District 1 Assembly candidate Caleen Sisk visits Nevada County
UPDATE: This story has been updated. According to Caleen Sisk, she was not taken into custody by law enforcement at the time she was charged by the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office. The Union regrets the error. A preliminary hearing on the charges is set for Aug. 8.
District 1 Assembly candidate Caleen Sisk (D-Shasta County), who according to recent reports was charged with theft and fraud charges earlier this year, made a campaign appearance in Nevada City Wednesday.
According to the Redding Record Searchlight, Sisk has been charged with grand theft and making fraudulent claims in connection to allegations she improperly entered thousands of hours on her time sheet as an employee of California In-Home Support Services.
“The state paid Caleen Audrey Sisk, 65, of Redding $38,300 for 4,441 hours she claimed on her time sheet but did not work, according to a Shasta County District Attorney’s Office investigation,” the Record Searchlight reported.
During Wednesday’s “meet and greet” in Nevada City, Sisk said she would rely on her lawyers to handle the case. But on Thursday, she issued a statement denying the allegations. (See this story at TheUnion.com to read the full statement.)
“For many years I’ve been caring for a relative who lives with us in our tribal village,” Sisk said in the statement. “She has lived with Down syndrome into her 60s. She was previously cared for by someone who abandoned her. When he left, I promised her that I would continue caring for her at home, where she thrives and is happy. She is a beloved member of our tribe.”
“When given an opportunity to present the facts,” Sisk wrote, “I expect the charges to be dropped. I’m confident that this matter will be resolved quickly. However, the timing of this concerns me.”
According to the Record Searchlight, two days after Sisk announced her candidacy for Assembly, the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against her. Shasta County Superior Court records show she faces six counts of filing fraudulent claims and one count of grand theft of personal property, all felonies. She has a preliminary hearing on the charges set for Aug. 8.
Back in Nevada City
On Wednesday, Sisk spoke mostly about her commitment to preserve and advocate for healthier watersheds throughout her district as well as the rest of California.
Sisk held a meet-and-greet with area residents and discussed the platform on which she is running. Her campaign slogan has been “For the waters, for the salmon, and for future generations.”
“We’re here for change,” Sisk told the crowd. “Water is life. Water is sacred. ”
“I’m a grandmother, and the only reason I am trying to do something on a bigger scale is because I have (grandchildren).”
A chief of the Winnemem Wintu tribe, Sisk is a first-time candidate. She spoke to a standing-room-only crowd, many of whom were vocal in their support of Sisk and her campaign versus incumbent Brian Dahle (R-Bieber).
Additionally, Sisk pledged to fight for single-payer health care if elected.
“I look at our statistics, and our counties in District 1 are very poor,” said Sisk. “And the biggest income source is health. Health care and health workers are the biggest income for our area. I am looking at single-payer health care. I am also for our education systems and improving (them).”
‘Native women standing up’
Sisk referenced the number of Native American women who have been entering the political arena across the United States. According to Sisk, nearly 50 Native women entered political races in the recent election season, an unprecedented number.
“Politics can roll over you, it can bury you, it can do all kinds of things,” said Sisk. “At this point, I think there’s a major message across the United States where Native women have been standing up and moving forward and trying to make a difference.”
“We need to get together and ask, what’s good for here in Grass Valley? How do we provide economic development in our community?”
Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4231.
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