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Leaders to consider Las Vegas airport name change, citing diversity

Former Sen. Patrick McCarran's legacy questioned
McCarran International Airport ranked 3rd best in country
Posted at 10:06 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 02:45:15-05

LAS VEGAS (KNTV) — Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom is moving forward with a formal request for an ordinance to be drafted to change the name of McCarran International Airport to honor another Nevada political figure, former Sen. Harry Reid.

The request came during the first full meeting of the Clark County Commission in the month of February, also known as Black History Month.

"If there is support, we [will] come back in two weeks with an ordinance," said Commissioner Segerblom.

The idea has been floated before but failed in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

RELATED: 2018: County commission has name change of McCarran Airport on agenda

But after the 2020 summer protests and demonstrations in the racial unrest following the police-killing of George Floyd, Segerblom says it was time to address the airport's namesake.

RELATED: Las Vegas leader urges McCarran International Airport name change, denounces legacy as racist

Sen. Patrick McCarran was a Nevada political powerhouse and represented the Silver State from 1933 until his death in 1954.

McCarran is credited for helping shape the air industry we know at present.

Sen. McCarran was a hardliner anti-communist and some say he left a legacy of racism, xenophobia and antisemitism.

"I would like to propose that we remove his name and replace it with Sen. Harry Reid," said Segerblom.

Reid is the former Senate majority leader and was one of the most powerful Democratic senators in the United States for many years.

Reid does have critics and have expressed they feel he is too partisan to replace the McCarran name.

"I also want to rise in support of Commissioner Segerblom's recommendation to change the name of our airport," said Clark County Commissioner William McCurdy II.

"I can't think of anybody who has done more for the state of Nevada and also our country than former Senator Harry Reid," added McCurdy.

"I would express strong support for Commissioner Segerblom's request for renaming the airport for Sen. Harry Reid, I've had the great pleasure of knowing the Reid family for the entirety of my marriage, 25 years this year," said Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones.

The name change appears to have momentum, unlike previous years.

RELATED: Nevada leaders call for removal of McCarran statue

The movement to change mascots, symbols, and names has taken hold with schools, professional football, and products removing names and images all that have been deemed racially or culturally offensive.

Segerblom introduced the McCarran name change before the Nevada legislature in 2017 but the measure failed.

Now on the county commission, Segerblom says the name change would require only a four-person majority vote.

"I see positive signs out there I think that we are in the process of reinventing ourselves as a city and as a community and with this pandemic over we're going to be bigger and better than ever," said Segerbloom.

If the name is changed in the near future, estimates put the cost around $2 million to replace signs, logos, letterheads, graphics, and other items with the McCarran name.

13 Investigates reached out to Sen. Reid's spokesperson Tuesday evening but he was unavailable for comment.

Popular Twitter account Las Vegas Locally asked whether the McCarran name should be changed to honor Sen. Harry Reid and as of Tuesday evening, nearly 6,000 votes have been recorded with 71 percent saying "no."