Little Rock National Airport is being renamed in honor of Bill and Hillary Clinton. The airport's commission unanimously approved the name change Tuesday after hearing comments from the public.
Arkansas House Speaker-elect Darren Williams told the panel he believes it an appropriate way to honor the 42nd President and the Secretary of State.
"The Clintons have done an outstanding job of being an economic engine for our state, country and this region. Not only an economic engine, but an engine for social change, for educational development, for bringing people together," Williams said. "I think naming this airport after the Clintons is the right thing to do.”
Former Clinton aide Bob Nash agreed.
“I believe naming our airport after Bill and Hillary Clinton is absolutely the right thing to do to recognize these Arkansans for their unprecedented place in our nation’s history and to thank them for their service,” said Nash.
But others like Margaret Piper spoke vehemently against it.
"Do you think the Clintons appreciate your attempt to obfuscate the history of their debauchery and to glorify them? The Clintons left Arkansas. Get over it," Piper said. "Are you trying to promote their ideology? Several of you admit in print that you know the will of the people is not for this," Piper said.
Her husband Will Piper also spoke, calling on commissioners to vote against it.
"This vote is not about Bill and Hillary Clinton," he said, "It is about whether or each of you has the integrity to reject this vote. You have unelected privilege and power to force the name change upon everyone else.”
After the brief public comment period ended, there was no discussion by the commission, with Chairman Jim Dailey bringing it to a voice vote.
"All in favor of the motion to rename the airport Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport signify by saying aye," Dailey said, with all of the commissioners speaking up. "Any opposed? Hearing none, then the motion is adopted,” Dailey said to applause from the crowd.
Afterward Dailey told reporters he was pleased by the decision, noting how Clinton’s Presidential Library draws hundreds of thousands of people to Little Rock each year.
"Next Sunday we will have the inaugural flight on U.S. Airways, 3 o’clock in the afternoon from now, Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport to Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC. What an example of bi-partisanship," Dailey said with a laugh.
In a statement, the former President said "Hillary and I are humbled by the Little Rock Airport Commission's decision this morning. 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."