Patrick Henry Hays (January 8, 1947 – October 4, 2023) was a prominent American lawyer and politician hailing from the state of Arkansas. Over the course of his career, Hays made significant contributions to his community and state, leaving a lasting legacy of public service.
Early Life and Education
Born in North Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1947, Patrick Henry Hays had strong ties to his hometown from the beginning. He graduated from North Little Rock High School before pursuing higher education at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. His commitment to education continued as he went on to obtain his Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas School of Law. Additionally, Hays served in the United States Army Reserves, rising to the rank of captain.
Patrick Henry Hays’ political career was marked by his dedication to his constituents and the betterment of North Little Rock. He served as the assistant city attorney for North Little Rock before being elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives, representing the 66th district during the 76th Arkansas General Assembly from 1987 to 1989.
His most notable role was as the mayor of North Little Rock, where he served an impressive six terms from 1989 to 2013, totaling 24 years in office. During his tenure as mayor, Hays championed various projects that significantly impacted the city. He advocated for a one-cent sales tax to fund the construction of Dickey-Stephens Park, a prominent local baseball stadium. Additionally, he oversaw the development of key infrastructure projects such as the Big Dam Bridge, Clinton Park Bridge, Broadway Bridge, and Burns Park.
Although he briefly explored a run for the United States Senate in the 1998 election following Dale Bumpers’ retirement, Hays withdrew his candidacy. He was also considered a potential candidate in the 2012 election for the United States House of Representatives in Arkansas’s 2nd congressional district but ultimately decided not to run. In 2012, Hays chose not to seek reelection as mayor, concluding his long and impactful tenure.
Hays’ commitment to public service continued when he announced his candidacy for the House of Representatives in 2014, aiming to succeed Republican incumbent Tim Griffin. He cited the 2013 United States federal government shutdown as a motivating factor for his campaign. However, he faced tough competition in the general election and was defeated by Republican French Hill.
Beyond his political career, Patrick Henry Hays had a loving family. He was married to Linda, a retired school teacher, and they had a daughter named Josie. Hays was also a proud grandfather to three grandchildren: Savannah, Isabella, and Harper.
On October 4, 2023, the nation mourned the loss of Patrick Henry Hays. His dedication to public service, commitment to his community, and tireless efforts to improve North Little Rock will be remembered as a testament to his enduring legacy.