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."