Demonstrators ask Madison’s mayor to take harder stance on F-35 proposal

MADISON (WKOW) — Demonstrators showed up to Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway’s birthday celebration at Old Sugar Distillery Sunday to talk to her about her stance on the proposal to bring F-35 fighter jets to Madison.

On Friday, the last day to submit comments on the possible basing of the jets at Truax Field, Rhodes-Conway and her staffsubmitted more than 20-pages. 

In it, they questioned the military on several items laid out in its originalenvironmental impact study.

That EIS came out in August, and analyzes the potential environmental impacts associated with bringing the aircraft to several proposed sites, including Madison.

Rhodes-Conway said they questioned whether the data the military used was complete enough when it came to things like the population that would be impacted and noise levels.

The document also brought up concerns related to potential contamination the planes could bring.

“I just hope that the Air Force will really take everything into account and consider all the impacts before they make a decision,” Rhodes-Conway told 27 News on Sunday.

The group that showed up to talk with the mayor Sunday said it hopes she will take a stance against the planes.

“We were disappointed in her decision to not come outright against them, but to kind of waffle a bit.” said Steve Klafka with the Safe Skies Coalition. “She left the door open, and said, ‘Well, if the Air Force can’t fix these many problems,’ she might re consider her support.”

Rhodes-Conway said she hears their concerns and is hoping to get answers to her questions soon.

“The really unfortunate thing is that this is not a decision that gets made a the local level,” she said. “This is a decision that gets made by one person — the Secretary of the Air Force. What I have been encouraging folks to do is if they’re concerned about the potential of F-35s coming to Truax Field is to actually contact the Secretary of the Air Force.”

Opponents believe the jets will be much louder than the F-16s currently based at the airfield, while supporters say the F-35s will boost the local economy.

Those demonstrators that showed up Sunday said they were able to get a brief aside with the mayor, who said she was open to setting up a meeting with them.

The group said they hope they can get more elected representatives to come out against the F-35s.

More at WKOW 27 News

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