FILE - U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the president pro temper of the Senate, discusses his life in the Senate and his Vermont roots during an Associated Press interview in his office at the Capitol in Washington, Dec. 19, 2022. Vermont’s largest city is planning to rename the state’s largest airport in honor of the retired U.S. senator. On Monday, April 3, 2023, during his state of the city speech, Burlington, Vt., Mayor Miro Weinberger announced the airport will become known as the Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Burlington is planning to rename Vermont’s largest airport in honor of retired U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, the city’s Mayor said Monday.

Mayor Miro Weinberger announced the change on Monday during his state of the city presentation to recognize Leahy’s “commitment to the airport, your lifetime of service to the people of Vermont, and your special relationship to Burlington.”

Leahy, who turned 83 last week, retired from the Senate in January after 48 years. After returning to Vermont from Washington, D.C. he is now living in Burlington.

Leahy said he was humbled by the move to name the airport after him and funding for the airport was always a high priority for him during his time on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“I am gratified that the airport where I took my first flight as a teenager is now well-positioned for Vermont’s future,” he said in a statement.

Leahy’s wife, Marcelle, attended the mayor’s state of the city speech Monday, where the name change was first announced. Leahy watched the event remotely from the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, where he was being treated for a back issue, his spokesman David Carle said

“He is in good spirits, and he understands that going forward is a matter of physical therapy, patience and time,” Carle said in a statement. “He is eager to get back soon to his Vermont schedule.”

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