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Las Vegas Leader Wants To Rename Airport To Denounce Patrick McCarran’s ‘Racist Legacy’
As cities across the country move to eliminate statues and monuments with a racist past, a Las Vegas lawmaker is considering changing the name of the city’s airport due to the racist legacy of its namesake.
McCarran International Airport was named after Sen. Patrick McCarran in 1948. McCarran represented Nevada from 1933 until his death in 1955. His legacy in public office includes a history of backing the aviation industry and key legislation that has shaped modern air travel as we know it today. However, historians have pointed out that his legacy also includes racism, xenophobia, and antisemitism.
“Pat McCarran was an evil man,” Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom told KTNV. “To have the first thing when you come to Nevada (be) McCarran Airport — when you look at his history, that’s just unacceptable.”
Segerblom introduced legislation to the state’s legislature back in 2017 to rename the airport after longtime Nevada Sen. Harry Reid (D).
“First off, I want to get rid of the name, but secondly, I want to honor Sen. Reid, he is really the father of modern Nevada,” Segerblom said.
Opponents of renaming the airport say McCarran was a critical part of history and that changing the name will not erase his legacy.
“We are a multicultural, multi-ethnic city, and for our airport to be named after a racist anti-Semite and other things is just unacceptable,” he added.
A name change would require a majority four-person vote by the Clark County Commission.
If approved, analysts estimate renaming costs around $2 million to replace signs, logos, letterheads, graphics, and other items associated with the airport.
Segerblom says he would raise funds privately to make the change happen.