OKLAHOMA CITY – President Trump's critics won’t get their kicks on Route 66 under an Oklahoma legislator’s proposal to rename a small stretch of the iconic roadway after the president.
Republican State Sen. Nathan Dahm, passionate Trump fan from Broken Arrow, said he filed the bill to honor the president's economic policies and all he’s done to make America and Oklahoma great again.
“This is the heart of America,” said Dahm. “And Trump won all 77 counties here.”
Dahm’s bill would rename five miles of the road "President Donald J. Trump Highway" in the northeast corner of Oklahoma between the towns of Miami and Commerce.
But he admits the idea has already caused blowback, even from Republicans. Yet, he hopes it will cause people to talk about their political differences and find common ground.
“A lot of people are very upset and emotionally disturbed about it,” said Dahm. “Those who are opposed are adamantly opposed.”
Highways are normally named after presidents when they've been out of office for years or deceased. Rhys Martin, president of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, said designating even a small portion of the road in Trump's name would bewilder tourists.
“Calling the road anything other than Historic Route 66 adds confusion and dilutes the uniquely American experience that the highway represents,” said Martin.
Republican Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, who promotes state tourism, agreed in a Twitter exchange with Martin. He mentioned the special promotional attraction of the roadway, once the title of a popular TV show in the early 1960s.
Now a decommissioned highway, Route 66 originally covered 2,400 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica – traversing Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
During its heyday, it featured brightly lit outsized billboards for gas stations, motels and cocktail lounges with Juke boxes blaring Bob Dylan songs and other popular music of the era. It is now a roadway bikers and tourists travel to witness the silent past.
Oklahoma State Reporter Janelle Stecklein provided details for this story.