GOP lawmaker tries to strip Clinton name from Little Rock airport

The Republican state senator says that flying into an airport named after the former president is an embarrassment. 

Former President Bill Clinton at the Little Rock airport's renaming ceremony in 2013.

With his party now holding all of the levers of power in Arkansas politics, a Republican state lawmaker is pushing to remove the names of the state's most famous Democrats — Bill and Hillary Clinton — from Little Rock's airport.

Sen. Jason Rapert says pilots have complained to him about flying into Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport and that Arkansas shouldn't honor a former president who was impeached over his affair with a White House intern.

"The bill is to prevent any further embarrassment by the airport's name," Rapert said Friday. Other women have accused the ex-president and ex-governor of sexual harassment, and they shouldn't have to be reminded when they travel through Arkansas' busiest hub, he said.

"How would you feel if you had to walk through that airport?" Rapert asked.

Bill Clinton has been dogged by rumors about his relationships with women for much of his political career. He has acknowledged sexual encounters during that time, but has denied accusations of mistreatment.

The sprawling airport complex east of downtown Little Rock had been called Adams Field, picking up the moniker to honor Arkansas National Guard Capt. George Geyer Adams in 1942. Adams was a longtime Little Rock councilman killed in the line of duty in 1937 and the actual air field is still named for him.

"Political friends of the Clintons decided to strip his honor," Rapert said.

Bill Clinton, who was acquitted in his 1999 impeachment trial, served as Arkansas governor nearly 12 years and president for eight. Hillary Clinton was a U.S. senator from New York and a U.S. Secretary of State before running as the Democratic presidential nominee last year.

While Bill Clinton was president, he signed the bill naming Washington National Airport after former President Ronald Reagan, a Republican.

Rapert's bill says Arkansas should not name any publicly funded airport after anyone who received a salary for holding a federal, state, county or municipal office. A state wildlife center in Pine Bluff is named after former Gov. Mike Huckabee, but Rapert said the former Republican presidential candidate should still be honored.

He did not explain the difference.

Little Rock's Airport Commission voted to rename the complex in 2012. At a hearing, members of the public acknowledged the Clintons weren't perfect but said the couple had accomplishments that no other Arkansans had.

"We recognize that the 42nd president of the United States is a singular honor for the city and the state," Mayor Mark Stodola, a Democrat, said Friday.

"I'm disappointed that the legislation was filed," he said, adding that it was "a slap against Little Rock" and that its airport commissioners were best equipped to choose whom to honor.

When the airport was renamed five years ago, Democrats controlled the Legislature and held the governor's office. Republicans completed a takeover of Arkansas state government in 2014.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to GOP lawmaker tries to strip Clinton name from Little Rock airport
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today