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Home News Our Region Candidate Q&A: Saunders vs. Needleman, State Senate, 33rd District

Candidate Q&A: Saunders vs. Needleman, State Senate, 33rd District

Editorial Staff.

Brendan Saunders (R) is challenging incumbent Norm Needleman (D) for State Senator of the 33rd district. The 33rd district includes Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, Westbrook. We asked, and they answered the following questions.

Norm Needleman

What made you decide to run for office?

Needleman: I ran for office because I wanted to give back to my community. In the last 40 years, I’ve built a business in Connecticut as well as raised a family. The local region has been great to me; as a result, I felt I should take action to support it. The people in our district make it a wonderful place to live; I want to keep it that way.

Saunders: I have been involved behind the scenes assisting various candidates for many years. There was a need for a candidate, and I found myself in a situation where I had the time, passion, and energy to step forward. I see this as an opportunity to ensure that the state where I grew up continues to offer opportunities for my daughter to do the same.

What would your platform be?


  1. Lowering the cost of living by fighting against tax increases, fee increases, and over regulation.
  2. Helping build a vibrant businesses environment in the state by listening to, and responding to, the needs of small businesses.
  3. Being your voice in Hartford by listening to you and voting in line with the needs of the residents, not special interests, or my party.

Needleman: Above all else, I believe in bipartisanship, and my record shows that. For the last two years in the Senate, I have worked with my colleagues across the aisle to achieve successes, most notably in the Energy & Technology Committee. I’ve also adopted that approach in my past business and political endeavors with similar success. The letter next to someone’s name does not matter. We were elected to support and benefit our communities and our state, and I will do just that.

What ideas do you have that you hope to share with fellow legislators should you win the election?

Needleman: I have many, here are just a few: I’m excited to further pursue energy improvements statewide including renewed focus on service quality improvements and renewable energy; I’m interested in finishing what we started in 2019 and ensuring EMTs can access PTSD coverage without question, joining police and firefighters; and I’d love for us to continue working toward improving the state’s economic outlook by supporting local manufacturing and allowing for easier development of some properties.


– I would like to see us provide an exemption to the minimum wage for companies that employ less than 50 people or who are hiring teens under the age of 18.  This would allow small businesses to grow by keeping their labor costs low and allowing them to hire more young people.

– I would like to see the state make a long-term investment in the arts & tourism.  I have worked in the tourism industry for over 10 year and know that for every dollar the state spends in these segments it receives $3-$6 back in revenue.

– I will encourage my fellow legislators to operate with honesty, transparency, and consistency

What do you hope to accomplish during your term/s should you win?

Saunders:  I hope to ease the burden of the high cost of living and doing business in this state, and I hope to implement policies that will spur business growth

Needleman: Above all else, I want to continue our momentum in the Energy & Technology Committee. The “Take Back Our Grid Act” was just the latest piece of consumer-focused legislation we passed to support our state and seek relief for our constituents; it will only be the start of more efforts to reduce costs for ratepayers and hold utility companies accountable, improving service quality statewide. I’m additionally eager to add my voice to the discussions regarding important advances in our state. We will need to rebuild our economy during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and repair the gaps in health care the virus has exposed, as well as ensure our post-COVID response assists everyone, not just some of us.

 Anything else you would like to share with our readers.


– I am against tolls and believe that all revenue collected for the purpose of transportation should, in fact, be used only on transportation needs.

– I believe in conservation and hope to secure, maintain, and preserve parks and open spaces.

– I am against the CT Police Accountability bill.  I see it as an overreach that handcuffs all the men and women in law enforcement  while placing a heavy financial burden on towns. The change needed is to provide the tools and process for “bad apples” to be removed.

– I am pro-second amendment.

– While I believe we should pursue alternative energy options, we should not do so to the detriment of current no-carb and low-carbon options.  We should also not do so in a way that places a heavy financial burden on our residents.

For more information on Brendan Saunders or to volunteer, go to



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