Pat Hays, Election Commissioner, Chair
Commissioner Hays began serving on the Commission on January 10, 2015. On February 2, 2015, she was elected Commission Chair. Pat is a Missouri native, but she has lived in Little Rock since 1982. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri. She has a Bachelor’s degree in education and mass communication. In December 1989, she graduated with honors from the William Bowen School of Law at UALR. She has been licensed to practice law since 1990. Pat has worked as an attorney at Rose Law Firm, at the City of Little Rock City Attorney’s Office, and she has been in house counsel at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and at Vestcom International, Inc. In 2001, Governor Mike Huckabee appointed Pat to an interim judgeship as Pulaski County Municipal Judge. Gov. Huckabee also appointed Pat twice to serve as Special Associate Justice to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Pat served as General Counsel to the Arkansas Republican Party from 2003-2007. In 2004, she co-chaired Lawyers for Bush in Arkansas. She is also a former member of the Little Rock Civil Service Commission. In 2014, Pat ran unsuccessfully for state representative in District 32. Pat is married to Joe Hays, managing partner of Diamond State Ventures. They have two sons who are teenagers. They are members of Fellowship Bible Church.
Bilenda Harris-Ritter, Commissioner
Commissioner Harris-Ritter is an attorney admitted to practice in Arkansas and California. She began serving on the Commission February 3, 2016. Her father was a career army officer, she was born when her parents were stationed at Ft. Knox, Kentucky and she grew up living many different places. She is a graduate of the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California where she majored in Journalism. She has a Doctorate in Jurisprudence from Southwestern University School of Law and did additional post-graduate training on Mediation at the Strauss Institute at the Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California.
Bilenda practiced law in California for 20 years before returning to Arkansas. She was Certified by the California State Bar as a specialist in workers compensation law, served as a judge pro-tem at the Workers Compensation Appeals Board in Stockton, California, and was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve first as Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) and then as a Commissioner on the California State Board of Parole Hearings.
She also worked with the National Crime Victim's Law Institute at Lewis and Clark University School of Law by directing one of its twelve legal clinics providing pro bono legal representation to crime victims and their families. She has served on the National Board of Trustees of the Parents of Murdered Children (POMC) and the National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA).
Bilenda served as Deputy General Counsel for the Republican Party of Arkansas (RPA). She is the former Chapter Leader of the Arkansas Chapter of Republican National Lawyers (RNLA) and served as a panelist at the Election Law Seminar in New York City in 2015. She has traveled throughout the state to provide poll watcher training and has served as a poll watcher in six counties in Arkansas. She has been a poll worker counting absentee ballots in Pulaski County. She has been an observer in recount elections in three states, including Arkansas, and has testified before the legislature and the State Board of Election Commissioners.
Bilenda and her husband, George Ritter established a law practice, Ritter Law in Maumelle. Bilenda left that practice January 2015 to serve as an Assistant Attorney General . She is now an attorney in the Arkansas Department of Education.
Leonard A. Boyle, Sr., Commissioner
Commissioner Boyle began serving on the board February 1, 2013. Mr. Boyle graduated from Parkview High School in Little Rock May 31, 1978. Upon graduation, Leonard enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he served for almost 9 years, has three children and two grandchildren. He acquired his disability on February 13, 1992, as a result of Lower Lumbar Puncture. He quickly became an advocate for people with disabilities after experiencing numerous forms of discrimination and the presentation of various obstacles and barriers. In 1998, Leonard became President of the Arkansas Chapter of ADAPT (American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today). After meeting and discussing the inner workings of the ADAPT direction and advocacy techniques, he also became the Political Action Chair for the Little Rock Chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). During this time, Leonard enrolled in Pulaski Technical College with the help of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, and graduated in December 2001. He then enrolled in the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a major in Political Science, and performed Internships in the office of U.S. Congressman Vic Snyder, worked extensively in the campaign of Congressman Snyder and Governor Mike Beebe, and as a Docent at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion.
Leonard has since entered the Little Rock Marathon four times and placed second in the hand-crank category all four times, became a public speaker for people with disabilities, been honored as the 2008 Pulaski Technical College Alumni of the Year. Leonard is now working to co-author a book with Sidney “Super Sid” Moncrief, and numerous other projects. He is now the Executive Director of the Arkansas Governor’s Commission on People with Disabilities.