It has been reported that the divorce has been authorized between Richard Thurston and the Town of Wappinger. The reason determined for this divorce was the removal of Kevin Hathorn as his long-term Deputy Supervisor. A reorganization meeting was held in January 2022 in which the decision to replace Democrat Hathorm was taken. In that board meeting, Thurston replaced Democrat Hathorn with veteran Republican Councilman William Beale (R-Ward-1). Beale has served as deputy supervisor under two previous Republican supervisors. The position of deputy supervisor has a $1,500 annual stipend.
Thurston began his political career in town in 2017 as the Democratic candidate for Supervisor, defeating incumbent Republican Supervisor Lori Jiava. Even though Thurston promised the Democrats that he would switch parties after his first election, he didn’t and remained a Republican. In the election of November 2019, Richard Thurston engineered to both have the Democratic and Republican lines, assuring him a second term in a playoff against Lori Jiava. Mrs. Jiava focused on an independent party line. It was surprising to the Democrats when they learned that Mr. Thurston had acquired both party lines – information that wasn’t made public or shared by him until after he secured their ballot line.
In the last few years, Democrats became more upset with the policies bought by Thurston, specifically the decision to eliminate zoning law protections, which banned gas stations within 2500 feet of one another, and 1000 feet of the residential area. In 2021, the party chairman of the Democrats, Robin Licari led to challenging Thurston for the position of Supervisor. The controversy over the elimination of environmental zoning protections designed to safeguard groundwater mobilized the community too, “Save Hughsonville,” but was not enough to overcome the Republican wave that swept the country in November 2021.
Mr. Hathorn was a longtime member of the Town of Wappinger Democratic Committee, and a former candidate for the 3rd Ward town councilman in 2019. Regardless of Thurston’s disassociation from the Democrats in the last few years, Hathorn stayed loyal to Thurston. When the Supervisor’s race took place between Democrat Licari and Republican Thurston, Mr. Hathorn publicly supported Thurston. Harthorn had to resign from his committee seat when Democrats showed concerns regarding his support for Republican Thurston. It has been confirmed from some inside sources from Wappinger Town Hall that it came as a shock to Harthorn when he learned that he was being replaced. Loyalty can only go so far.