Bill and Hillary Clinton headline airport expansion, renaming | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bill and Hillary Clinton headline airport expansion, renaming

Posted By on Fri, May 3, 2013 at 12:12 PM

OH SAY CAN YOU SEE: The Clintons, with airport officials (from left, Kay Kelley Arnold, Ron Mathieu, Thomas Schueck and Robert East) and Gov. Mike Beebe, sing the National Anthem
  • Brian Chilson
  • OH SAY CAN YOU SEE: The Clintons, with airport officials (from left, Kay Kelley Arnold, Ron Mathieu, Thomas Schueck and Robert East) and Gov. Mike Beebe, sing the National Anthem

INSPECTION: Bill and Hillary Clinton get a tour of the new ticketing airport at the facility formally dedicated in their honor Friday.
  • Brian Chilson
  • INSPECTION: Bill and Hillary Clinton get a tour of the new ticketing area at the facility formally dedicated in their honor Friday.
The Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport put on a big show today to herald an expansion project and the formal renaming of the airport in honor of the former president and former secretary of state, both on hand for the ceremony. It was in a hangar on a cool, moist day. The Parkview and Philander Smith choirs sang and an Army band played tunes in the runup to the program.

People began assembling as early as 8 a.m. and dignitaries began taking the stage at 12:05 p.m. No telling what the elaborate event cost, but whatever expenses were required, the airport's lofty parking charges should recoup some of them.

The construction project — a new ticket lobby and baggage handling system — cost $67 million.

Political names were plentiful, including Rodney Slater, Vic Snyder, Jim Guy Tucker, James Lee Witt, Mark Pryor, John Boozman, Tim "Pipeline" Griffin, Jim Dailey, and Dale Bumpers. Airport Commission Chair Kay Kelley Arnold was emcee(she worked many years ago on Bill Clinton's staff). In opening remarks, she said the airport was "truly blessed" by the leadership of airport director Ron Mathieu.

Sen. Pryor gave a shoutout to the $20 million in stimulus money former U.S. Rep. Snyder helped land for the airport. That kind of spending is out of fashion with the current Republican delegation, though they did attend and praise flowed in all directions from those on the program.

Hillary Clinton, warmly introduced by Gov. Beebe, recounted her arrival at the airport as a young woman coming to Arkansas to meet her boyfriend and the journey that followed. It led to her time at the Rose Law Firm, where her work included representing the Little Rock Airport Commission.

Hillary Clinton introduced the man from Hope, Hot Springs, Fayetteville and Little Rock, a young man who, she has often recounted, caught her attention at the Yale Law School talking about the size of watermelons in Arkansas. He paid tribute to members of Congress and the Airport Commission, lavishing attention on those on the opposite side of the political fence. He recalled flying from the airport to college and the idea he could go somewhere else, learn something else "and not lose my attachment to home." The connectedness was ever present. Clinton remembered legislation Arnold had helped pass in 1979 and he undoubtedly could have told a similar personal story for every person in the hangar. "Everyone is inherently interesting," Clinton said. And if there's any better explanation for his political skill and enduring popularity it's the nearly palpable evidence that he's utterly sincere in this belief.

Clinton said he'd love to see Little Rock become an international airport. It's a symbol of the ability to embrace the diverse, but shrinking world, at the same time thinking, "We can always come home." He said he was "profoundly grateful" that the airport was named for him, particularly since they had included "the airport's lawyer." The program ended shortly after 1 p.m.

Fox 16 carried it live. Thanks to them.

Full range of Brian Chilson's photos today here on Facebook.

Tags: , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (17)

Showing 1-17 of 17

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-17 of 17

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • One dead, two wounded in early morning shooting

    KARK's Susanne Brunner reports that one person has been killed and two wounded in a shooting shortly after 1 a.m. this morning near Roosevelt Road and Cross Street.
    • Apr 17, 2019
  • Reality bites at Little Rock City Hall; spending must be cut

    A followup to Rebekah Hall's earlier report on Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.'s announcement that cuts will be necessary in the city budget in part to pay for "priorities," such as his desire to expand the police force, but also to deal with the reality often mentioned here of stagnant to decling city sales tax revenue. Some quick ideas on that:
    • Apr 17, 2019
  • Speaking of hard times in newspapers: Democrat-Gazette's move to digital

    Word continues to filter in of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's pullback from statewide circulation of a print daily edition of the newspaper — the latest from the Hot Springs area, just 50 or so miles down the road from Little Rock. Subscribers there were told home delivery of a print paper would end in May.
    • Apr 16, 2019
  • More »

Readers also liked…

People who saved…

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation