Delegates from Madison, Wisconsin, are in the Green Mountain State this week hoping to to see and hear for themselves the Vermont National Guard’s new F-35 fighter jets.
The 115th Fighter Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard in Madison could see 20 of the next-generation aircraft by 2023, and the delegates say they need more information about how the jets will impact local residents.
“Our people are really struggling to know what this means for our community,” said Chris Taylor, a Wisconsin state legislator.
Rebecca Kemble, a Madison’s City Council member, said data and information on noise levels has been hard to come by in Wisconsin. The delegation came to the Burlington area hoping to catch a glimpse of the planes themselves and bring what they learn home to constituents.
“About 2,200 people will be living in places that are unsuitable for human habitation,” she said. “That is not acceptable to us.”
Unfortunately for the out-of-town visitors, Vermont’s F-35s did not fly Wednesday. The delegates said they requested a meeting with VANG representatives, but did not receive a response.
The group plans to attend a public meeting at Burlington International Airport on Thursday to talk with Vermonters about the jets’ impact on their lives.
“I’m really interested in talking to community members directly impacted, because that will tell the bigger story of the noise pollution.”Wisconsin delegate Brandi Grayson
The group shares many of the same concerns of Vermonters opposed to the F-35s, including noise levels, health impacts on children, and property values.
“We really want to hear from the people because that’s who were concerned with,” Taylor said.