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Nevada governor also supports idea of renaming McCarran Airport after former Sen. Harry Reid

University of Nevada, Reno and UNLV support idea
Posted at 12:54 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 23:28:41-05

NEVADA (KTNV) — More people and organizations are coming forward in support of renaming McCarran International Airport after former Sen. Harry Reid.

Monday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued the following statement in support of renaming the airport in Las Vegas in honor of Reid. The full statement is below:

“Senator Harry Reid has never forgotten who he is or where he came from. He has spent his life and his career lifting up Nevada to what it has become today. He has helped to shape Las Vegas into a world-class tourism destination, in a state that celebrates its diversity. From taking on the mob to taking on the federal government to stop Yucca Mountain, Harry Reid has been a fearless champion for Nevada.

“His story of being born into a family with nothing in Searchlight, working his way through high school and college, to rising to one of the most powerful positions in Washington is the story of the American Dream. His is a story of a man worth honoring by renaming the airport in the city and state to which he has given so much.”

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Additionally, the presidents of the University of Nevada, Reno and UNLV posted a joint letter over the weekend.

The letter starts out by saying:

"As the Presidents of Nevada’s two research universities, we write to jointly support changing the name of McCarran International Airport to the Harry Reid International Airport. At the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the University of Nevada, Reno we are committed to equity and inclusion, and we stand together against the late Pat McCarran’s legacy of racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia.

"Senator Harry Reid is one of the most effective and distinguished public servants in the history of Nevada. His accomplishments are felt across our state, and we will continue to benefit from his contributions in the coming decades. This is certainly true at our two universities, where Senator Reid’s contributions have significantly increased access and opportunities for our students."


The renaming of the airport has become a hot topic again after Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom proposed the changed. The request came during the first full meeting of the Clark County Commission in the month of February, also known as Black History Month.

The idea has been floated before but failed in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. 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: Nevada Rep. Steven Horsford supports airport name to include Harry Reid

Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford is also in support of renaming the airport and sent this statement on Monday afternoon:i

“America’s reckoning with racial justice has brought more urgency to remove Pat McCarran’s racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic legacy from Nevada’s famous landmarks. I fully support the renaming of McCarran Airport and Commissioner Segerblom’s proposal to name it after former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Throughout his entire career, Senator Reid has been a champion for Nevada’s Black community and fought to bring equal opportunity through policy. Senator Reid knew our education system, healthcare system and financial systems disproportionately worked against communities of color. He became our advocate to right the wrongs of the past through his legislative work.

Senator Reid supported civil rights legislation to end racial profiling and worked to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. He championed the passage of the Small Business Jobs Act and the Nevada Minority Business Enterprise Center to help Nevada’s Black-owned businesses. One of his proudest accomplishments, the passage of the Affordable Care Act, made health care possible for Black Americans who have some of the highest uninsured rates in the nation.

I’m proud to support the renaming of our airport to honor Senator Reid. It’s time for Nevada to do our part in confronting our racist history, and to honor a man who has been a true champion for communities that McCarran himself resented.”

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