Greenwich senator who named son for Mt. McKinley bemoans renaming by Obama

September 1, 2015

Article as it appeared in the Greenwich Time

GREENWICH — What’s in a name?

Much more than any bucket list view for L. Scott Frantz.

And much more than the bragging rights that come with conquering the summit of North America’s tallest peak, Mt. McKinley, as the Republican state senator from Greenwich did in 1997.

You see, all four of Frantz’s children are named for mountains, three for precipices in Alaska, including his 17-year-old son, McKinley.

So when President Barack Obama decided by executive order to change the name of the 20,322-foot mountain to back to Denali to soothe tensions between the federal government and Native Alaskans, it created an identity crisis for Frantz.

“I don’t appreciate the change at all,” Frantz told Hearst Connecticut Media Monday. “My kids are named after mountains in Alaska, and they’re taking that one away. I say that with tongue and cheek.”

Located in Alaska’s Denali National Park, the mountain was named by a gold prospector for William McKinley in 1896 when the Ohio Republican was nominated for president. The 25th president, McKinley was assassinated in 1901, having never visited Alaska.

“McKinley stuck because that’s what people called it,” Frantz said.

Ohioans have blasted the change, including U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, both Republicans.

“I wouldn’t be happy if I were from Ohio,” Frantz said. “I think it’s important for everybody to be somewhat sensitive to the things like names of mountains, names of rivers and towns. If something during the modern era in the United States has been named something, I think that carries the day.”

No, there will be no trips to the DMV or passport office for Frantz’s son, who attends Brunswick School in Greenwich.
“We’re going to run with the name McKinley,” Frantz said.