Sen. Jacky Rosen backs changing name of Las Vegas airport

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Steve Marcus

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., smiles during an editorial board meeting at the Las Vegas Sun offices in Henderson Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019.

Mon, Feb 8, 2021 (1:04 p.m.)

Nevada Sen. Jacky Rosen has expressed support for the Clark County Commission’s discussion on changing the name of McCarran International Airport because of the racist and anti-Semitic actions of its namesake, the late Nevada Sen. Pat McCarran.

“Southern Nevada’s international airport is a major hub for travel and tourism, bringing people from across the globe to our state. Unfortunately, the current name of this airport is after that of a man who left behind a legacy of anti-Semitism, xenophobia and bigotry,” Rosen said in a statement.

In recent years, McCarran’s legacy has become an object of focus in Nevada. The senator was a force in limiting the number of Jewish refugees allowed to enter the U.S. after World War II and was known for anti-Semitic remarks.

He was also the principal sponsor of the McCarran Internal Security Act, which required Communist organizations to register with the federal government and was fundamental piece of the Second Red Scare of the 1950s.

“I’ve made it my mission in Congress to fight back against anti-Semitism and hate in all its forms, and so, I am glad that the Clark County Commission will consider a measure — that I’ve long supported — to replace this airport’s name with one that better exemplifies Nevada’s values,” Rosen said in a statement.

The commission will vote on whether to rename the airport after Nevada’s former Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, who served as senate majority leader in Washington from 2007 to 2015.

The measure, proposed by Commissioner Tick Segerblom, is the latest attempt to rename the airport after Reid.

Segerblom attempted to pass a bill doing so when he was a state senator during the 2017 legislative session, but the measure failed.

Clark County Commissioners William McCurdy and Justin Jones supported renaming the airport during the commission’s initial discussion this month.

“Senator Harry Reid would be an excellent choice in the search for a new name for this airport,” Rosen said in a statement. “He has dedicated his life to lifting our state up to new heights, helping to create the world-renowned tourism and travel destination that is Nevada.”

This is not the first time Rosen has come forward in support of renaming the airport. In a letter signed by her and the other Democratic members of Nevada’s delegation in June 2020, the lawmakers supported local efforts to change the name.

They also supported the removal of McCarran’s statue from the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington.

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