LAS VEGAS (AP) — A county board voted unanimously Tuesday to rename busy McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas after former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.

The all-Democratic Clark County Commission approved a measure directing the county’s airport staff to file a change with the Federal Aviation Administration renaming the facility Harry Reid International Airport.

The county commission oversees the airport and is the final authority on a name change.

Election 2020 Harry Reid Filibuster

FILE - In this Feb. 19, 2020, file photo former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid listens during an interview in Las Vegas. Reid said if Democrats win the presidency and the Senate, Joe Biden should take “no more than three weeks” to test bipartisanship before ending the filibuster so they can pass bills over Republican obstruction. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

There have been longstanding calls to rename the airport. Its current namesake, former Nevada Sen. Patrick McCarran, served as one of Nevada’s two U.S. senators from 1933 until his death in 1954. He was known for his contributions to aviation along with his anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic views.

Reid, a Democrat and the former Senate majority leader, retired from the Senate in 2016 after serving 30 years. The proposal was put forward by Commissioner Tick Segerblom, a former chair of the state Democratic Party who announced last week he is again running for the chairmanship.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it must take steps to process a name change before officially recognizing it. That's expected to take a few months.

“It is with humility that I express my appreciation for the recognition today. I would like to express my deep gratitude to Commissioner Segerblom, the entire Clark County Commission, and the many others who have played a part in this renaming," Reid said in a statement Tuesday.

The proposal drew public support from longtime Reid aides and supporters, including Dan Hamilton, dean of the law school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Stephen J. Cloobeck, founder of Diamond Resorts International, Inc. and a major Democratic donor; and MGM Resorts, which has Reid co-chairing its public policy institute.

MGM Resorts Director of Government Affairs Jason Gray read a statement from the company’s CEO and President Bill Hornbuckle in which he said that with McCarran’s history of support for racist and anti-Semitic policies, his name should not be the first one visitors see when they reach Nevada.

McCarran, a Democrat, was the author of the 1938 Civil Aeronautics Act, which established the federal government’s role in overseeing aviation by regulating airline fares and investigating accidents.

“Las Vegas’s main airport should be named for a champion of values important to Nevada, a champion of Nevada: Sen. Harry Reid,” Gray said.

Other people spoke about Reid’s support for Nevada’s diverse communities and his legacy, including his work to make Nevada an early presidential nominating state starting in 2008 for both the Democratic and Republican parties. The move gave the small state an outsized voice on the presidential field.

Some members of the public questioned why officials would rename the airport after a politician, especially one who was polarizing and did not enjoy the same popularity outside his own political party.

“You don’t name a car or new computer with a name that 50% of the possible consumers dislike,” said Daniel Braisted of Las Vegas.

One woman who didn’t give her name suggested renaming the airport as Siegfried and Roy International Airport, paying tribute to “two immigrants who brought beauty and joy” to Las Vegas visitors. Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn, the late German entertainment duo. were known for their magic show featuring white tigers.

Others suggested picking something more neutral such as Las Vegas International Airport and said that amid the pandemic, the county should not spend several million dollars rebranding the airport. Commissioner Tick Segerblom, who pushed for the name change, said it will be paid for entirely by private contributions, not taxpayer money.

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Follow Michelle L. Price on Twitter at twitter.com/michellelprice

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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(19) comments

Jim1937

"Tick" what an appropriate name for a bloodsucker dimocRAT!

sealy3

They might as well name it after the real founder of Las Vegas Bugsy Siegel.

qwerty123

J. T. McWilliams founded Las Vegas and laid out the original town site. Las Vegas already had a bustling gambling and tourist industry by the time Siegel came to town.

jeezlouise

Disgusting- why not just call it Hugo Chavez Airport?

qwerty123

Probably because Chavez has absolutely nothing to do with Las Vegas or the state of Nevada.

MicheleR58

If you're smart, you'll move out of Vegas as they plan on destroying this city with Democrats, ANTIFA and BLM people living here.

MicheleR58

Human Filth

Mediumjeep

What a waste of money for this dirtbag crook !

qwerty123

While I generally oppose naming anything after someone who is still alive, if you had to name the airport after a famous Nevadan, Harry Reid is the first who comes to mind. During his time he helped put Nevada on the map in national politics, kept the high level nuclear waste site out of our state, helped save Pyramid Lake and helped create Great Basin National Park. Though I would have rather seen the title go to Senator Richard Bryan who grew up in Las Vegas, served as senator and governor of Nevada and currently works with Preserve Nevada and other historical preservation organizations to protect Nevada's historical legacy. He's also far less controversial than Reid.

jeezlouise

Biden is a pe dophile - Harry is a filthy criminal.

seanwally

Our city officials would rather rename our airport as our citizens are dying form a virus! Sad!!!

seanwally

No thank you! I will be selling my house in Las Vegas and moving to Florida very soon because this state is deteriorating fast and soon casinos will fall. Naming an airport after this guy is a waste of taxpayer dollars and anyone who makes this decision should be fired on the spot! Nevadans do to want to honor a politician!

Paris

hahaha Of course they do. Fkn idiots.

ALLLIVESMATTER

The only thing I liked about Dingy Harry was that he did keep the nuclear waste dump from coming here full force. Other than that he was a P.O.S. Hey commissioners, we have the highest unemployment rate in America. How many millions are you going to steal from us to change the airport name. SHAMEFUL AND DISGUSTING. We need mafia rules back in Vegas.

TrumpBeliever

Biggest scumbag senator in the last 50 years. The socialists are trying to rewrite history.

NevadaQTruth

It simply amazes me that this is what our representatives have time to do during the worse time for small business in America’s history. MGM, Higher Education and these politicos do not deserve our support or respect. Harry Reid lied, used his political position to enrich himself and family throughout is shady career. Land that the 215 was constructed on is one example, there are many more. I guess it’s appropriate for the new Las Vegas Airport. I have the misfortune of flying in and out of that airport often; service, cleanliness and overall experience from broken people movers to sticky elevator buttons stand in line with the “Dirty Harry” image.

Harry Reid saved City Center for MGM, now they pay him tribute, too bad our government doesn’t support small business the way they support the large ones.

You can call a dirt sandwich steak, but it’s still a dirt sandwich.

NevadaIsStartingToSuck

Absolute disgrace to Nevada, America, and humanity as a whole.

Nevermore

When his picture showed up in the news, I was hoping it was a notice of his death. Nothing good ever happens in February.

Mediumjeep

Pure scumbag unamerican pos ,crooked rotten person!

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