New Texas 'family values' clerk has a lengthy criminal record

New Texas 'family values' clerk has a lengthy criminal record March 4, 2016

Using words like ‘integrity’ and ‘family values’ in her bid to be elected the next Lamar County Clerk in Texas,  Ruth Graves Sisson, above,  declared on her campaign website:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:3)

That, apparently, was enough to convince voters that she was the right person to replace openly gay County Clerk Russ Towers – nevermind the fact that she has an extensive criminal record, including 12 misdemeanor theft charges from 1991 to 2006, and police reports contain two separate accusations against her of racial prejudice.
According to this report, in addition to trumpeting “family values” Sisson stood accused of conducting a “whisper campaign” targeting Towers’ sexual orientation.
Said the hunky Towers, above:

I hate to assume what [Sisson] means by ‘family values’, and I hate to feel as though she’s implying that I don’t have any or that being gay is an issue.
I do feel it’s hypocritical given her record. We are all worthy of forgiveness in the eyes of God. However, that does not change your criminal history. One mistake, maybe two mistakes, maybe five are forgivable, but I think it’s a problem when someone has used the courthouse as their collection agency, basically.

Lamar County, with a population of 50,000, is situated 100 northeast of Dallas in conservative East Texas. The 39-year-old Towers, whose family has been in the area for generations, moved to Dallas in 1997 before returning home a decade later.
He spent six years as the county’s elections administrator before being appointed to his current position by the Lamar County Commissioners Court in 2015, after the previous clerk retired.
Sisson recently told The Paris News — which hasn’t reported on her criminal record — that she’s:

Raised a family with strong family values in a Christian environment.

According to Lamar and Hunt County court records, Sisson wrote 44 bad cheques totalling $2,544 from 1990 to 2006. If she becomes county clerk, she would oversee a $500,000 annual budget, and have sole control over trust accounts from contested estates and those with unknown heirs. She’d also be in charge of court records that document her own criminal past.

Although Sisson has been arrested at least three times, records show that nine of the 12 theft cases against her were dismissed after she paid restitution. In the other cases, she pleaded guilty or no contest and was ordered to pay fines and court costs.
Sisson has also faced civil suits over bad cheques, including from the Lamar County Appraisal District, records show. Sisson’s landlords filed three separate eviction cases against her between 2000 and 2003 alleging non-payment of rent.
In addition to civil and criminal woes, public records searches on Sisson turned up evidence of possible racism.
In 2010, Sisson’s sister-in-law accused her of making harassing phone calls and using a racial slur, according to Lamar County sheriff’s records. She allegedly called her sister-in-law a “nigger lover” but no charges were filed.
In 2009, Sisson kicked her daughter out of the house before reporting her as a runaway, sheriff’s records show. A woman who worked for Sisson later told deputies she was angry that her daughter had a black boyfriend.
Last July, Towers said he was proud to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples after the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v Hodges. But he said ensuing media coverage focused on his sexual orientation may have “soured” some Lamar County residents, especially after bodybuilding photos lifted from his Facebook page were published on national LGBT news sites.
Said Towers:

I think there are those who will vote against me simply because I’m gay, and because they don’t know me and don’t know my work ethic. If you evaluate me based on my job history and performance, it’s pretty clear that I am the right person for the job.

After losing to Sisson, Towers blamed his defeat not only on anti-gay voters in ultra-conservative East Texas, but also on the local media’s failure to report on Sisson’s long rap sheet.

I kind of lose faith in humanity that they would hire a thief over me, but what’s done is done. I think it was unfair that nobody highlighted the gay guy for the job he did, and no one wanted to talk about a real issue, which is a person with a lengthy criminal history.

Sisson captured 51 percent of the vote, or 4,694, to Towers’ 49 percent, or 4,509.

"...and every theocratic fundagelical in the US is jealous! 😕"

Indonesia: religious leaders spark war on ..."
"Not likely. I am a white male. Though I have to admit, I am not ..."

Indonesia: religious leaders spark war on ..."
"> Across the board, this is a ratcheting up of conservatism.This isn't conservatism. It's reactionary ..."

Indonesia: religious leaders spark war on ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • AgentCormac

    A christian of questionable moral standards – surely not?

  • L.Long

    A xtian of low moral value, an avowed bigot, uses the word jesus repeatedly, low tolerance (if any) for non-jesus freaks….sounds like a good texas candidate to me!

  • Horace

    The good ol’ US of A. One nation under god.
    Makes me proud not to be american.

  • barriejohn

    There has, thankfully, been some good news from America overnight, just when we thought that their politics had hit rock bottom, so to speak:

  • Club Secretary

    We can’t hold her past against her, she has found Jesus who 2000 years ago died to cleanse her of all her sins.
    No I don’t believe all that bollocks but I am sure it has been said in her defence.
    Should she commit any further sins whilst in office, she will pray for forgiveness and the good people Lamar County being good god fearing christians will forgive her.
    What a bunch of prats,

  • barriejohn

    I definitely wouldn’t want to hold someone’s past against them if they had turned over a new leaf, but these misdemeanors are very recent, and hardly paint the picture of a person suitable for public office. One would certainly question whether her racial views had changed in such a short space of time!

  • AgentCormac

    It will be interesting to see how much of that $500,000 annual budget is left by the time they catch up with her somewhere in Mexico.

  • She allegedly called her sister-in-law a “nigger lover” but no charges were filed.
    This is in no way a illegal set of words to say in the United States. It might be rude or polite, true or false, appropriate or inappropriate – but not illegal.
    Most of the world does have hate speech laws. I think of these as secular blasphemy laws. The USA may be joining the rest of the world soon enough, but for now we are more free.
    Jesus said repeatedly that anyone who believes in Him can perform miracles. Why Mrs. Sisson chose instead to steal instead of use magic powers to obtain things is not clear to me.
    That little bit of less than respectful discussion of religion I just wrote? Watch it become illegal, as it is in some of the world, if the USA adopts hate speech laws. Only religion will be allowed to say such things, not atheists. Not free thinkers.

  • jay

    Trevor. My reaction was like yours, for the same free speech reasons, but then I realized it was apparently referring to the harassment, not the offensive term.

  • Peterat

    That’s what you get when you elect public servants with no thought to their qualifications!

  • Lucy1

    They chose a lying crook rather than a gay person. Seems fair. Years ago a gay friend I taught with was finally given a small promotion. He said ‘yeah, well, the only other candidate was a centipede ‘