The Burlington City Council has approved a resolution opposing the basing of any nuclear weapon delivery system at the Vermont Air National Guard Base. It comes a month before the first F-35 fighter jets are scheduled to arrive at the Burlington facility, which opponents fear will be nuclear capable.
A sea of people wore red in Contois Auditorium to visually demonstrate opposition to the impending arrival of the F-35 fighter jets. During the Burlington City Council’s public comment session, most who spoke expressed that opposition by stating fears that the planes will bring nuclear weapons to Vermont.
“Lucy Gluck I live in the Old North End and I grew up in South Burlington right near the airport. The fact that it’s designed to carry nuclear weapons, the F-35, makes us even without the nukes it makes us a target.”
“My name’s Stan Hills. I live here in Burlington. On August 1 President Trump, it pains me to call him president, unilaterally withdrew the United States from the Intermediate Nuclear Treaty. A new arms race is upon us. Let’s not sugarcoat this.”
“Good evening my name is Brian Cina, currently serving as a state representative for part of the city of Burlington. I’m the lead sponsor of House Resolution 7 which strongly opposes the basing of any nuclear weapon delivery systems in the state of Vermont. It is currently held up in committee but its companion passed the Vermont Senate. Do we want Vermont to be the possible starting place for future nuclear wars?”
The Progressive members of the council sponsored a resolution to express the city’s “strong opposition to the basing of any nuclear weapon delivery system at the Vermont Air National Guard Base.” Co-sponsor East District Progressive Jack Hanson says he shares many of the commenters’ concerns. “This resolution specifically focuses on the possibility of upgrades to the F-35’s that would make them nuclear capable. So I’m hopeful that even councilors who have supported the F-35’s or you know may support them without the nuclear capabilities will still support this resolution because of what it speaks to which is this nuclear capabilities which would have Burlington’s airport hosting delivery systems for some of the most destructive weapons on the planet and also make us a potential target in the event of a war.”
South District Democrat Joan Shannon had previously asked U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ office to respond to her questions about the fighter jets’ nuclear potential. “We are at great risk today with the narcissist-in-chief who is withdrawing from anti-nuke treaties and the threat of a nuclear war I think is quite real. And I asked Senator Sanders’ office to respond to the risk of having nuclear weapons on these aircraft. This was written February 14th of this year: ‘There is simply no operational rationale to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on a short range fighter based on the border with Canada’.”
Ward 4 Republican Kurt Wright offered an amendment he felt was needed to clarify that the non-binding resolution solely expresses opposition to a nuclear mission. “I think that it is important that along with stating that we don’t want a nuclear mission that we are upfront and honest with people because I’ve heard it repeatedly people thinking that if we pass this resolution we can stop the F-35’s. And the F-35’s are coming next month. So it’s fine for us to make a statement that we don’t want a nuclear mission here, and again I’ve heard it many times people urging me to do this because we need to stop the F-35’s. This resolution’s passage will not do that and we need to be upfront to people.”