Thursday, December 03, 2020

Local News

Saunders to Challenge Needleman for Senate 33rd District Seat

First-term incumbent Democrat Norm Needleman will face a challenge from a legislative newcomer, Republican Brendan Saunders of Old Saybrook, in the race for the 33rd District State Senate Seat. The district represents the towns of Colchester, Chester, Clinton, Essex, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Haddam, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, and Portland.

In Saunders’s acceptance speech at a May 18 district convention, he said, “Ronald Reagan once said, ‘The greatness of our nation lies within its people.’ I believe that the greatness of this state lies within its residents. As your senator, I will fight to reverse the trend of raising taxes and fees. I will work to let you keep more of your hard-earned money. I will fight to make living and operating a business in this state less onerous.”

In a release issued after Needleman was unanimously endorsed for re-election on May 19, Needleman stated, “The need for strong, effective leadership in the State Senate has never been more important than now, due to the crisis created by COVID-19...In my time at the General Assembly, I’ve worked in a bipartisan manner to tackle our most difficult challenges. More now than ever, I believe that inclusive, non-partisan dialogue is what’s needed to solve tough problems.”

Needleman serves as deputy president pro tempore, Senate chair of the Energy & Technology Committee, vice-chair of the Planning & Development Committee, and is a member of the Commerce, Finance Revenue & Bonding, and Transportation committees. Needleman also serves as the first selectman of the Town of Essex and is founder and CEO of Connecticut-based Tower Laboratories.

Saunders is the director of sales and marketing for the Courtyard Marriott in Cromwell. He serves on the Hospitality Advisory Board of Manchester Community College and is an ordained Baptist minister. He served as the founding pastor of Lighthouse Community Church of Westbrook from 2008 to 2017, stepping down to focus on the creation of The Fusion Podcast, an online forum about life and faith for young adults.

Find full press releases from both candidates at

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