Bedford residents who joined Monday morning’s activities at the State House calling for an end to expansion of private jets are hopeful that their activism will continue to grow in size and impact.
The activists joined more than 200 people who gathered to present a petition to Gov. Maura Healey. The document, engineered by the coalition Stop Private Jet Expansion at Hanscom or Anywhere, calls for the governor to “use the full measure of your powers to stop Massport’s expansion plans for private luxury jet capacity at Hanscom Field.”
The petition concludes, “Only the governor has any power over Massport. We, therefore, appeal to you to apply your leadership and authority to renounce expansion of private jet capacity at Hanscom – or at any airport.”
The coalition, petition, and demonstration were engendered by plans to add close to 500,000 square feet of hangar space at Hanscom Field near Hartwell Road. Details of the proposal were presented last spring, and the developer is now completing a required environmental impact statement.
The plans, in response to a request for proposals from the Massachusetts Port Authority, feature 27 new buildings plus renovation of the existing Navy Hangar.
“Sometimes we need to be surrounded by others who make the effort to be visible for our causes to know we aren’t alone,” said Nancy Asbedian after Monday’s event. “So often folks don’t want to be seen as making waves. We made waves on Monday.”
“I was inspired to continue to work on this issue and get more people involved,” said Lucy Weinstein, a retired pediatrician. “I do hope the rally and follow-up events will have an effect.”
Carolyn Frost, who said she is a new member of the climate advocacy group Mothers Out Front, stated, “I have been so impressed by the dedication of the people leading this campaign. They are knowledgeable and thorough. Being at the rally and the briefing afterward gave me the sense that together, people can make a difference. They just need to show up!”
“Decision makers at many levels are taking notice that this is a rising issue that must be addressed,” said Sue Swanson. She noted, “I was greeting people as they crossed the crosswalk, including the tourists. Perhaps they will carry the message home with them, a souvenir of Boston!”
At the governor’s office, the petition was handed to Director of Constituent Services Olivia Rolnik, and Deputy Director Remy Aucoin.
Some Bedford participants were disappointed in that response.
“We had known in advance that the governor would not be able to be there. Her office knew in advance we were coming, but the aide who came out to greet us and receive the petition only spoke a few words,” reported Kathy Kerby. “I feel we will need to keep bringing the issue to the governor’s attention multiple times and multiple ways before it’s too late.”
Brown Pulliam, 93, rode his bicycle to the Alewife MBTA station and caught the Red Line to Park Street near the State House.
“At the governor’s office on the third floor, Healey was conspicuous by her absence,” he said.
Pulliam noted that Corinne Doud of Bedford, representing Mothers Out Front, offered “some well-chosen and well-articulated words” before presenting the petition.
“Before my indoor presentation at the executive office of the governor, I found it moving to hear the 140 people singing as they were gathering in the hallway,” Doud said. “I found it so moving to hear the great concern about climate from a 10-year-old fifth grader, worried about her generation, saying that adults are stealing the next generation’s future.
“I first met Kalea Foo of Lexington at a Bedford stand-out a couple of months ago,” Doud continued. “She was holding a sign that read: Each and Every Private Jet Flight makes me more scared for my future. I discovered she is very concerned about climate change and advocated for solar panels at a Lexington Town Meeting earlier this year.”
Doud is a member of the coalition steering committee and invited Kalea to be one of the rally speakers. “I am very involved in Mothers Out Front and our children’s future, but it really struck me to hear the fear and concern spoken directly from a fifth grader I met a couple of months ago pleading for us to help.”
“She truly inspired us to remember how what we do now will affect generations to come. Hearing from a young person like her, I think, is particularly helpful in changing minds and getting things done,” Weinstein said.
Added Dorothy Anderson-Perales, “Her strength in telling older generations of the truth and urgency of the climate crisis was captivating.”
Pulliam said it was “the best speech I heard that day.”
Doud, said Kerby, was “organized, forceful, and inspiring.” She added, “For me, the biggest takeaway from the rally on the steps of the State House is a sense of hope.”
Doud said she also was heartened by remarks from State Sen. Mike Barrett of Lexington, whose district includes Bedford, and by “seeing so many others wearing Mothers Out Front T-shirts from other chapters.”
Swanson noted “excellent coverage by the media (across the political spectrum) that helps raise the visibility of the issue, as have persistent and dedicated actions such as the weekly standouts at Memorial Park and other locations surrounding Hanscom Field.”