Sutton, a doctor, former Army general and former veteran’s services commissioner, announced her candidacy in the 2021 New York City mayoral race Thursday. A win would make Sutton the first female and first openly gay mayor of the city.

Though Sutton has limited political experience, she argues that her almost 30 years of experience in the military and her track record as veteran’s commissioner prepare her for the position of mayor.

“I’m running for Mayor not simply to be Mayor but to do the things that only the Mayor can do,” said Sutton in her announcement. “I will fight for all New Yorkers to be able to live with pride, dignity, and respect, and to make our City one we can be excited to call home.”

Sutton was the Army’s highest-ranking psychiatrist for three years, and retired from her position as veteran’s commissioner this October after working to decrease veteran homelessness and vastly expanding the veteran’s affairs office over the course of her tenure.

“Commissioner Loree Sutton brings a fire and energy to everything she does,” said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, on Sutton’s retirement from the veteran’s affair office. “She refuses to accept the status quo—and she’s improved thousands of lives while serving our city.”

One potential blemish on Sutton’s record is her sudden resignation as director from the Defense Centers of Excellence in 2010. She resigned after the center came under fire from Congress following reports that the military was failing to treat and diagnose soldiers with mild traumatic brain injuries.

This Thursday, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Jamal Othman filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against Sutton, alleging that Sutton discriminated against Department of Veteran’s Services employees with mental health disabilities, and terminated his employment after becoming aware of his mental health disability.

Nevertheless, Sutton is positioning herself as a “proven reformer” who will take a no-nonsense approach to getting things done across the city.

“I am a roll-up-your-sleeves public servant who leads with heart and achieves sustainable, real-world results,” said Sutton in her announcement. “I believe there’s nothing wrong with our city that can’t be fixed by what’s right with our city.”

The mayoral race is expected to draw a number of other contenders, including City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Nonprofit executive Dianne Morales and TaylorMade CEO Jocelyn Taylor have already declared their candidacies.

Written ByGrace Symes

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