clubhouse, east hampton, indoor, tennis, cornhole, bar, happy hour, bowling, mini golf

Story - News

Oct 30, 2008 3:31 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Thiele defeats Pitcher; LaValle wins reelection

Oct 30, 2008 3:31 PM

Republican State Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. of Sag Harbor cruised to victory on Tuesday, while incumbent State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, who was unopposed, also earned reelection to another two-year term of office in Albany.

Mr. Thiele won reelection to an eighth term in the State Assembly, defeating Democratic challenger W. Michael Pitcher of Quogue by a nearly two-to-one margin. Unofficial results posted by the Suffolk County Board of Elections early Wednesday morning showed Mr. Thiele taking 63.1 percent of the vote to Mr. Pitcher’s 36.9 percent. The incumbent assemblyman finished with 29,833 votes while Mr. Pitcher received 17,421 votes.

Mr. Thiele has served the 2nd Assembly District, which spans from Mastic to Montauk, for the past 13 years. “I appreciate the support of the 2nd Assembly District,” Mr. Thiele said on Wednesday morning.

Mr. Thiele said that, in his opinion, he was able to win the votes of Democrats and members of minor parties because of his record of reaching across party lines. “I’ve had a long record of being bipartisan,” he explained.

Mr. Pitcher, the former editor of The Southampton Press Western Edition and a current aide to Suffolk County Legislator Bill Lindsay, said on Wednesday that he was grateful for the opportunity to run for state office.

“I am very thankful for the thousands of people who voted for me,” said Mr. Pitcher, adding that he wishes Mr. Thiele the best of luck in dealing with inevitable cuts in funding in next year’s state budget.

“I want to congratulate Fred, and I wish him the best,” Mr. Pitcher said. “He is going to have to work hard.”

During his campaign, Mr. Thiele touted his record of accomplishments, which he said includes introducing legislation for the preservation of open space, the securing of state money for local school districts, and the state’s acquisition of the former Long Island University campus that is now home to Stony Brook Southampton.

Mr. Thiele said he hopes to tackle property tax reform on Long Island during his next two years in office. He also said he supports the establishment of a 4 percent cap, per year, on the tax levy and the introduction of a “circuit breaker credit” that, if passed in Albany, would require residents to pay taxes based on their annual incomes, instead of their property values.

Mr. Pitcher argued in an earlier interview that, as a Democrat, he could serve the East End better in Albany. He said the majority members of the Democrat-controlled State Assembly could easily stymie bills introduced by members of the opposing party, like Mr. Thiele. During his campaign, Mr. Pitcher also raised concerns over property tax reform and environmental conservation laws.

Mr. Pitcher did not accept any outside contributions to fund his campaign, explaining that he wanted to make a point regarding campaign finance reform. The Democratic challenger said that, in his opinion, all campaigns should be publicly financed to prevent pandering to special interest groups.

In the other local state race, Mr. LaValle, who ran opposed, was reelected to a 17th term after receiving 72,624 votes.

Mr. LaValle, who represents the 1st Senatorial District, will find a much different State Senate upon his return to Albany as Democrats will hold a 32-30 seat advantage over Republicans as of January 1, 2009. Democrats will have control over the governor’s seat, and both the State Senate and State Assembly, for the first in more than 70 years.

Part of that change can be attributed to the ousting of longtime Republican State Senator Caesar Trunzo, who has served the neighboring 3rd Senatorial District since 1972. Mr. Trunzo was defeated by Brookhaven Town Supervisor Brian X. Foley, a Democrat.

Also on Tuesday, voters overwhelming approved a proposition to amend the New York State Constitution and eliminate the requirement that veterans who were injured during active duty still collect disability payments in order to qualify for additional points on civil service exams. The measure was approved by almost 77.2 percent of voters in Suffolk County.

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

power tools, home improvements, building supplies, Eastern Long Island