Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said Thursday that he will seek re-election in November.
“I hereby announce my candidacy for another term,” said Vecchio, a Republican, addressing a crowd of supporters from the steps of the Town Hall that bears his name.
The announcement came days before town Republicans are scheduled to start screening candidates. At least one other Republican, former Town Attorney John Zollo, has already said he will seek the GOP nomination.
Democrat William Holst, a former Suffolk County legislator, has also said he is considering a run for the office that has belonged to Vecchio, the longest-presiding supervisor in New York State, for the last 40 years.
Fiscal management is a favorite theme for Vecchio and he returned to it in his remarks. “This town is so fiscally sound, it hurts me to think about it,” he said. “Not only do we have the lowest debt of any town in Suffolk County, we had a tax decrease in 2017, and I predict there will be no increase in 2018.”
Vecchio, 87, will run for his 14th term. Opponents have publicly raised his age and time in office as issues. He did not directly address those issues, but did say that “I never intended to stay as long as I have.”
He told the story of his first win, by a margin of 67 votes out of about 30,000 cast, in 1977. That year he was also offered the plum job of police chief of Aspen, Colorado, he said, and called the mayor of that town to decline.
“I didn’t make a mistake,” he said. “This is a better job.”