On November 7, 1950, Little Rock voters approved the creation of the Little Rock Airport Commission. This was an extremely rare initiated ordinance.
Local business leaders had tried two times prior to get the City Council to create an Airport Commission. At the time, the Airport was managed by the Council’s Airport Committee, composed of aldermen. Both times, the Council rejected the measure.
This prompted an organization called the Private Flyers Association to begin the drive to collect the signatures to place the ordinance on the ballot. Mayor Sam Wassell was in favor of the creation of the separate commission to oversee the airport and was a member of the Private Flyers Association.
At the general election on November 7, 1950, the ordinance was on the ballot. It passed with an overwhelming majority: 13,025 voters approved of it, and only 3,206 opposed it. The Arkansas Gazette had been a proponent of the switch, endorsing it with a front page editorial entitled “An Airport for the Air Age.”
Also on the ballot in 1950 was a GOP challenger to a Democrat for one of the aldermen positions. George D. Kelley, Jr., ran against incumbent Lee H. Evans. Kelley was the first GOP contestant for a city race since Pratt Remmel ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 1938. Remmel would be back on the ballot in 1951, this time for the position of mayor in a successful effort.