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story.lead_photo.caption Margaret Piper speaks to the Airport Commission, urging it not to rename Little Rock National Airport after the Clintons. - Photo by Gavin Lesnick

— The Little Rock Airport Commission unanimously voted Tuesday morning to rename the state's largest airport after Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The Little Rock Airport Commission unanimously passed a resolution changing the facility's name to the Bill and Hillary Clinton Airport at Adams Field.

Panel approves Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport name

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Following a public comment section, the panel approved the change to Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport at Adams Field. Chairman Jim Dailey said he believed the new name would go into effect immediately.

Bill Clinton, in a statement released by his presidential center, said he and Hillary were "humbled" by the vote.

"We are grateful for this honor and for all that the people of Arkansas have done for us," Bill Clinton said. "And we look forward to many happy landings at the airport in the years ahead."

Shortly after the vote, Dailey said he looked forward to the inaugural flight Sunday on U.S. Airways from Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.

"What an example of bipartisanship," Dailey said, adding later that the airport hopes the name change will have a real impact: "Our goal is that this will further embrace our relationship with the Clintons to the extent that they will continue to do what they are doing by bringing speakers and world attention through the Clinton public service school, continuing to bring more visitors here to the Clinton Presidential Center and bring more economic benefit to the state."

Feedback on the proposed name change was varied before the commission took action and Dailey said he heard from many people who couldn't make the meeting. One man from out-of-state vowed to try and avoid landing in Little Rock if its airport was named for the Clintons, Dailey said.

Arkansas Speaker of the House-designate Darrin Williams, one of about a dozen people who spoke in 3-minute allotments, supported the change because he said everyone should be proud of an Arkansan who became president and a First Lady who became senator and secretary of state.

"The timing is right," Williams said, noting a new name would accompany the airport's extensive renovation project.

Those against the change included Margaret Piper and her husband, who spoke against the move, noting various scandals Bill Clinton has been tied to. They accused the board of trying to pass the measure in secret.

"The Clintons left Arkansas," she said at one point. "Get over it."

Another man said he supported the airport being named after Bill Clinton, but said the joint name was "a little too backwoods and countrified." He guessed people would start referring to the airport as the Hillbilly airport by combining the names.

There are at least six commercial airports named after former U.S. presidents. They include John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York; George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston; Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C.; Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield, Ill.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Thank you for coming to the website of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. We're working to keep you informed with the latest breaking news.

Information for this article was contributed by Noel Oman of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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Comments

  • BJRobertson
    March 20, 2012 at noon

    Why can't the citizens of our state vote on this? We need to have a say - why should a panel in Little Rock decide for everyone? Make this null and void and take a vote, please.

  • wjboozer
    March 20, 2012 at 12:06 p.m.

    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Put the name back to Adams Field but don't name it after these two monsters.........never!

  • GiveUsLiberty
    March 20, 2012 at 12:15 p.m.

    Aren't the LR Airport Commission's actions subject to review by the voters of this state? If any taxpayer funds are used at the airport, we should have a "say" in it's operation and the name. I am opposed to the change in name and believe that a decision of such importance should be subject to greater input and public notification. A public vote would seem most appropriate. Most Arkansans are embarassed by the actions of our former president and of his wife and do not want their name associated with our airport.

  • YoungHog
    March 20, 2012 at 12:18 p.m.

    Great for ARKANSANS... President Clinton should be recognized and should be asked to continue to help the State of Arkansas anyway he and Hilary can.

  • coach99
    March 20, 2012 at 12:59 p.m.

    If I remember correctly, there is still a highway named for Wilbur Mills. If everything that Mills and the Clintons did for AR was taken away, AR would be missing a lot of needed items.

  • Riverrodent
    March 20, 2012 at 1:04 p.m.

    After the airport, we can go up to Fayetteville and rename that campus to University of Clinton and, shoot, let's go ahead and rename the state Clintonland. We won't need to change the motto much - "Land of Opportunism."

  • proudarkychristian
    March 20, 2012 at 1:17 p.m.

    We Arkansans are entitled to vote on this issue, not a group in a meeting............
    (Refresh me on Adams, it's been that way so long, I cannot recall who he was......)

  • RaylanGivens
    March 20, 2012 at 1:42 p.m.

    Coach99 I-630 was once called the Wilbur Mills Freeway or smoething to that effect. We all referred to it as the Fanny Foxe Superslab back in the day. The young ones on here can google those names to see who I am talking about. Maybe we can have nicknames for each runway to help us reference some of Bill's conquests over the years.

  • Capitalist12
    March 20, 2012 at 2:05 p.m.

    Our impeached president is to be honored? Little Rock Liberals never change. Don't they realize that Clinton is an embarrasement best forgotten? moreover, we do not need to feed that huge ego of his.

  • drs01
    March 20, 2012 at 2:14 p.m.

    First the city changes the name of Confederate Blvd. to Springer...then they rename downtown Little Rock streets for Clinton and some of those city leaders that deceived us taxpayers with a "city park" to house that library.....now we are to accept not only one Clinton but two for our airport. I can understand why the airport commission voted for Bill Clinton....just look who is on the commission. And Bill was the president; other airports are named for presidents. But Hillary? The Tammy Wynette of politics? She has shown the same lack of courage in her public life as she did in her personal life. She should have dumped the first SOB years ago, and never worked for the second one today. Two wrongs don't deserve your name on my airport. What a joke!!!

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