Four candidates faced their final interview for the Vermont National Guard's top job Thursday night, pitching themselves to the House committee on military affairs.
The candidates: retired Army Colonel Mike Bullock of Hinesburg, current Air Guard Brigadier General Steven Cray of Essex Junction, Col. Darryl Ducharme of Williston, and the new comer civilian James Leas were questioned on topics from sexual assault in the military, to helping guard families, to the controversial F-35.
"It's an investment in Vermont for the next 30 years," said Cray. "It's critical to the airport and to the economics that surround it, it's critical to the businesses."
The Air Force is set to make its decision this spring whether the new fighter jet will land here. Ducharme and Cray, both who have current roles in the Guard, fear that losing the F-35 jets could mean cuts to the Guard's staffing and funding in the future.
"If we cannot find an alternate mission for them," warned Ducharme, "the air wing brings about $73 million in federal money to the state and it will have an impact on the communities and neighborhoods that we have," he said.
But Bullock, who is a retired Army Colonel said he would need to investigate further.
"I would encourage an establishment of a commission with stakeholders internal and external to the guard to discuss these issues," Bullock stated to the committee.
But the one civilian candidate and activist, James Leas, has been outspoken against F-35s and war in the past. He said he would try to stop the jets from coming to Vermont if he were in charge of the Guard.
"The F-35 jets will cause nearly 3,000 homes and 7,000 people to be in a noise zone that the Air Force and the FAA say is generally not considered suitable for residential use," Leas said.
Lawmakers are set to vote on the position next Thursday.
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-03-10 02:43:23 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:56:33 GMT
Flags were flying on the Statehouse steps Sunday afternoon as more than 500 people gathered for the Gun Owners of Vermont Rally."Vermonters -- not just hunting Vermonters who happen to have firearms forMore >>
A trio of gun control measures may have gotten the green light from Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day, but the charter changes face strong opposition across the state, and a possible uphill battle at the Statehouse.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:43:32 GMT
Is the marketing behind Electronic Cigarettes aimed at kids?New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says the industry's trendy packaging and flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy aren't foolingMore >>
Schumer is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would ban e-cigarette marketing aimed at kids.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:42:02 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.Members of the so-called Senate Climate Action Task Force -- nearly two dozen in allMore >>
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:40 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:40:46 GMT
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.The owner of the home on Pike Drive called for help a little after 9:30 a.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived theyMore >>
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:38:52 GMT
Jazz fingers, dance moves -- and plenty of passion. The Urban Reach Dance Convention is giving aspiring dancers the chance to learn from some of the music industry's most acclaimed teachers, who have workedMore >>
Aspiring dancers hit the floor this weekend at the 8th annual Urban Reach Dance Convention.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-03-09 22:08:59 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
Sunday morning CCTA officials announced that after a marathon negotiation session they delivered a complete contract proposal to the union.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:52:05 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend. His office says the Governor was at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. He is expected toMore >>
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend.More >>