Dr. Richard L. Thurston
Wappinger Town Supervisor
Every day I hear how proud you are when calling Wappinger, Dutchess County, NY, your hometown. While my family first settled in Wappinger (then Fishkill) in the mid-1700’s, my wife and I relocated to Wappinger in 2014 upon my retirement as a corporate senior executive. Since those days nearly 10 years ago, we have committed our complete energy and fullest efforts to enhance the quality of life of our community.
Wappinger is a truly blessed waterfront community of 17 miles of coastline located in New York’s beautiful Hudson River Valley. Our Town is home to 28.5 square miles of quiet neighborhoods, five-star dining, premier shopping amenities, breathtaking natural sites, fascinating history, exceptional schools, and so much more! Whether you are a resident, business owner, or one of our many visitors, I hope that the initiatives that we continue to undertake spark your interest in getting involved in our community.
Annually, our efforts focus on key projects that define “W-A-P-P-I-N-G-E-R” (see the attached 2023 chart). Enhancing our quality of life remains my top priority. As a business executive for 40+ years, I bring dedicated leadership and unexcelled fiscal management when managing our taxpayer resources, protecting our environment, and first and foremost, bringing added safety and security to our youth and adults. We have led the region in providing municipal services to our widely diverse residential base, most especially our veterans, seniors, faith organizations, and hometown heroes.
Daily, we work with our local farmers and state/county/local government agencies to: keep our farmlands from being developed; protect our water sources/aquafers; establish and maintain trails and parks; and to move towards a climate-smart community. We have kept development under strict control in accordance with our Comprehensive Plan.
All-the-while, we bring quality water, sewer, and highway services (to name a few) to our residents and businesses through intermunicipal cooperation, strong capital infrastructure investment, receiving grant funding of over $10,000,000.00, including THIS MONTH of MAY 2023, a $3.5 million grant endorsement by Congressman Pat Ryan. A priority is given to achieve various Town Code and related reforms including ethics code, local laws for zoning, code enforcement; and improving highway and emergency services.
We have continued to improve communications with Town residents and visitors by making full use of social media, maintaining a best-in-class Town website, Town Guide, and fully utilizing WappingerTV (Optimum Channel 22, Verizon Channel 35, streaming on YouTube). We are enhancing our programs for promoting social initiatives including opiate addiction, harassment, anti-bullying, resident safety, woman’s intercultural association, etc.
I keep each resident constantly informed through my weekly “Front Porch Chats” and “Talk of the Town” YouTube video chats. Since March 23, 2019, I have shared with you approximately 225 blogs, shows, community updates, and major event coverage such as “Community Day”. Additionally, I have been fully transparent through my nearly 200 bi-weekly columns in the Southern Dutchess news since first taking office in 2018
I AM COMMITTED to continue to address aging infrastructure, including authorizing the re-paving annually of approximately 5-7 miles of Town roads; building and grounds improvements such as the Brexel-Schlathaus Park facility and grounds, Robinson Lane/Ralph Holt Way Ballfield complex, Highway Department Garage, Wappinger Town Hall, Carnwath Farms Historic Site & Park; and the list goes on.
Ignored for too long is the promotion of smart sustainable economic development that will improve the quality of life throughout our town, and focus on inspiring a different attitude and new community pride. This will enable us better to brand our community in the eyes of outsiders and to be friendlier to those new opportunities in business, social and cultural events, as well as improving the morale of our Town personnel.
Whether it is to live, work, or visit we are so excited that you have chosen Wappinger and we hope you enjoy your time in this Hudson River Valley Community. Last but by no means least, thanks to our Town Board members William Beal (Ward 1), Angela Bettina (Ward 2), Christopher Phillis (Ward 3), and Al Casella (Ward 4) for their continued support.
Dr. Richard L Thurston, Esq. – Wappinger Town Supervisor
Current Years of Service
January 1, 2018 – Present
Responsibilities of the Office
The Supervisor serves as the Chief Executive and Operations Officer of town government. He presides at all meetings of the Wappinger Town Board, directing the legislative and administrative functions of that body. The Supervisor also oversees the day-to-day operations of a municipal government of nearly 20 departments, employing around 100 people, and providing services to nearly 30,000 residents. As the Chief Financial Officer of the town, the Supervisor is responsible for the implementation of the town’s budget.
Richard L. (“Dick”) Thurston has served his country and his employers with dignity, honor and high regard. He believes service to others is a guiding principle for public office. His family arrived on the Mayflower, fought in the American Revolutionary War, signed the Constitution, and established the Mechanical Engineering School at Cornell. Supervisor Thurston’s ancestor Joseph Thurston settled in the Town of Wappinger in 1740 and married into the Montross family, their family’s ancestral homestead still stands today on DeGarmo Hills Road.
Dr. Thurston is a 1980 graduate of Rutgers University School of Law—Camden. He also holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and is a cum laude graduate of Alma College. He is fluent in Mandarin.
Supervisor Thurston is an accomplished businessman trained in history and law; a former Senior Executive of a global business with a $210 billion market cap, managing annual budgets of around $50 million. He retired from the Company in 2014. Since retiring, he has consulted on trade and investment matters, including working with former Supervisor Joe Ruggiero and County Executive Marc Molinaro to attract businesses to Dutchess County.
Dick and his wife Yvonne, of 40+ years, have two children. His daughter, Nina, is a professional banker and an accomplished pastry chef. His son, Andrew, is a medical doctor, assisting patients in the area of Palliative Care.
Richard L. Thurston and his family moved to Wappinger in 2014, where they have resided full-time since then. Dick is a Trustee and active member of the Wappingers Historical Society, Friends of Carnwath Farms Historic Site & Park Inc., and a former member of the Board of Trustees of Locust Grove National Historic Landmark.
Wappinger Town Supervisor
Richard L. Thurston
William H. Beale
Secretary to the Supervisor
Wappinger Town Hall
20 Middlebush Road
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590