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Burlington Voters Don't Want The F-35s. The Guard Says They're Still Coming.

An F-35B lifts off from the runway at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in October 2017.
Samuel King Jr.
U.S. Air Force, Courtesy
An F-35B lifts off from the runway at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in October 2017. Burlington will receive 18 F-35s starting in 2019.

Eighteen F-35 stealth fighter jets are set to come to Vermont next year, but on Town Meeting Day, a ballot question with language rejecting the fighters passed with wide support in Burlington. We're looking at what that vote means and what happens next for the F-35s in Vermont.

Fifty-five percent of Burlington voters called for canceling the basing of the F-35s at the Burlington International Airport. Ballot Measure 6 now tasks the Burlington City Council to "request the cancellation" of the F-35 basing decision, and "request instead" alternate "low-noise-level equipment" for the Burlington Air Guard station.

After surviving past council efforts to vote down the fighters and a legal challenge to the site selection process, the Vermont National Guard says the vote won't change their plans to bring 18 F-35s to Burlington starting in 2019. 

Vermont Edition? looks at what comes next for the F-35s with guests:

  • Sen. Patrick Leahy, recorded on Friday, March 9, 2018.
  • Retired Air Force Col. Rosanne Greco, an activist who's opposed the F-35 basing decision.
  • Joan Shannon, a longtime city councilor from Burlington's South District.
  • Maj. Gen. Steven A. Cray, adjutant general for the Vermont National Guard.
  • Jasper Craven, a reporter whose multi-part series for VT Digger traces the F-35's path to Burlington.

Broadcast Monday, March 12, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m. 

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