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Schiavoni Will Run for Thiele’s Seat

Wed, 02/21/2024 - 17:20
Tommy John Schiavoni
Schiavoni Campaign

On the heels of New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr.’s announcement last week that he will not seek re-election, Southampton Town Councilman Tommy John Schiavoni threw his hat into the ring on Monday with an announcement of his candidacy for District 1, represented by Mr. Thiele since 2014.

“I am running for the New York State Assembly for the same reason that I sought every office thus far, to maintain what is best about our community and make changes for the better where we need them,” Mr. Schiavoni said in a statement. “I understand how people can benefit from good government, and I will use my education and experience in Albany to improve the day-to-day lives of all East Enders.”

The announcement was expected: Though Mr. Schiavoni, a Democrat, would not comment last week, Rich Schaffer, chairman of the Suffolk County Democratic Committee and Babylon Town supervisor, said in a statement to The Star that the councilman was “the leading candidate” for Mr. Thiele’s seat. He added that “we’re speaking to others who are interested” but nonetheless did not expect that there would be a primary election to determine the party’s nominee. 

Running on the Democratic, Working Families, Independence, and Women’s Equality Party lines, Mr. Schiavoni won 27 percent of the vote in a four-way race for two seats on the Southampton Town Board in 2017. He was re-elected in 2021, this time on the Democratic and Clean Water Party tickets, again finishing second in a four-way race for two seats on the board.

Mr. Schiavoni taught social studies, history, and government at the high school level in the Center Moriches School District from 1988 to 2018. His service on the town board follows a 2008 appointment to the North Haven Village Zoning Board of Appeals, election to the North Haven Village Board in 2014, and his 2016 appointment to the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals. He served on the Sag Harbor School Board from 2014 to 2017.

A native of North Haven, he worked for G.F. Schiavoni Plumbing and Heating in Sag Harbor, which was initially run by his grandfather, then his father, and now his brothers. He is married to Southampton Town Justice Andrea Schiavoni.

In conjunction with Monday’s announcement, Mr. Schiavoni’s campaign launched a website. “I would be honored to put my experience to use serving East Enders in Albany,” he wrote in an open letter on the site. “Our community thrives on the incredible natural beauty and resources surrounding us — the ocean, bays, and ponds that are the lifeblood of our region. In the Assembly I will be a strong advocate for improved water quality, clean energy, and solutions for small businesses.”

He also cited affordable housing, tick-borne illnesses, mental health, and opioid addiction, “which have touched us all too closely,” he wrote. “My efforts on the Sag Harbor Board of Education, which ranged from contract negotiation to advocacy for educational funding at the state level, reflect my belief as both a dad and teacher that when we invest in our education system, our entire community benefits.”

Potential Republican candidates were to be named at the Suffolk Republican Committee’s nominating convention yesterday.

Mr. Thiele told The Star on Monday that “it’s a little early for me” to endorse a candidate to succeed him. “I don’t plan on playing any role as far as who should get nominations,” he said. “We’ll wait and see who the candidates are, and then certainly I’ll have something to say about it.”

He did say that he has had “a good working relationship” with Mr. Schiavoni and “think he’d do an excellent job.”

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