Wisconsin delegation in Vermont to check out F-35s

Published: Oct. 23, 2019 at 12:21 PM EDT
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A Wisconsin delegation is in Vermont on what they call a fact-finding mission about the F-35s, but it appears they've already made up their minds about the fighter jets.

The Air National Guard has selected Madison, Wisconsin, as one of two possible places for the next batch of F-35s.

The visiting elected officials and community leaders are on the record as opposed to bringing the F-35 to Madison.

About 60,000 people live within 3 miles of where the jets would be based in Madison. An environmental impact statement conducted there finds more than 2,000 residents would be impacted by intense noise. Plus there would be a disproportionate impact on people of color, low-income communities and schools and day cares.

The group brought a decibel meter with them and they want to learn more from the Burlington community about how it is dealing with the noise.

"The community I represent does not want F-35s. I have heard that loud and clear. They don't want more noise, they don't want more pollution. It's not appropriate to base these planes in dense residential neighborhoods," said Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Wisconsin state representative.

"What I would like to learn more about is the immediate impact of F-35s as it relates to biologically, neurologically, respiratory, what does that look like for people here? Your houses are way closer than our houses. I see a house right there, what's happening with that neighbor? I want to go knock on his door," said Brandi Grayson of Madison, Wisconsin.

If the Air Force picks Madison for its planes, those jets would land there in 2023.

The delegation hopes to hear the jets in person while they're here. They will also attend the noise impact meeting at the airport on Thursday night.