Empower Wisconsin | April 16, 2020
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Liberals lose, Wisconsin wins.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Air Force announced Madison’s Truax Field will be the next home of the Air National Guard F-35A operations — flown by the legendary 115th Fighter Wing. The jets will also be based with the 187th Fighter Wing in Montgomery, Ala.
The news delighted a dedicated force of supporters, including the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and lawmakers like Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.
“The next generation of fighter jets that will project America’s military strength will be based here in Wisconsin,” the Juneau Republican said in a statement.
But the mini-Madison F-35A resistance movement that pitched a months-long temper-tantrum was incredulous. Madison’s left-wing city council, just two weeks ago, adopted an “advisory resolution” opposing basing the fighter jets in Madison.
“They obviously didn’t listen to our community and don’t care about destroying our neighborhoods,” state Rep. Chris Taylor, (D-Madison) told the Wisconsin State Journal. Taylor, who used her legislative position to “investigate” Burlington, Vt.’s F-35A wing last year, represents the north side district surrounding the airport.
The small but loud contingent of opponents has complained about the noise the jets would bring, among other objections. The Air Force said the environmental impacts would be mitigated by a truncated flight schedule.
More than 5,000 people have registered support on the Together Truax website, and despite bellyaching from Madison liberals like Taylor and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, the Air Force plan garnered overwhelming bipartisan support. In fact, the Madison resistance movement was furious at their usual hero, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison) who, too, supported basing the F-35s in the lib city.
Baldwin knows what Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders knows about the F-35 mission: It will pay big dividends to its host region, the state and the nation.
The expanded operation is expected to deliver a $100 million in annual economic impact to the Madison area.
“Today’s news ensures Wisconsin’s 115th Fighter Wing, based at Truax Field in Madison, will now receive a critical upgrade with the F-35 replacing the aging F-16 fighter jets currently in service,” said U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh) in a press release. “The new fighters will help maintain U.S. air superiority and keep our state and country safe and secure. The F-35s will also ensure the Air National Guard continues to play an important role in Wisconsin’s communities and economy.”