Big Easy Magazine Endorses Susan Hutson for Sheriff, Troy Glover for City Council District D

Left: Susan Hutson
Right: Troy Glover

Big Easy Magazine makes no secret that we are New Orleans’ only “Unapologetically Progressive” publication. We attempt to report on all of the issues most important to the people of the city, while making clear our progressive stance on those issues. That being said, we still feel that at times, it’s necessary to make it clear where we stand on important elections that affect the people of New Orleans. To that end, we have two endorsements to make in the upcoming runoff elections on December 11:

Sheriff’s Race:

The race for Orleans Parish Sheriff is perhaps the most important election this year, and incumbent Marlin Gusman has served four terms and is seeking a fifth. The Sheriff is responsible for maintaining the City’s jail, providing courtroom security, serving subpoenas, and presides over foreclosures and short sales. It is in his role as the City’s top jailer that Gusman has attracted the most attention. The jail had long been plagued by poor conditions, inmate suicides, and violence. In response to a 2012 lawsuit, the jail’s conditions were deemed “unconstitutional” and it was put under a Federal Consent Decree. In 2016, Sheriff Gusman had to cede even more of his control over the jail’s daily operations to a court-approved compliance director (He since regained control in 2020).

Mr. Gusman has been running a quizzical campaign that hopes to appeal to voters concerned with conditions in the jail by touting recent reforms to the facility; reforms that he actually fought every step of the way. In his recent campaign materials, Mr. Gusman even takes credit for decreasing the number of beds in the newly constructed jail, which he was forced to do by the prior City Council under great protest. As he tries to appeal to the reform crowd, Mr. Gusman, a Democrat, is also trying to gain voters who are “tough on crime” by painting his challenger as an extreme leftist. A recent ad even attacked a constituent of his, local criminal justice reform advocate Sade Dumas, a move that feels unseemly. Yet this race is not just about reforming the jail, it is also about who can best manage a complex office competently. Concerns have constantly been raised about alleged fiscal mismanagement and poor decision-making by Mr. Gusman at the Sheriff’s Office. We believe that his challenger has the management skills necessary to do the job.

Susan Hutson led the Office of the Independent Police Monitor for 11 years. She was the first to serve in this position, which was created by the voters to investigate allegations of police brutality and other Use of Force complaints. Hutson has experience creating and leading an office with a complex mission, and secured additional independence and funding from her position, even when it meant going against the political grain. This is a skill she will need if she is to rebuild the Sheriff’s Office and restore public trust. While Mr. Gusman is an extremely skilled politician who can effectively read a room and appeal to any audience, we must judge our elected officials by what they do. Sadly, Mr. Gusman’s prior record speaks for itself. Criminal justice reformers and fiscal conservatives alike could argue that it is time for a change in leadership. Big Easy Magazine agrees. We endorse his challenger, former Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson.

New Orleans City Council District D:

District D contains Gentilly, large parts of the 7th Ward and the Treme, sections of the Lakefront, and some of New Orleans East and has been represented by Jared Brossett, who is stepping down due to term limits. The neighborhoods in District D have produced several of the City’s most consequential leaders and are home to perhaps the nation’s oldest and most well-established Black middle and upper-income communities. In this election, voters will choose between Troy Glover and Eugene Green. Big Easy Magazine believes that Troy Glover’s prior work in the community and his acute understanding of the issues represent the greatest hope for District D residents.

Mr. Glover is the Director of the New Orleans Center for Employment Opportunities, which assists people returning from incarceration with finding and keeping employment. He also served as a past president of the Faubourg St. Roch Neighborhood Association. Mr. Glover is running on an ambitious platform and the specific challenges facing residents of his district require ambition. District D is home to the Gentilly Resilience District, a project that challenges how our City manages water in critical and important ways. District D hosts two of our state’s HBCU’s as well as the University of New Orleans, institutions that, with strong leadership, could provide better opportunities for all our residents. District D also contains Gordon Plaza, a neighborhood built atop a superfund site, where high cancer rates have led to an environmental justice movement that calls for a fully-funded relocation of its residents.

District D has only ever been represented by a member of New Orleans’ politically connected and this has had mixed results in an area that contains one of the starkest income gaps in the city. Mr. Glover’s opponent Eugene Green is the President of the Nationwide Real Estate Corporation and touts his prior experience in government which includes his past membership on the City Planning Commission, his tenure as president of the New Orleans Regional Business Park, and his role as former Chief of Staff to former Congressman William Jefferson. (Mr. Jefferson served a prison sentence on federal corruption charges).

We believe that Mr. Glover would be a breath of fresh air on a newly elected City Council that would otherwise be dominated by seasoned politicians. It is also telling that Mr. Glover has enthusiastic endorsements from many of his former primary opponents including Mariah Moore, Kevin Griffin Clark, Chantrisse Burnett, Timolynn Sams, Mark “Johari” Lawes, and Morgan Clevenger. Mr. Glover’s work in the community has always sought to improve the lives of our City’s most marginalized residents and his campaign challenges us to imagine what is possible beyond “politics as usual.” We believe that this is exactly what our city needs which is why we wholeheartedly endorse Troy Glover for New Orleans City Council District D.

Big Easy Magazine editorial board member and writer Jenn Bentley contributed to this article. 

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