New York, NY—Loree Sutton is a retired Brigadier General in the United States Army who led in times of combat and commanded hospitals during her 35 years of service. She’s also the former Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Veterans’ Services. She says she is running to become the 110th Mayor of New York City because she wants to bring sanity and leadership to the city she deeply loves and respects.
“I’ve led complex organizations during times of life and death with very, very critical public health missions. I have also served during these last five years as Commissioner for the Department of Veteran Services [responsible for] 500,000 veterans. One of the big issues we took on was ending veteran homelessness—we brought that number down by 90 percent,” said Sutton.
She was one of eight Democratic candidates who participated in a recent virtual mayoral forum hosted by the West Side Democrats. She talked about her values, where she draws her ideas from and what will be her priorities should she be elected Mayor.
She says she draws her ideas from a number of leading New York civics organizations and think tanks such as The Manhattan Institute, the Regional Plan Association and the Partnership for New York City.
“I’m very much drawn to the City Journal, I think The Manhattan Institute has done an amazing job with the kind of work and the kind of policy ideas that they’ve come out with on a variety of topics—I don’t agree with everything, but I am always challenged,” Sutton said.
In terms of priorities, homelessness will be at the top of her agenda. She didn’t mention it by name, but discussed her reaction to the Lucerne Hotel controversy where nearly 200 homeless men are currently residing.
“I’ve also been just tremendously concerned about the process, when I look at what’s happened over these last few weeks and months, the process that took hundreds of homeless individuals and placed them without preparing you as community members, without preparing the homeless individuals themselves or the surrounding communities. That is just wrong, and it’s pit New Yorkers against each other, it’s been needlessly divisive,” noted Sutton.
Since she brought up the Lucerne Hotel controversy, she was asked by an online audience member how she would tackle the issue of homelessness.
“What we’ve got to do is create secure diversion programs [to] keep our seriously mentally ill out of our jails,” began Sutton.
“We’ve got to be able to bring the Club House model [a psychosocial rehabilitation modality] to scale across the city; we’ve got to work and train social workers to work with the police, not to send out social workers instead of the police, but we also have to get community input, community buy-in. We have to make sure that we invest in the potential of each of our homeless individuals and get them back on track to a life full of purpose, passion and meaning.”
Just she like she draws inspiration and ideas from diverse civic organizations and think tanks, Sutton says that people and voters ought to know who a candidate-for-Mayor’s heroes are.
“Who are the giants that I draw strength, wisdom and courage from: Elanor Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, Shirley Chisholm, Bella Abzug and yes, Mayor Ed Koch, all five great New Yorkers.”