State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., a lifelong Sag Harbor resident and Independence Party member, is seeking his ninth two-year term of office in Albany and, for the first time, is running unopposed on Tuesday, November 6.
The 2nd Assembly District includes all of East Hampton and Southampton towns, as well as eastern Brookhaven Town. Due to redistricting, it will become the 1st Assembly District in January.
A graduate of Pierson High School in Sag Harbor and Southampton College, Mr. Thiele earned his law degree from the Albany Law School and was first elected to the State Assembly in 1995. He has three children, Michael, Jeffrey and Josephine.
In 2009, Mr. Thiele switched from the Republican Party to the Independence Party, a move he said that has allowed him to better serve his constituents rather than making decisions along party lines. “I don’t have to answer to some party leader somewhere who says, ‘What did you do that for?’” he said on Monday.
The assemblyman said one of his top priorities during his next term will be job creation and the revitalization of the Stony Brook Southampton campus, including making sure that plans for a new Southampton Hospital on the campus come to fruition. As a member of the Education Committee, he said he will continue to focus on providing aid and assistance to local school districts.
Mr. Thiele added that he would like to see the Metropolitan Transit Authority payroll tax repealed in its entirety.
As for his accomplishments, Mr. Thiele said he is most proud of the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund Act, legislation he drafted, which has resulted in more than 10,000 acres of open space. On the topic of water quality, he said he believes the State Legislature has a major role to play in providing incentives for upgrades to septic systems and reduction in storm water runoff.
“You have to earn people’s vote every time you run,” Mr. Thiele said to a group of community members in Hampton Bays on October 15. “I think that my record as an elected official is something that I am proud of and I think earns reelection—but I am not going to take you for granted.”