Needleman Joins Bysiewicz for Portland Tour

PORTLAND — Transit-oriented economic development and luring young people to take jobs and settle in Connecticut were the hot topics Friday morning at an intimate Main Street diner, where lieutenant governor hopeful Susan Bysiewicz joined fellow Democratic candidates vying for statewide office.

Bysiewicz was joined at Sarah’s Place, 246 Main St., by fellow Democrats Susan Bransfield, first selectwoman of Portland; Selectman Ralph Zampano, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, candidate for state Sen. Art Linares’ seat in the 33rd Senate District; and Laurel Steinhauser, who is running to unseat state Rep. Christie Carpino in the 34th House District.

In Portland, a $1 million bond is paying for construction of new sidewalks to encourage a walkable village area. The town has received a Connecticut Community Connectivity grant to redo Main Street sidewalks, said Bransfield, who is a big proponent of “coalescing” municipalities.

Investing in tourism is key to encouraging economic development, Bysiewicz said. “Every dollar that you put in is $3 in economic development for the state.”

Ensuring there is affordable, nearby and convenient methods of travel is crucial to attracting young people to Connecticut’s workforce, she said.

Essex also received a connectivity grant from the state, which it’s using to build sidewalks and crosswalks, Needleman said. “We’ve been committed to making Essex walk-friendly from one end of town to the other.”

He hopes new leadership at the Capitol will encourage bipartisan efforts to tackle the state’s most pressing issues.

“It there’s a key message here, the relationship between the municipalities, the Legislature and Executive Branch, has been strained at best. It doesn’t matter that we are in the same party. What really matters is we need to get everybody on the same page to not continue the message that the state is going down the tubes,” he said.

Towns are reaching across the aisle to accomplish many things, Bysiewicz said.

Read more at the Middletown Press

Connecticut League of Conservation Voters Endorses Norm Needleman

HARTFORD — In its first round of endorsements, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters has chosen three Democratic Middlesex County legislative candidates for the Connecticut General Assembly.

State Rep. Matt Lesser, D-100th, is running for 9th District Senate in Middletown, currently occupied by Democratic state Sen. Paul Doyle. Mary Daugherty Abrams is running for Republican state Sen. Len Suzio’s seat in the 13th Senate (which includes Middletown and Middlefield), and Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, is seeking to represent the 33rd District (Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook), a spot now held by Republican Art Linares.

All were invited to complete CTLCV’s Survey on the Environment earlier this summer, according to a press release. Over 100 candidates responded, and the Endorsement Committee reviewed their answers and begun interviewing those who identified the environment as one of their top priorities. These endorsements represent the first of several rounds, the release said.

“Connecticut deserves lawmakers who will fight for renewable energy, clean air and water, and open space,” Lori Brown, CTLCV executive director, said in a prepared statement. “All of the candidates we endorsed today have either established themselves as true leaders in the legislators or made real commitments to be champions for the environment if elected.

Needleman has taken a strong stance about the importance of combatting climate change and investing in clean energy to grow the economy, the release said.

Read more at the Middletown Press.

Tariffs Being Felt by Connecticut Manufacturers

Norm Needleman is the president of the leading manufacturer of effervescent products in the United States, Tower Laboratories.

The company makes products for major brands like Alka Seltzer and generics that fizz.

“If it fizzes, we make it,” Needleman said Tuesday.

Since the Trump administration slapped tariffs on a host of products and materials, Needleman says he’s nearing the point where he will have to raise prices, which means customers will see higher prices when they go to the store.

“You can’t have a worse way to execute tariff, trade policy than what he’s doing because the end result is that the consumer pays more.”

Specifically, the tariff on aluminum that’s imported into the United States has led to retaliation by other countries, leading to prices hikes of 25 percent from Needleman’s supplier. Combine that increase with a higher cost for stock for packaging from Canada as a result of another tariff, Needleman says he’s already identified $800,000 in higher costs for his business.

Watch the video at NBC 30.

Lamont Criticizes Tariffs in Visit to Needleman's Manufacturing Plant


Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Ned Lamont decried the tariffs that have impacted Connecticut manufacturers.

“What regular people in Connecticut have got to realize is how this trade policy impacts the state of Connecticut,” Lamont said during a visit to Tower Laboratories, a Clinton-based maker of products that fizz like alka seltzer tablets, cold medications, and denture cleansers.

President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions on thousands of products imported to the United States, and in turn, other countries like Canada, China, and Mexico have slapped tariffs on American goods, leading to higher costs for manufacturers.

In the case of Tower Laboratories, the company’s president, Norm Needleman says they are being hit with higher costs for aluminum and stock which are each used for packaging and shipment of the effervescent tablets to customers all over the world. Needleman is currently running for State Senate as a Democrat against Republican Melissa Ziobron. The district includes Clinton where his company is located.

“I’m the canary in the cave for the consumer. The prices are going to go up for the consumers if not already,” he said.

The event was an effort by Ned Lamont to tie policies of the Trump administration to his Republican opponent Bob Stefanowski, despite the fact that no governor, Democrat or Republican, has any control over trade policy that derives at the federal level.

Watch the full video at NBC 30.

Lamont, Needleman say Trump tariff war hurts Connecticut


Ned Lamont visited the Tower Laboratories warehouse and plant in Clinton on Tuesday where CEO Norm Needleman explained that the tariff war started by President Trump is already driving up his costs for packing materials.

Needleman is a loyal Democrat who is the First Selectman in Essex and is also running for the local State Senate seat here. He said he'll have no choice but to increase the prices on his consumer products like denture cleaning tablets in the near future. He added, "This is shooting from the hip; 'I'm gonna tariff you, then I'm gonna save you, then I'm gonna deal with you.' This is insane."

It was a made to order event for Lamont who is critical of Republican Bob Stefanowski for praising the Trump economic policies, which Lamont said adversely affect Connecticut. "A tariff is an increase in taxes and a tariff impacts jobs. The number one problem confronting the state of Connecticut is we haven't added any net new jobs in the last twenty, thirty years," Lamont stated.

Watch the video at WTNH.

Lamont & Needleman Discuss Impact of Tariffs

CLINTON, CT—Democratic candidate for governor Ned Lamont visited what he called the “fizz capital of Connecticut” Tuesday to try and dramatize what he said was the negative impact the Trump administration’s tariffs have had on business in Connecticut.


Tower Laboratories CEO Norm Needleman, who is also running for state Senate, gave a tour of the facility, which employs 150 people in Clinton. After the tour, the two held a press conference to discuss Trump’s tariffs and the retaliatory moves taken by other countries to penalize the United States.

Until Tuesday, U.S. trade policy has not been an issue in the race with Connecticut governor. However, a recent Quinnipiac University poll found that voters’ opinion of Trump would make them 31 percent more likely to vote for Lamont and only 9 percent more likely to vote for Republican Bob Stefanowski. At least 57 percent of voters said it would have no impact. The same poll found only 30 percent of voters approve of how Trump is handling his job.

Needleman said the net result for his company, which produces 1 million tablets per working shift, has been detrimental.

He estimated “the overall impact of the tariffs will cost us between $1 million and $2 million this year.” He said he expects to see a $500,000 yearly increase in foil packaging costs alone and another $300,000 hike in the cost the cartons used to transport the tablets. 

Needleman said so far his company has been able to absorb the losses without impacting the workforce, but it “hasn’t been easy.”

“Like all companies, we need to make money,” he said. “Every single governor in the United States has a Norm (Needleman), stating he meant a business owner who is suffering the impacts of the tariff initiative."

Read more at CTNewsJunkie.

HOPE Partnership Receives $3.93 Million DOH Grant

HOPE Partnership has been selected as a recipient of the Department of Housing High Opportunity Area Housing grant. This award, in the amount of $3.93 million, will provide for the conversion of commercial condominium offices into seventeen affordable housing apartments in Centerbrook.

This project will be known as The Lofts at Spencer’s Corner with one-, two-, and three-bedroom units on the second and third floors with affordable rents based upon the sliding scale set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HOPE has applied for the remaining financing needed through the Federal Home Loan Bank with Essex Savings Bank.

HOPE would like to thank the many who have assisted in making this project a reality. Working in partnership with our volunteer Board of Directors, Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman and Essex town leaders, Spencer’s Corner’s Association, and HOPE’s development team and with the support of State Senator Art Linares (R-33)and State Representative Bob Siegrist (R-26) and Connecticut State leadership, HOPE is well on its way of making affordable homes a reality for families in our community.

Read more at Zip06. 

Essex Nets Grant to Upgrade Sidewalks

Essex has been awarded a $145,200 Connecticut Community Connectivity Grant to upgrade sections of sidewalk in Essex and Ivoryton villages, which are currently in less than ideal condition. The grant, awarded by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT), is intended to assist Connecticut’s communities in improving their complete transportation systems, from motor vehicles to transit, to bicycles and pedestrian networks.

“Fixing the sidewalks throughout town and making them all walkable and usable has been a mission of mine as well as [former first selectman] Phil [Miller]. The town is very excited that we have been awarded this grant,” said First Selectman Norm Needleman. “I have really taken this to heart and made use of all the grant money we have received, as well as some town money, to make several sidewalk improvements throughout town, in the recent years, including sidewalk work, which was recently completed at the foot of Main Street by the marina.

“These recent improvement have made that area more accessible and usable for residents and visitors alike,” Needleman said.

This Connectivity Grant will be used to repair a portion of sidewalk in Ivoryton near the old piano factory. Currently the old asphalt sidewalk is narrow, very bumpy and “not safe,” according to Needleman. The money will also be used for a portion of sidewalk currently in poor condition that leads from Town Hall to Champlin Square. Plans are to begin the work on these two sidewalks this fall.

Read more at Zip06.

Essex moves ahead on harbor management plan update


ESSEX — The town is continuing to revise its management plan for one of the most scenic small harbors on the Connecticut River.

The harbor management plan is being funded in partnership with the Connecticut Port Authority, which provided a grant to the town of approximately $42,000 earlier this year.

The town is financing the remaining $30,000 needed to complete this joint project, part of the CPA’s Small Harbor Improvement Projects Program, according to a news release.

“We welcome the CPA’s investment in our harbor management plan. The state funding is a sensible compliment to match our local funding,” Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman said in the release.

“The Essex harbor is well-known throughout New England and this project will help preserve its character for years to come.”

Read the full story here.  

Norm Needleman Wins Democratic Nomination for 33rd District Sate Senate Seat

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman has been nominated as the Democratic Party State Senate candidate for the 33rd District. 

Delegates from Democratic Town Committees in the 12 towns comprising the 33rd District met on Monday, May 21, at the Gelston House in East Haddam to select a candidate. Needleman was nominated by acclimation on the first ballot. 

Needleman accepted the nomination, and defined his approach to addressing issues facing towns in the district: “We need a state senator who has the temperament, the credibility, and the experience to rise above partisan bickering and generate the ideas that solve problems. Over the years, I have fostered consensus-building that gets things get done in the real world. Job creation, balanced budgets, low taxes, treating people fairly and infrastructure improvements define my accomplishments as an elected official.”

He continued: “I’m not here to advance my political career, or to lay the groundwork for higher office. I can’t be bought by any organization or special interest. I will be a state senator driven by the desire to do the right thing for the people and towns in our district, and I will do the hard work necessary to address the deep and abiding problems in our state.”

In placing Needleman’s name for nomination, Michelle Gilman, a resident of Colchester, said: “I have learned a lot about Norm in the years we have collaborated on the issues facing our towns’ families. I know that he will be the advocate and partner we so badly need in the state senate. I know that he will fight for investments in education and investments in our communities. I know that he will make certain that the towns in our district get their fair share from Hartford. And just as important, I know he will lead across party lines to address the challenges facing our state.”

Needleman’s nomination was seconded by two prominent Democrats from the district: Emily Bjornberg, 2014 nominee for the 33rd State Senate Seat, and Stacia Libby, four-term Selectman in Essex commented, “When no one is watching, Norm is a quiet friend to myriad marginalized folks within his community. He quietly provides meals and housing. He quietly provides jobs and friendship. He quietly, yet unapologetically, fights for the humanity of his fellow man. He is a pillar of his community without being a boast and he is a successful driver of the local economy without being a brag.”

Libby, who has worked as an elected official alongside Needleman for eight years, noted, “What I have learned about Norm pales when compared to what I’ve learned from Norm. He taught me through his actions what it means to be a true leader. Norm is compassionate, intelligent and diplomatic. He listens. He considers all sides and viewpoints. Then he seeks solutions that are fair, balanced and in the best interest of our community.”

Needleman has 20 years of public service experience in Essex, including four terms as First Selectman. During his tenure as First Selectman, he led economic development initiatives that made Essex home to over 700 businesses. He balanced budgets and made infrastructure improvements while maintaining one of the lowest property tax rates in the state.

Needleman is the founder and CEO of Tower Laboratories, a manufacturing company employing 150 people, located in Essex. His two sons co-manage the company with him.  He lives in Essex with his partner, Jacqueline Hubbard, Executive Director of the Ivoryton Playhouse.

Read the story at Valley News Now

Connecticut lawmakers consider establishing minimum staffing standards for utilities

The General Assembly’s Energy and Technology Committee is considering legislation to mandate minimum staff levels for Connecticut’s utilities.


If Senate Bill 329 becomes law, the state Public Utilities and Regulatory Authority would have to establish minimum staffing and equipment standards. The legislation was introduced at the beginning of March, before three consecutive winter storms left tens of thousands without power for days.

The proposed legislation would impact all types of utilities, but appears to be in response to the electric utilities handling of power restoration efforts. [...]

Essex First Selectman Norm Needleman, a businessman, is supporting the proposed legislation. Though the legislation would apply to all utilities under PURA’s jurisdiction, Needleman said legislative action is especially needed to address “prolonged power outages, inadequate staffing, and incorrect information from Eversource.”

“In recent years, I have witnessed an alarming deterioration in response to power outages by Eversource, causing inordinate delays in power restoration to homes and businesses in Essex,” Needleman said. “Eversource has drastically reduced repair personnel and equipment, instead relying on resources from private contractors and service units from outside of their system. Second, and equally alarming, is the lack of operating management oversight in directing and coordinating whatever resources are available.”

Needleman, who is in his fourth term as Essex’s first selectman, said Eversource “has ignored their responsibilities by failing to implement effective weather-related response and repair.”

“Instead, they have chosen to implement staff and equipment reductions to effect cost economies,” he said. “As a matter of public safety, Eversource should be required to maintain adequate staffing and equipment levels.”

The lack of reliable electric system is a deterrent for new businesses considering locating in Connecticut, Needleman said.

Read more at The Shoreline Times

Needleman Joins Sen. Murphy Opioid Forum

HADDAM — Health-care professionals, emergency service personnel, social service providers, elected officials and families who have lost children to opioid abuse met recently to give U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., a report from the front lines in the battle against the plague.

Essex First Selectman Norman Needleman pushed for more education programs to alert people to the dangers of drugs. He was joined by another speaker in calling on Murphy to do more to halt the wave of synthetic drugs — in particular fentanyl — flooding into the country.

“It’s almost a homeland security issue,” the man said.

Needleman also said the insurance industry “needs to be brought to heel.”

Read more at CT Post Chronicle.