Assemb. Fred Thiele at his Sag Harbor office in November 2022....

Assemb. Fred Thiele at his Sag Harbor office in November 2022. Thiele, a Democrat who has represented the 1st District since 1995, is not seeking reelection in November. Credit: John Roca

Assemb. Fred W. Thiele Jr., the longest serving state representative in the Long Island delegation, who sponsored the landmark Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund, has announced he will not seek reelection in November.

Thiele, 70, of Sag Harbor, began his political career as a Republican when he was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature in 1987. He later served nearly two terms as Southampton Town supervisor before winning a special election in the 1st Assembly District in 1995. He switched his affiliation to the Independence Party in 2009 and to the Democratic Party in 2021.

“It's been a great honor and I've loved every day of it,” Thiele said Monday. “Living out of a suitcase six months a year doesn't have the same appeal when you're 70 years old.”

The Community Preservation Fund, through a 2% tax on real estate transactions, has generated about $2 billion for open space acquisition, historic preservation and water quality initiatives in the five East End towns since it began in 1999. In 2021 Thiele sponsored the Peconic Bay Community Housing Act which authorized the towns to host a referendum on a 0.5% real estate transfer tax to fund affordable housing. The measure met voter approval in Southampton, Southold, Shelter Island and East Hampton in 2022. Riverhead has not held a referendum.

Earlier this month, he reached an agreement with Suffolk County lawmakers on changes to the county's Water Quality Restoration Act, which will allow it to move forward with a sweeping expansion of wastewater treatment.

The 1st District spans East Hampton, Southold, Southampton and Shelter Island towns and a portion of southeast Brookhaven Town. It has 34,075 registered Democratic voters, 26,057 registered Republican voters and 26,317 unaffiliated voters, according to the state Board of Elections.

Assembly members serve two-year terms and have an annual salary of $142,000.

Suffolk Democratic Chairman Rich Schaffer called Thiele’s departure a “tremendous loss” and said Southampton Town Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni is the frontrunner for the party’s nominee. Schiavoni could not immediately be reached for comment.

Another potential candidate for the Democratic nomination, former Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, declined to say whether he would pursue the seat.

Suffolk GOP Chairman Jesse Garcia said the party’s nominee will be announced at its annual convention on Feb. 21.

The GOP has made gains in recent years, including when Assemb. Ed Flood (R-Port Jefferson) defeated 30-year incumbent former Assemb. Steve Englebright in 2022.

Stomach illness hits high school … Seat belt bill … FeedMe: Korean BBQ Credit: Newsday

Storm brings whipping winds, flooding ... LI children undercounted ... LI housing developers forum ... Winter sports photo shoot

Stomach illness hits high school … Seat belt bill … FeedMe: Korean BBQ Credit: Newsday

Storm brings whipping winds, flooding ... LI children undercounted ... LI housing developers forum ... Winter sports photo shoot

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME