Patrick Henry Hays spoke to a group of young Democrats at Simon Park on Tuesday as part of his announcement tour of the 2nd Congressional District.

Hays, a Democrat, announced his candidacy in North Little Rock Tuesday morning, a day after 2nd District Congressman Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) unexpectedly announced that he was dropping his re-election bid.

Speaking to a group of students, Hays described leading North Little Rock to build the Big Dam Bridge bicycle/pedestrian trail network and revitalizing the Argenta district before turning on Washington politics.

Hays said that the 16-day government shutdown was a political maneuver "akin to burning down a house because you don’t like the windows," saying also that "polarization" of media outlets played a part in political extremism.

"For a lot of people, you pick your channel and that’s what you watch and you’re never getting the other side," he said.

Hays said that if elected, he would start trying to form friendships with Republican congressmen as well as democrats, and hopefully set an example by "not going home every weekend," but rather staying and continuing the political dialogue with other leaders.

Hays was mayor of North Little Rock for 24 years. He was joined in Simon Park by Conway Mayor Tab Townsell, who said that when he was elected mayor of Conway, Hays had already been North Little Rock’s mayor for 10 years, describing him as a "mentor" during his early years in office.