curse of our bloodlines?

Sadly, I’ve become disillusioned with Doris for mayor. A Napa Valley Register story dated Aug. 9, 2014, by Kevin Courtney referenced a past politician as, “one who took Napa on a… roller coaster ride, injecting a wild brand of journalism into civic affairs…”

Does that ring true today? Doris has a television show, a radio show, and an active social media presence.

Kevin’s story continued, “To defenders, he was merely giving a voice to the little guy. He helped redress the power imbalance … ignored facts if they got in the way … he shamelessly manipulated reader emotions … played to their prejudices … was all about commanding the public spotlight.”

At no time, excepting for the days of Harry Martin, has politics in Napa been so divisive and stories weaved, that are beyond belief. Doris has proven herself to be that newly divisive politician. But why?

Her candidacy for the 117th House District in Illinois, she was a positive inspirational leader. I was inspired by her dedication and truth. She was pro-business, with a platform of job creation and support of the farmers and teachers. She was the second female in Southern Illinois to seek a congressional office.

Some of her platforms made voters flinch. The Southern Illinoian, June 16, 1986, reported that she proposed doing away with Social Security, “turning it over to the private sector and placing caps on corporate liability in damages against consumers,” all the while the title office she owned in the Hardin County Courthouse received free rent and did not pay for utility use; the taxpayers did. (Source: The Hardin County Independent, March 5, 1981, “County Board Will Charge Abstractor”).

My biggest concern with Doris is not policy, but inconsistencies and embellishments. IE: Bill Clinton – “I Did Not Have Sexual Relations With That Women”

I do believe Doris came from a broken home. She may have been influenced into narcissistic behaviors, found in vulnerable children, the result of parenting that’s abusive or neglectful. In the public spotlight, it takes some narcissism to withstand public scrutiny.

Maybe it’s genetic with our lineage? It’s treatable. I’ve owned mistakes publicly, received treatment and came back to Napa facing my demons head-on. I’ve learned and grown. Mr. Clinton eventually owned his truth and grew.

Our mistakes, our history makes us human. Leadership requires us to own our history, not reinvent it for self-interest or accolades.

What, I don’t understand is how as a candidate for the 117th House District, Illinois Doris, presented herself as having a positive upbringing, and she led a path forward? Napa Doris, presents herself, a victim; kidnapped, abused, can’t stand the smell of seafood, lived in a dirt floor hotel eating snake, and can’t wear buttons?

As a candidate for the 117th Doris wore buttoned shirts. In an interview, Oct. 11, 1984, in The Illinoisan she responds that her “favorite childhood memory was Disneyland,” and her “favorite food is broiled seafood.” When asked what her epitaph should say, her response was, “that God HAD NOT created a nobody.”

Doris, I agree. You certainly, are a somebody, a somebody that, could be a positive public presence. Your service throughout life makes you a somebody. People want to follow and enjoy your enthusiasm. We need women in leadership.

Sadly, in selling yourself to become Napa’s mayor, you lost sight of the Doris that could inspire and build diverse coalitions. What has become of you? This, Napa Doris, is the most divisive local politician since Harry Martin.

Inconsistencies or embellishments, divisiveness with BIPOC and LBGTQ individuals, ignoring science, backroom discussions with “my developers,” (your term), fundraising with Proud Boy Ben Bergquam and his politics of division; that, my dear cousin, sadly, is why, we, the majority, cannot endorse your candidacy for mayor. Vote Scott Sledgley Napa Mayor.

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