Smithtown politician Patrick Vecchio, the longest-serving town supervisor in Long Island history, will leave office at the end of this year, after losing a close vote to a rival from his own party last week.
When he began overseeing Smithtown in 1978, he embarked on a political career that ultimately would span seven U.S. presidents and witness a world of change over four decades.
Below, see milestones from Vecchio’s career on the left, and, on the right, major world events that occurred during the course of his time as Smithtown town supervisor.
Dec. 8, 1977
Vecchio defeats Republican town Supervisor Charles Cacciabaudo by 67 votes.
Jan. 20, 1981
Ronald Reagan becomes president. Iran hostage crisis ends.
Wages unsuccessful campaign to unseat state Sen. James Lack.
Nov. 5, 1985
Wins fifth two-year term as supervisor.
January 28, 1986
Space shuttle Challenger disaster
May 25, 1989
Endorsed by Smithtown Republicans for re-election, the first time he receives bipartisan backing.
Nov. 7, 1989
Wins seventh term – and first four-year term. (Voters in 1988 had approved extending the supervisor’s term.)
Nov. 9, 1989
Berlin Wall falls.
Feb. 13, 1990
Switches parties in bid to unseat Democratic County Executive Patrick Halpin.
Sept. 12, 1991
Loses both Republican and Conservative county executive primaries.
July 17, 1996
TWA Flight 800 crashes off Long Island.
Sept. 11, 2001
World Trade Center attacks.
June 29, 2007
The first iPhone is released.
Nov. 3, 2009
Wins 12th term as supervisor, defeating Democrat Patricia Biancaniello.
Nov. 6, 2012
Barack Obama is elected president for a second term.
Sept. 10, 2013
Defeats Councilman Robert Creighton in Republican primary. Goes on to win November general election.
Jan. 20, 2017
Donald Trump becomes president.
Sept. 25, 2017
Concedes defeat in Republican primary to Councilman Edward Wehrheim.