EAST HAMPTON – Brandon Goff enlisted in the U.S. Navy when he was 17, which took him to Washington state to work as a navigational electronics technician on the submarine USS Maine.
After five years in Washington, Goff quickly found his way back and bought a house in East Hampton in 2019. He said he’s gained a deeper appreciation for how difficult it is to build a life in Connecticut since moving home.
Now, Goff is running as a Republican for the 33rd State Senate District seat – currently held by State Sen. Norm Needleman, D-Essex — which covers much of the lower Connecticut River Valley from Portland to Old Saybrook, including Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Westbrook, and Goff’s hometown of East Hampton.
While balancing his State Senate campaign with his full-time job as an electronics technician for a Northrop Grumman subsidiary, his class schedule as a electrical engineering student at UConn, and monthly Naval Reserve training at the Groton Sub Base – Goff outlined a vision of working across the aisle to make life easier for Connecticut residents.
“It’s tough living here. Everyone seems to be hurting,” Goff said, finding some time to talk between an online class in the morning, and an on-campus class in the afternoon. “As a homeowner, I definitely feel that, and I feel my parents’ pain. It just seems like there’s not much help anywhere to make it easier, it seems like all the focus is on more taxes.”
Washington is far from cheap, homes are expensive and local sales taxes can be much higher than Connecticut’s statewide sales tax. But Goff said buying a home there felt more like an investment, while buying a home in Connecticut is almost a sentence to continuous debt, he said.
“It’s no one in particular – it’s not one party, but I want to get involved to try to change that outlook,” Goff said. “I really do like Connecticut, I moved back for a reason. It’s just trying to find the fine line between being able to help without making it seem like you’re trying to help by adding more taxes.”
Goff joined the East Hampton Brownfield Redevelopment Agency in 2020, looking for a way to get involved and give back to his hometown. That led to a run for Town Council in 2021, an election in which he earned the third-highest vote tally as part of a Republican sweep. When the opportunity to run against Needleman for the State Senate seat came up, Goff said he enjoyed local politics enough that he thought it was a good idea.
Goff said he believes the attention to detail that has helped him work on submarines and electronics, and pursue an engineering degree, will also benefit him as a state senator – saying one of his main goals is to look at where Connecticut’s taxpayer money is going, and making sure it’s spent in the right places.
He said his ability to communicate is another skill he thinks would benefit him as a state senator. Goff said his favorite part of being a Town Council member is talking to people in town about their issues and trying to find a good solution.
He said his communication skills would also help him work across the aisle with Democrats, which he sees as essential to find solutions that work for Connecticut residents. Goff said he sees the Republican Party as the most “level-headed, for-the-people” party, and supports Connecticut Republicans’ efforts to protect police and address criminal justice and public safety concerns – but he said he doesn’t see the need for a huge separation between Republicans and Democrats in Hartford.
“I’m not trying to make it one-sided,” Goff said. “My dad ran for state representative for our district, and he’s a Democrat. So my family is kind of split, and it was nice to be able to see both sides and be able to choose on my own what aligns more with my beliefs.”