NY: Lawmaker's Declaration of Independence

In New York, Newsday reports on former Republican State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, who has declared his independence from the duopoly system of government to join New York's Independence Party. Via Ballot Access News:
Longtime Republican Assemb. Fred Thiele is switching parties to join the Independence Party, saying the 40-member GOP minority "stands for nothing" and "no longer speaks to pocketbook issues."The 14-year Albany veteran said he hand-delivered papers to switch at the Suffolk Board of Elections Thursday and will seek to sit with the Assembly's Democratic majority.

Thiele, 56, of Sag Harbor, would join the Assembly's only other Independence Party member, Timothy Gordon from Albany, who has run with Democratic backing. If the Democrats accept Thiele, he will become the 110th member of the majority conference . . . His decision, Thiele said, marks "no shift in core beliefs," but impatience with Albany gridlock. Reached en route to a wedding in Cleveland Friday, Thiele, 56, said the change "will give me the freedom to agree when we agree and disagree when we disagree without undue partisanship."
At the East Hampton Star, Jennifer Landes highlights Thiele's stated reasons for opting out of the duopoly parties:
"I am convinced state legislative leaders are too invested in the status quo and business as usual," he said . . . "A new political force, not beholden to partisanship and special interests, is needed," he said. He said the Independence Party may fill that role . . . Although his reasons for leaving the Republican Party originated months ago, he said, the final decision came down to the realization that "the overall direction of the state party made it harder and harder to be a moderate Republican." He included the national party in that criticism, but he said it was not meant to be a censure of the local Republican Committee. "When enough people in the [State] Republican Party tell you, 'You're not really Republican enough,' at some point you say, 'You're right,' " he said.

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