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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

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  • justlooking
    March 20, 2012 at 2:15 p.m.

    Maybe they''ll vote to include a cigar bar in the airport next...

  • NoUserName
    March 20, 2012 at 2:22 p.m.

    If this website is a good sampling, I'd hazard a guess we're split pretty close to 50/50 for and against. That being the case, the commission made a very poor decision. You don't want to change a name from something I'd guess most people didn't have a problem with to one that half your state hates.

  • Straytrooper
    March 20, 2012 at 2:30 p.m.

    I was not aware a name change was being considered for the airport.

  • Packman
    March 20, 2012 at 2:43 p.m.

    Not to point out the obvious, but shouldn't it be Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, if it is at all? In a word this is a disgrace. Naming it after Monica Lewinsky's hummer instructor is bad enough but including someone who literally despised Arkansas and its inhabitants is a slap in the face to all Arkansans. On the bright side, let the jokes begin: Will the HillBilly airport bar have a drink named "Lewinsky" that is hard to swallow? Will the airport "impeach" unruly passengers? Will the airport gift shop carry specially scented Monica cigars? Will Susan McDougal have a permanant office there? Wouldn't it have been much more appropriate to have named the Mena airport after Bill???????

  • tcleose
    March 20, 2012 at 2:46 p.m.

    What an absolutely absurd decision by a bunch of political suck-ups! Just wondering, how (and why) this board was even created with; a) so much power and b) without some provision for citizen opinion (like an option to vote on any hotly contested decision)? Who among us (well except the die-hard liberals) would argue against at least considering giving this honor to someone from Arkansas who at least put his/her life on the line in the service (MILITARY!) of our nation. I believe citizens should at least be given the opportunity to express their opinions instead of a never ending effort to slap "clinton" on whatever the "&^% liberals" see next. I don't need a screen name, I'm David Hudiburgh and yes, I have a helluva lot more respect for any wounded or KIA service member than I do for bill clinton!

  • Packman
    March 20, 2012 at 2:58 p.m.

    Hey nousername - You might want to count again. The split on this thread is more like 80/20 against, which only exacerbates your point.

  • rockylittle
    March 20, 2012 at 3:04 p.m.

    Disgrace. One word describes it all

  • Redlab
    March 20, 2012 at 3:30 p.m.

    This so amusing with all the comments. I remember when people made all the remarks like this when Clinton was governor but yet he kept on getting voted in all the time except once when White was elected and that was a disaster. Clintons, the people you love to hate. SMH and LOL

  • AlleyOops75
    March 20, 2012 at 4:55 p.m.

    I'm not a native Arkansan but from looking at the Yeas vs the Nays, I'd say that about 90% of the posters are adamant in their protests against renaming the LR airport Bill & Hillary. I'll have to admit that the renaming does sound a bit weird & unprofessional.

  • LSS
    March 20, 2012 at 8:12 p.m.

    Bill & Hillrey 'Humbled'??? My Arss! The only way they got this is by paying someone off - typical Clinton style. The sad thing is that the majority of 'The People' were simply ignored . . . .

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