French Hill goes negative with false attack on Pat Hays | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

French Hill goes negative with false attack on Pat Hays

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 10:15 AM

J. French Hill, the 9th generation Arkansan and multi-millionaire Republican banker running for 2nd District Congress, sounds a touch desperate. In the ad above, he begins: "Patrick Henry Hays is attacking me falsely to hide his own failed record."

Say what?

Former North Little Rock mayor Pat Hays has been resolutely positive in his TV advertising, some of the best of the season. It emphasizes his work drawing new jobs to North Little Rock and saving the Arkansas Travelers baseball team with leadership of the campaign to build a new stadium.

Pat Hays attack French Hill? He didn't. That's just a cover for Hill to flay Hays with some well-massaged misdirection about Hays' record. From the Hays campaign:

“When the first sentence out of French Hill’s mouth in his new attack ad is a lie, it’s impossible to take the rest of his claims seriously. But we do welcome a discussion about fiscal responsibility — Mayor Hays balanced 24 budgets, cut the city’s debt in half and helped attract thousands of good jobs to our community — while Hill backed a tax hike in order to pay for a new sidewalk in front of his house. Unfortunately, Hill’s career and his political campaign are all about helping one person: himself – and that’s why French is being forced to resort to these blatantly false and misleading negative attacks against Mayor Hays.”

Hays himself said:

"I've run a positive campaign, and French Hill is simply lying in his new ad when he says that he's responding to negative attacks. I haven't even mentioned French's name in my ads, and French knows that. It's unfortunate that French has decided to try and mislead voters. In late 2012, when French Hill was President of Fifty for the Future, he presented me with the William F. Rector Award for Distinguished Civic Achievement and praised me for my service to central Arkansas, as Mayor of North Little Rock, over the course of my career. He knows we did good work in North Little Rock — balancing twenty-four budgets, cutting the debt in half, and helping businesses grow good jobs. But now he's simply putting his own political ambitions ahead of the truth."

Pat Hays has indeed had pay raises over 24 years as mayor, all approved by the City Council, and leaving him at a pay level well within the range paid other mayors, few as successful and popular as he was. (And well short of the $4 million French Hill netted for selling a bank in a deal almost certain to lead to a net job reduction as the combined bank creates "efficiencies" to cover the acquisition.)

Here are the details about the attack Hill mounted, with responses provided by the Hays campaign:

In North Little Rock, City Officials Salaries Are Voted on By City Council; Council Raised Pay for City Employees In Order to Attract More Applicants and Retain Employees. In 2012, the North Little Rock City Council approved a salary increase for city employees and full time elected officials, including Mayor Hays. The council stated that increased salary levels were needed to attract more applicants and retain employees. [Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 12/11/12]

Arkansas Times: “The City Council voted the raises. Hays didn't give them to himself.” [Arkansas Times, 6/30/14]

Mayor Hays Salary Was Similar to Other Mayors in Arkansas. In 2012, the salary of the mayor of Conway was increased to $102,339.50, comparing with the cities of Fayetteville ($107,039), Springdale ($101,875), Jonesboro ($104,073), and Rogers ($117,416). These salaries are similar to what Mayor Hays earned in North Little Rock. [Log Cabin Democrat, 12/21/12]

French Hill has still refused to take Mayor Hay’s “No Perks” Pledge. “Democratic U.S. House of Representatives candidate Patrick Henry Hays on Monday signed a pledge to not accept what he calls "congressional perks" and challenged his Republican opponent French Hill to do so, too… Hays — who first said he wouldn't accept these type of perks during a May 16 speech to the Political Animals Club in Little Rock — said Monday that he challenged Hill not to accept these perks after Hill won the May 20 Republican primary.” [Democrat-Gazette, 7/1/14]

Democrat Gazette: Hays Brought Jobs and Growth to North Little Rock. “Hays' story is real. He is a nice fellow, an everyman, who cared about his hometown and led it for 24 years during a period of challenge and, in the end, growth and accomplishment. North Little Rock lost population during those 24 years, but then regained it, along with new jobs. In the end, Hays' tenure produced an arena, a baseball park, historic revitalization in the Argenta district and, well, a submarine, just to show a zany side.” [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 9/18/14]

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