Fred Thiele won’t run for re-election

New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele of Sag Harbor, who has served for more than 45 years in a variety of positions representing the East End, announced Monday that he will not seek reelection to his District 1 Assembly seat in the Nov. 5 election. 

“After 45 years of serving the East End in state and local government, including 37 years as an elected official and nearly 30 years in the state Assembly, I am announcing today that I will not be seeking reelection to the New York State Assembly,” Mr. Thiele said in a press release.

Mr. Thiele said he “has successfully run for public office 19 times and [has] served the East End in the state Assembly longer than any other person in the history of New York State. I now look forward to other opportunities to serve the community that has been home to my family for almost 200 years.”

Born in 1953, Mr. Thiele began his career in East End politics in 1979, when he became counsel to then-assemblyman John Behan of Montauk. He served as Southampton Town attorney from 1982 to 1987 and in November of that year was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature, serving the South Fork. 

In November 1991, he was elected Southampton Town supervisor, running on an independent party ticket that defeated the incumbent Republican majority in the town. 

In 1995, Mr. Thiele was elected to the state Assembly seat previously held by Mr. Behan — a seat he has occupied ever since. While in the Assembly, Mr. Thiele has changed his party affiliation from Republican to Independence Party to Independent to Democrat

As an assemblyman, Mr. Thiele authored the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund Act, which authorized the five East End towns to enact a 2% real estate transfer tax for use inland preservation and water quality protection. That tax has generated more than $1.4 billion in revenue since it took effect 20 years ago, according to Mr. Thiele, who said 10,000 acres of sensitive land have been preserved through the program.

Mr. Thiele said he looks forward to other opportunities to serve the community. “Government service was my dream from my days as a student in elementary school in Sag Harbor, when I heard the call of President John F. Kennedy to ‘ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,’ ” he said. “Being chosen by my neighbors to be their representative has truly been the greatest honor of my professional life.”