Thiele Switches, Joins State’s Independence Party

Posted on 08 October 2009


State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Jr. announced on Friday that he will leave the Republican Party to become a member of the state’s Independence Party. In July, Thiele eyed a switch to the Democratic camp but has remained mum about the issue for the last several months. However, it would seem the state of affairs in Albany has finally pushed Thiele to change his political allegiances.

“Today, I am convinced State legislative leaders are too invested in the status quo and business as usual to bring genuine reform to Albany,” said Thiele in a statement released last Friday.

During a later interview, Thiele said the Republican Party had adopted a “go along to get along,” lackadaisical approach to politics in the State Assembly. He added that although several Republican assemblymen and women would be more than willing to object to certain pieces of legislation, they rarely proposed viable alternatives to a bill.

In the past, Thiele has received criticism from members of his party for voting in ways that differed with the common Republican political stance.

“Most recently, I voted for the marriage equality bill and some in the party were opposed to that position,” said Thiele, citing the bill circulated through the Assembly in May which sought to legalize civil unions between gay and lesbian couples. As a member of the Independence Party, Thiele believes he won’t be as beholden to party leaders or be expected to “toe the line” on certain issues.

Thiele has been a member of the Assembly since 1995. A ranking Republican assemblyman, Thiele has participated on several committees. Yet when Thiele first secured the position of Southampton Town Supervisor in 1991 he ran as a member of the independent Southampton Party, which he helped to form.

“In 1991, I was convinced that the only way to bring change and reform to Southampton Town was to run as an independent … and the Southampton Party did bring real change. Why enroll as a [member of the Independence Party] now? It is my belief that the State Independence Party represents the best chance to fight for the changes and reforms that I think average New Yorkers long to see from their state government,” said Thiele in the statement.

“This was the most frustrating year [of all my years] in Albany. The Senate shut down for five weeks,” added Thiele during an interview. “There is excessive partisanship. People are more concerned with power than those they represent. It didn’t seem to me that things were going to change by doing business as usual.”

In his released statement, Thiele asserted that the Republican Party was once in a position to effect change but has recently seen a drop in support.

“The number of Republican Assembly members has dwindled from 58 to 40 in little more than a decade. Every month, registered voters are abandoning the Republican Party in droves,” noted Thiele.

He attributes these decreases to the party’s apparent inability to protect the economic interests of their constituents, which he notes is ironic, as fiscal responsibility has always been a cornerstone of the Republican philosophy.

“The Republican Party in the Assembly no longer speaks to the pocketbook issues everyday people care about. Here’s just one example. This year … the Legislature passed an MTA bailout plan with a crippling new payroll,” stated Thiele in the release. “My decision today allows me to continue to be that independent voice to change an unacceptable status quo without fear of being called disloyal by party leaders.”

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4 Responses to “Thiele Switches, Joins State’s Independence Party”

  1. Jimmy Flap says:

    There is a difference between the Independence Party and being independent! One is a political party. One is not being affiliated with a political party. A pretty big difference. I would think you would know the difference.

  2. Chris Arbia says:

    I think Fred Thiele should remember that the Republicans in his district elected him to do a job. Doing his job does not mean to abandon us and change sides because he feels like he is loosing. Step up and be a leader! Find a way to help the NY State Republican party get more votes for other candidates and stick your core beliefs. If Fred Thiele changes parties maybe his voters wont vote for him.

  3. Average Man says:

    Give him a break. Personally I have been a Democrat, and then a Republican and now independent. It is NOT Repub. Vs Dem. or even Liberal Vs. Conservative….IT IS GOVERNMENT VS THE PEOPLE!!!!
    We must wake up to that…

  4. Lou says:

    To ask Fred to help reconstruct the Republican Party is to ask him to do a huge job. He is one man with one lifetime and many important issues to tackle. It is noble to think that one man could “fix” his whole party but it is not practical. The Party has become an embarrassing joke on a national level, meaningless,corrupt and VERY harmful to the average guy. Unfortunately, the little guy who rallies around the Republican Party today is an unwitting puppet who is stuck in another era.Better that Fred moves on to a place where he can continue to make a difference. It takes courage to do what he did and I hope he will continue be supported and his motives respected.

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