New York State Assembly, 1st District

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Patrick M. O'Connor
Republican

Background: O'Connor, 53, of Shinnecock Hills, is running on the Republican and Conservative party lines. A graduate from Manhattan College in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and computer science, O'Connor has been a political adviser on other election campaigns in the past. O'Connor is a software engineer and mathematician and serves as a committee member on the Southampton Republican Committee, representing Riverside. O'Connor is single.

Issues: A first-time candidate for public office, O'Connor said he is focused on several issues, including the cost of living on the East End for young and senior residents. If elected, O'Connor wants to do a "top-to-bottom" analysis of the costs of living for the people on Long Island and what can be done to get legislation affecting the cost of living to be "more Long Island friendly." O'Connor added he wanted to look into creating more programs that would foster job skills among local youths, as well as bringing large job fairs closer to the East End. Expressing a desire to represent "the little guys," O'Connor said his background in information technology would help him "be someone who would provide the structure and work on those things that would make government a little more transparent to the people it seeks to serve down here."

Fred Thiele
Independent

Background: Thiele, 65, of Sag Harbor, is running on the Independence Party line, and is cross-endorsed by the Democratic, Working Families, Women's Equailty and Reform party lines. Thiele, first elected in 1995, is seeking his 13th term in the Assembly.  Thiele graduated in 1979 with a law degree from Albany Law School. Thiele is married with three children.

Issues: Thiele said water quality, affordable housing, improving public transit options on the South Fork and working on initiatives to help the local commercial fishing industry — such as challenging state quotas on certain species of fish like fluke — are among his top priorities if reelected . On affordable housing, Thiele said he was working on legislation involving builders, towns, villages and others to create a fund similar to the Community Preservation Fund — which takes 2 percent of real estate transactions to fund the acquisition and management of open-space properties and historical sites — geared toward affordable housing and assisting first-time homebuyers looking to buy houses on the East End. "There needs to be a continuing and reliable source of funding for affordable housing," Thiele said. "Affordable housing on Long Island is an issue, and that's certainly the case on the East End, where the demand for second homes makes it even more difficult for local residents to be able to buy a first home."

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