Little Rock renames airport to honor Bill and Hillary Clinton

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:00am EDT

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband former U.S. President Bill Clinton attend a State Dinner in honor of President of China Hu Jintao at the White House in Washington, January 19, 2011. REUTERS/Jim Young

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband former U.S. President Bill Clinton attend a State Dinner in honor of President of China Hu Jintao at the White House in Washington, January 19, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) - Little Rock, Arkansas renamed its airport to honor two of its most famous citizens -- former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the airport commission said on Tuesday.

The seven-member Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission voted unanimously to honor the Clintons, citing their numerous accomplishments.

Bill Clinton, a native of Arkansas, served as governor before winning the presidency in 1992 and serving two terms. Hillary Rodham Clinton was raised in Illinois but moved to Arkansas after marrying Bill. She was elected a senator from New York State after her husband's second term finished and was appointed Secretary of State after Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008.

"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," said Commission Chairman Jim Dailey in a news release.

The Little Rock National Airport is the state's largest commercial service airport. It serves 2.2 passengers annually. The commission is currently working on a plan to make the airport international by 2020.

When Hillary Clinton worked at the city's Rose Law Firm, she served as legal counsel for the airport and the commission.

Bill Clinton said in a statement, "Hillary and I are humbled by the Little Rock Airport Commission's decision ... 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 Federal Aviation Administration will have to approve the commission's decision. The airport's three-letter identifying code "LIT" will not change.

The commission said that it will redesign the signs entering the airport.

Little Rock is also home to the $165 million dollar William J. Clinton Presidential Center, which includes a library and park and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

(Editing by Greg McCcune)

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