By Joshua Maloni
The time is now for Bruce Sutherland.
Having served two consecutive terms as deputy mayor, the former Air Force pilot and Historical Association of Lewiston board president began his campaign for the village's top elected office earlier this week.
"I would like to announce that I am running for mayor of the Village of Lewiston," Sutherland told The Sentinel. "I have spent the last eight years as the deputy mayor and believe I have the experience and most definitely the desire to work for all our residents, businesses and visitors.
"We have a beautiful, historic community, and we need to continue to nurture that. The Village of Lewiston is in good shape, but, like any village or town, we have challenges ahead."
Sutherland said he intends to take a page out of Niagara Falls City Councilman Chris Voccio's playbook and hold a regular coffee chat.
"I would like to hear from everyone what is important to them," Sutherland said. "I will be setting up several coffee sessions in the near future, in the Village of Lewiston, at different locations. I would like, at that time, to hear everyone's concerns.
"Like Chris, I'll buy the coffee, and be ready to listen."
Sutherland intends to take the reins from Terry Collesano, the two-term mayor who announced his retirement on Feb. 19.
"It's time for me to step up," Sutherland said. "I love the Village of Lewiston. I see some things that we need to do; long-range plans; I'd like to get the village residents more involved in what we're doing. Those of us who sit on the board don't have all the answers or know all the ideas that are out there. I'd like to utilize the village residents and those that come to the village to get a feeling of what's important to them, and I think I can make a difference by doing that."
Prior to his time on the Village Board, Sutherland was a member of the Planning Commission.
He has lived in Lewiston for nearly 15 years, having grown up just outside of the village. Sutherland was a member of the Air Force for 26 years, serving as commander of the 463rd Tactical Airlift Wing and the vice commander of the 7th Bomb Wing. He retired from active duty and went on to work for almost 12 years as a pilot for Southwest Airlines.
Sutherland and his wife, Jackie, have three children and four grandchildren.
He is a member of the Historical Association of Lewiston and Niagara Frontier Country Club. A graduate of Lewiston-Porter High School (1964), Niagara County Community College, State University of New York at Geneseo and the University of Southern California, Sutherland is a charter member of the Lew-Port Alumni Association and was named a distinguished graduate. He is a lifetime member of the Air Force Association and served as president of the branch in Abilene, Texas.
Sutherland, 71, said, "My health is good. I feel vigorous. I'm ready to roll."
Election Day is Tuesday, June 19.
Sutherland's term as trustee ends this year. Should another resident emerge and defeat him at a Republican Party caucus, Sutherland said he would not run for re-election to the Village Board.