The New York State Legislature has approved final redistricting plans that move Shelter Island into the newly created First Assembly District, where Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor) will represent it.
Original plans to move Southold into the same district were abandoned after North Fork lawmakers and Mr. Thiele objected. Southold will continue to be represented by Assemblyman Dan Losquadro (R-Shoreham).
The new First Assembly District will include Shelter Island, East Hampton, Southampton and southeast Brookhaven. Mr. Thiele, who already represents 98 percent of that district, said he welcomes the opportunity to represent Shelter Island since he did so in the 1980s when he was a Suffolk County legislator. He continues to maintain close ties to the Island, he said.
“I look forward to representing the new First Assembly District,” Mr. Thiele said. “I have continued to work with Shelter Island on many regional issues and look forward to representing them again.”
At the same time, Mr. Thiele applauded a move by the State Legislature to give first passage to a constitutional amendment that would create an independent, non-partisan redistricting process for the future.
“I support a redistricting process that is independent and nonpartisan and have sponsored that would have instituted such a process,” he said. “It was disappointing that this year’s process was not the product of such an independent process.” It would fall to voters in a referendum to ultimately approve or disapprove of the proposed constitutional amendment.
Locally, Shelter Island Supervisor Jim Dougherty applauded the decision for Mr. Thiele to represent the town in the State Assembly.
“Good news for the Island,” Mr. Dougherty said. In a note to Mr. Thiele, he said he’s looking forward to “an even closer collaboration” than the two men have had in the past.