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Nevada's incoming governor wants to rename Las Vegas airport after former Sen. Harry Reid

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Former Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) speaks at a campaign rally in Reno during the 2016 campaign cycle. The state's incoming governor announced Tuesday that he will push to have Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport renamed after Reid. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Nevada's incoming Democratic governor, Steve Sisolak, says his first order of post-election business will be renaming Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport after former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

What are the details?

Speaking at the Clark County Commission meeting on Tuesday, Sisolak — who currently serves as the commission's chairman — announced that he would like the name change to occur by the end of this year, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The 78-year-old Reid, who served 30 years in the U.S. Senate before retiring in 2017, is currently battling pancreatic cancer.

The incoming governor also wants to rename the Reno-Tahoe International Airport to honor the late Sen. Paul Laxalt (R), Reid's predecessor in the Senate, and the grandfather of Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt (who was Sisolak's opponent in the gubernatorial race).

"They both have made massive contributions to the long-term well-being of the state of Nevada, and sometimes we don't recognize people appropriately," Sisolak told the commission.

McCarran International Airport is named after the late U.S. Sen. Pat McCarran (D), who represented Nevada in the Senate from 1933 until his death in 1954. The airport was named after him in 1948, for his authoring of the Civil Aeronautics Act 10 years earlier.

Known as a staunch anti-Communist, critics say McCarran was a racist, fascist, and an anti-Semite.

Last year, Nevada state Sen. Tick Segerblom (D) proposed a bill that would rename the Las Vegas airport after Reid, but stopped pressing it forward after Sisolak told him he would prefer the county commission take up the initiative.

"I think it's fantastic," Segerblom told the Review-Journal. "I've said all along McCarran is a terrible person to honor. It's like the Civil War statues. To have his name honored in a multicultural city like Las Vegas is embarrassing."

What else?

Reid has also sought to have McCarran's name wiped from the Las Vegas airport in the past.

Roll Call reported that during Reid's farewell speech on the floor of the Senate in December 2016, he said, "I've tried for years to get the name taken off," referring to McCarran. "A Democratic senator from Nevada who was an awful man. I tried to get his name off of that. It didn't work."

Any name changes to the airports would need to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

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