Featured Letter: From a South Forker to North Forkers
Due to redistricting (as reported in “A Fight for Control of First Assembly District, Which Now Includes Much of the North Fork,” October 21, 2022) our longtime Assemblyman Fred Thiele faces voters on the North Shore who may be unaware of the treasure he has been for the communities he represents.
Fred is that rare politician—an actual public servant. As an independent, he could have been consigned to a powerless place in a legislature that puts a premium on party loyalty. But his indefatigable efforts on behalf of East Enders and the bold innovative problem-solving Thiele brings to his legislative work have earned him respect that transcends party loyalty. (After the Independence line was cut from the ballot — thanks/no thanks to Gov. Cuomo — Thiele became a Democrat, but we know he’s still an independent at heart.)
Where should we start? How about his creation of the Community Preservation Fund that has allowed us to retain much of the character that makes the East End still such a beautiful place?
Or, most recently, the Affordable Housing Fund, modeled on the former, that may finally allow our communities to house the firefighters, police, health care workers and teachers we so desperately need?
Then there’s Fred Thiele’s bill to make LIPA a truly public power utility, accountable to ratepayers, instead of to the corporate bottom line of an out-of-state corporation whose gross negligence during Isaiah cost hundreds of thousands to suffer extended power outages.
Fred saw that failure. He got a raft of bills passed to increase transparency, accountability, and oversight over LIPA and PSEG-LI. Then he followed up with his bold bill to solve the problem once and for all: make LIPA public. That bill passed.
And Thiele has just been made co-chair of the newly established legislative commission on the Future of LIPA. Fred’s experience and passion are vital to the success of that commission.
When LIPA is a public company, it could mean lower rates, profits that stay in the community to be used for community energy benefits, a greener grid, and maybe even a renegotiation of the LILCO debt that has caused some of the highest electric rates in the country to burden our region.
Thiele’s opponent touts his youth as a reason to vote for him. Youth is nice when you want a dancing partner. But I’ll take experience when it comes to having someone represent me in the legislature.
The clout that goes with the proven record of public service Fred Thiele has brought home to East Enders is priceless. North Forkers should count their lucky stars that they have a chance to vote for him now.
Co-chair of Climate Reality Project-Long Island chapter and member of East Hampton’s Energy & Sustainability Advisory Committee
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