By Claire Walla
The bid to represent the second district in the New York State Assembly will be fought right here in Sag Harbor.
Native Sag Harborite Jeremy Brandt, 36, who now lives in Hampton Bays, this week announced he will run with the Republican endorsement against incumbent Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. — also a Sag Harbor native.
This is Brandt’s first foray into public office.
“Fred [Thiele] has done some good things, but he’s been in Albany for 18 years,” Brandt said on Wednesday. “He’s lost touch.”
The owner of a small plumbing company based in Hampton Bays, Brandt Plumbing Corp., Brandt said the primary focus of his campaign would be small businesses, which he said are struggling to survive. His goal would be to cut taxes for small businesses and streamline the amount of time it takes for a business to get up and running, which he hopes will bring more businesses to the area.
“I want to be the voice for my generation,” Brandt continued. “Albany needs a true conservative Republican who’s on his hands and knees, working.”
Though he’s new to the political system, Brandt said his uncle — who just so happens to be Brian Gilbride, mayor of Sag Harbor — is getting him accustomed to the run of things.
“He’s a good man and he fights like hell for Sag Harbor,” Brandt said. “He’s keeping me focused, telling me about the pitfalls and how words can get minced. I’m just an ordinary guy who’s going to fight for the small companies. We all got it rough.”
Thiele, a former Republican and now a member of the Independence Party, said he is not commenting on the challenge. Coincidentally, Thiele also serves as Sag Harbor Village attorney, sitting alongside his competitor’s uncle during board meetings.