The Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission voted unanimously today (March 20) to rename Little Rock National Airport in honor of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
The Clintons were the long-time Governor and First Lady of Arkansas before their presence on the national stage, when Bill Clinton was elected President and Hillary Clinton went on to serve as First Lady, a U.S. Senator, a former Presidential candidate and the current U.S. Secretary of State.
“Hillary and I are humbled by the Little Rock Airport Commission’s decision this morning,” said Bill Clinton. “We are grateful for this honor and for all that the people of Arkansas have done for us. And we look forward to many happy landings at the airport in the years ahead.”
The commission cited the many contributions the Clintons have made to Arkansas through more than three decades of service to the state and nation as its reason to rename the airport. The name change coincides with the airport’s 2020 Vision Plan, which is a major construction initiative currently underway.
“Bill and Hillary Clinton not only devoted years of service to Arkansas, but have served the nation as a two-term President, and as First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State - that’s a legacy of which all Arkansans can be proud,” said Jim Dailey, chairman of the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission. “The Clintons continue to have a major impact on our state and our local economy, and we believe renaming our airport in their honor is a fitting way to recognize their service and their position in Arkansas and our nation’s history.”
Commissioners also noted the success of the Clinton Presidential Center and the many visitors who travel through the airport to visit the center, which is Arkansas’ No. 1 attraction for out-of-state visitors, drawing more than 2.5 million people since opening in 2004.
“The Clinton Presidential Center and Clinton Foundation have been huge assets as we work to attract visitors to our city,” said Gretchen Hall, president and chief executive officer of Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Many people already associate Little Rock and Arkansas with the Clintons, and naming the airport in their honor gives the facility an identity that will be instantly recognized nationally and internationally.”
Other airports incorporating the names of Presidents include the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport in Springfield, Ill.; John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City; Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Mich.; Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C.; George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas; and Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport in Dickinson, N.D.