An almost-forgotten item caused more stir than anything else at Governor Shumlin’s weekly news conference today. Just as spokesflack Susan Allen was bringing down the curtain, Shumlin remembered one more thing:
On Wednesday, I will be flying to Elgin Air Force Base with a group of Vermonters including the Mayor of Burlington and the Mayor of Winooski to listen to the F-35s. I have long said and told Vermonters that the best way to know how much noise they make is to stand there and listen to one.
…During the campaign, I committed to a number of voters who were concerned about the F-35. And I said, ‘When I have more time, I want to go listen to them.” And I am.
Checking the Google, I see it’s actually “Eglin” Air Force Base, down Florida way. (While you’re there, visit the Air Force Armament Museum!)
This announcement provoked a flurry of questions but not much more in the way of illumination. The Governor is a declared supporter of basing F-35s at the Burlington Airport. When asked by Paul “The Huntsman” Heintz if he might change his mind, he deadpanned “If I can’t hear you when I come back, I’m going to change my mind.”
When asked essentially the same question again a few minutes later, he replied:
I’ve been told by informed people that if you fly an F-35 properly, that the noise difference between that and what we’re currently flying in Burlington, the F-16, is not significantly different. I’d like to hear that for myself.
In other words, I’m keeping an open mind but don’t expect it to change.
Stay tuned for more news from today’s presser.