It was all but official, and after the Democratic nominating convention for the 34th Assembly District on Tuesday night at Hale-Ray High School in Moodus, it is. Chris Goff of East Hampton is the party's unanimous choice to run for State Representative in November.
"It's an honor to be here, to represent the new 34th District of Westchester, East Haddam and East Hampton," said, who first his candidacy in February.
Red McKinney of East Hampton gave Goff's nominating speech, describing the former town councilman as a candidate the party would not have any second thoughts about and emphasizing Goff's integrity.
"This gentleman has no baggage," McKinney said. "Chris Goff is as clean as they come. All the years he's served in East Hampton he has stayed above it. What you see is what you get, just good stuff."
Goff touched on three issues that would be important to him as State Representative during his acceptance speech: education, regionalization and communication.
A supporter of the education reform bill signed by Gov. Dannel Malloy earlier this month, Goff said "We need to be there to make sure it gets carried out."
A former board of education member, Goff also stressed the importance of keeping programs such as sports, art and music available in school.
"There's other options for the towns besides cutting those programs to save money," he said, reminiscing about his love for art class while in school.
Goff, who was a key player while a councilman in the regionalization of the dog pound and animal control services now shared by East Haddam and East Hampton, stressed the need for towns to look at other such opportunities.
"What things can our towns benefit by grouping or regionalizing with another town," he said, suggesting public works and education as possibilities.
Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone every day with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.
Goff also called establishing an effective means of communication between himself, his towns and the state, a big early goal.
"One of the biggest things for me is going to be communication," he said. "How do we get the communication lines going between us and the town and the state. ... It's got to be the first priority to get the people of the town involved in what is happening at the state, and for me to come back to you in the towns and tell you what is going on and get your input and your ideas."
With no opposition and threat of primary, the message for the party was clear. The Democrats have an opportunity to band together and with unity and hard work, keep the seat held by fellow Democrat for seven terms.
"This isn't a cake walk," former East Haddam First Selectman and the current Democratic Town Committee Chair Brad Parker said. "We're going to need to get together to work hard. We're going to need to do it as one. ... The Republicans want this spot. So, we're going to have to start off right here tonight and pledge to work hard at this and make it move forward."
Goff echoed that sentiment afterward.
"I am honored to have the three town's support, the nomination, and I think Brad put it well," he said. "We're not three towns anymore. We're one, and we need to work to move things forward."
Goff sounded ready to do just that as he and his supporters prepared to leave for a reception to celebrate his big night.
"I look forward to a positive and productive campaign. I'm not going to get into the negative," he said. Then added, "I look forward to house parties and doing the door-to-door in the other towns, getting to meet everyone ... I'm ready."