Retired Army General Loree Sutton throws hat into mayoral race

Former Veterans' Services Commissioner Loree Sutton, MD, Brigadier General (ret.) at the appointment of her successor Lt. Colonel James Hendon onboard the Intrepid Air, Sea & Space Museum on October 3, 2019 in New York City. (Photo Credit: Mpi43/MediaPunch /IPX)

Sutton released a video announcing her candidacy on Thursday.

Retired Brigadier General Dr. Loree Sutton, New York City’s founding Commissioner for the Department of Veterans’ Services, announced on Wednesday that she’ll be running in the 2021 mayoral race.

Sutton, a Democrat, released a video announcement called “All Together Now,” where she is seen speaking with New Yorkers as she does a voiceover about her values, and an official news release.

“We’re all in this together,” General Sutton said in a statement. “I’m running for mayor as a proven reformer and innovative change-agent. I will harness New Yorkers’ strengths to forge partnerships across all sectors with a common sense, get-things-done approach. I am committed to creating a vibrant and livable New York City community that works for all of us, grounded on the four core values of equity, health, prosperity, and sustainability.

“I value every New Yorker’s voice; respect all aspects of diversity; revere the workers who built (and still build) the city; prioritize safety and quality of life; and incentivize public-private partnerships to lead community-driven change,” she continued. “Together, we will celebrate all that makes our city truly great.”

Sutton left her position as the Commissioner for New York City’s Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) on Oct. 31.

“Loree’s leadership in helping to create the New York City Department of Veterans’ Services – the first agency of its kind in the nation – sent a clear message of support to our veterans,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference on Oct. 3.

Under Sutton’s leadership, there was a 97 percent decrease in veteran homelessness; a coalition called”Veterans on Campus” was created to prevent eviction of at-risk student vets; veterans were established as a protected class in the city’s human rights laws; and a team of outreach coordinators was created to reach service members, veterans and their family members, according to the mayor’s office.

Sutton has served as the commander of the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood; as a White House fellow and special assistant to the director of the Office of the National Drug Control Program; and as a founding director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. While in uniform, she served in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, and Egypt, and earned the Bronze Star Medal, Presidential Service Badge, and Legion of Merit.

Sutton hinted that she wasn’t done at the Oct. 3 presser.

“I feel a little bit like Churchill after the Battle of Britain when he said ‘This is not the end, this is not the beginning of the end, but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning,'” Sutton said. “Let us continue to march forward. Let’s continue to keep our eyes on the prize. Service is the north star. We will meet again on the high ground — I’ll be the one with the big grin.”

Sutton, who lives in New York City with her wife Laurie Leitch, told the New York Times that she was inspired to run when she saw hundreds of veterans running in the 2018 midterm elections.

“I passionately believe there’s nothing wrong with our City that can’t be fixed by what’s right with our City. And that means ALL of us,” Sutton said in her announcement. “I am running for New York City Mayor not simply to be Mayor but to do the things that only the Mayor can do. I will fight for all New Yorkers to be able to live with pride, dignity, and respect, and for all of us together, to make our City a place we can be excited to call home.”

Shaye Weaver