FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 8
From: Safe Skies Clean Water Coalition
Allies for Black Lives—Madison
Parisi reappoints Airport Commissioner
despite racist comment at April meeting
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi is appointing two members to the Dane County Airport Commission, Perry Armstrong, a title company CEO from Mount Horeb, as well as Jeremy Levin, a county supervisor representing District 10 on Madison’s near west side. The appointments need to be confirmed by the County Board, which meets this Thursday evening, September 9.
The Airport Commission, an advisory body composed of five County Board members and four citizens, has expressed solid support for the basing of F-35 fighter jets at Truax Field. This, despite the Air Force’s own conclusion in its Environmental Impact Statement that the F-35 jets would cause 2,766 people to live in areas “incompatible with residential use.” The Air Force also admitted the project would have disproportionate impacts on low-income, families of color and children living adjacent to the airbase.
At an Airport Commission meeting this past April 14, Armstrong commented, in what he characterized as “just a little editorial on my part”: “As a responsible parent, you know if these noise issues are really that significant, and they may be, then how as a responsible parent could you choose to reside in that neighborhood and subject your children to those problems?”
During the April meeting, Diane Morris, a resident of the Eken Park neighborhood and a Safe Skies Clean Water member, told the commissioners that “noise pollution is not an irritation, it is cruel harassment.” She went on to explain: “I live with a daughter with Down Syndrome. When the F-16s fly over, she is in near tears.”
Tom Berman, a small businessman who has lived next door to the airport for 37 years, called Armstrong’s comments “despicable.” He said that “Armstrong cannot understand or represent the working class people of this area.”
Steve Klafka, an environmental engineer and Safe Skies leader, commented on hearing about Parisi’s appointments: “If the County Executive, landlord for the airport, refuses to take any responsibility for the PFAS contamination of our water or the noise and air pollution that will be generated by the F-35s, he might at least find someone to sit on the Airport Commission that has a little sensitivity and common sense.”
Former County Supervisor Paul Rusk, who died suddenly in October, 2020, represented the neighborhoods around the airport and served on the Airport Commission. Rusk opposed the F-35 project.
The Dane County Executive Committee will meet at 5:30 pm on Thursday and the full County Board will meet at 7 pm.