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Democrat Norm Needleman to run for Fifth Term as Essex First Selectman

Published Oct. 15, 2019

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Norm Needleman, founder of Tower Labs and also a the 33rd District state senator, has been a part of the Essex community since he moved to the area in 1980s. He has served as first selectman for four terms, previously serving as a selectman an as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Economic Development Commission.

Needleman said that he is seeking his fifth term because there is still a lot he wants to get done in Essex.

“There are several infrastructure projects to complete, as well as the completion of the connectivity project, which includes the sidewalks throughout town and several other projects that have been started that I want to see through to the end,” said Needleman.

He said he has been a fiscally responsible first selectman. Under his administration, the town has had an improvement in bond rating, as well as two consecutive years of lowering the mill rate. For five years, the town budget has passed unanimously.

“I don’t think any other town can say that about their town budget and I think we are only one of two towns in the state that has been able to lower its mill rate two years in a row,” said Needleman.

“I work to maintain a spirit of bi-partisanship in town and I think we have a great Board of Selectman that works well together to get things done here,” said Needleman. “The entire team at the Town Hall is great and we all work together for the town, to keep it moving forward in a positive way, which people in town appreciate. They also appreciate the constant improvements we work hard on, while keeping taxes low.”

He added, “Every year we have appropriated our surpluses to one-time capital expenditures, added money to the sinking fund, and paid down pensions. We have also added money to the tree budget, which has become increasingly important in town and road improvements to lower capital liability moving forward.”

Needleman, who said he takes a business approach to town government, said he loves running the town of Essex and he is very grateful for the opportunity to do so.

“My goal for the future is to continue to make progress in town and not impact the taxpayers in a negative way. We face less and less state funding, but we have to keep our towns safe and moving forward through thoughtful leadership and strategic management,” said Needleman.

He bases his past success in part to community connectivity and the “24-hour rule.”

“Half the people in town have my cell number. I always try my best to make sure that I respond to people within 24 hours, either by text or email,” he said. “I may not have the remedy for their problem, but I will get back to them.”

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