The Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus (MDGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders throughout the eight-state Delta region, which stretches from southern Illinois down to New Orleans, Louisiana.

Please RSVP for Nov. 4-5 Economic Equality Coalition in Washington, DC

Posted on July 17, 2015 at 05:15 PM

Please RSVP and register as soon as possible for the national conference led by the Economic Equality Coalition, Nov. 4-5, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

We have limited spaces available and are partnering with several other similarly situated regions across the country, and spaces will have to be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis.

We will have to rely on those of you on this list to RSVP to this message and we will not be able to send out large numbers of individualized invitations as we have done in the past. The demand and interest levels for this event are much higher than usual.

Please reply to this email, leepowell@delta.comcastbiz.net or by phone at (202) 360-6347.

The Capitol Hill meeting rooms in the House and Senate seat over 100 people. The closing session is at the sanctuary of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill a block from the US Supreme Court will accommodate a considerably larger number, but our Delta colleagues will want to be there for all three sessions.

The Delta Grassroots Caucus has agreed to join forces with other major economically distressed regions like Appalachia, the Southwest Border, distressed areas in the Midwest, and inner cities like Baltimore, St. Louis/Ferguson, Missouri, and the local Washington, DC itself in a national summit led by the Economic Equality Coalition, on Nov. 4-5, 2015 in Washington, DC.

This collaborative approach is similar to the Clinton administration’s New Markets Initiative, which included Appalachia, the Delta, Southwest Border, Midwest, Native Americans, and economically distressed inner city neighborhoods, in the belief that it should be a national priority to eliminate the situation where these populations lag far behind the rest of America in opportunity and prosperity.

Key participants will be high-level speakers for the major Presidential campaigns from both parties, Members of Congress, and distinguished experts on vital issues related to economic equality, hunger, poverty and racial justice across the country.

The scope of this conference will be much broader-essentially national–than Delta regional events in the past, although the Delta Grassroots Caucus will be one of the key organizers. Leaders from the other regions agreed with the Delta Caucus that we can amplify our voices to the national powers that be by joining forces among those regions that have historically lagged far behind in America’s prosperity.

BASIC SCHEDULE ON NOV. 4-5:

Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015 opening session, 4:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., the Gold Room of the US House of Representatives Rayburn building.

Thursday morning, Nov. 5, 2015, 8:45 a.m. to noon, meeting on US Senate side of Capitol Hill.

Closing session, Thursday afternoon, Nov. 5, 2015, 1:15 p.m. to 4 p.m., sanctuary of the historic Lutheran Church of the Reformation, a block from the US Supreme Court.

REGISTRATION:

You register by sending in the registration fees. They are $100 each for individuals, although if you can organize a group of five or more to register together, we will give a group discount down to $75 each.

Please make out the check to “Delta Caucus” and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

GROUP HOTEL-OPTIONAL:

All attendees are responsible for arranging for their hotel and taxi or other transportation to the conference sessions.

Radisson at Reagan Airport is the group hotel: However, we do have a group hotel arrangement with the Radisson Hotel, Reagan National Airport, 2020 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, VA, 22202 for a group rate of $229, which by the admittedly expensive standards of hotels relatively close to Capitol Hill is a lower rate than most.

For those flying in to Reagan airport, it is a short taxi ride away.

This location is usually about a 15-minute drive to Capitol Hill although traffic patterns vary. There is a good restaurant there as well.

Please call the hotel at (703) 920-8600 and say you are with the Delta Caucus to get the reduced rate for Nov. 4, Wednesday.

There are also some rooms available for Thursday, Nov. 5.

If you prefer staying at another hotel, that is your choice. There are advantages to having a group of conference partners in the same place, and we have had good experiences at this location in earlier years.

We will see about getting some taxis to go to the group sessions.

This will be the first time in four years that the Delta Grassroots Caucus has participated in a major conference in Washington, DC.

We convened for our fall conference the last three years in Memphis, Tennessee, West Memphis and Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, to meet in those vital Delta communities, but also due to a widespread belief that with the sluggish economy and the partisan gridlock in Washington, DC, it just was not worthwhile to take an expensive, time-consuming trip to DC.

The situation is changing this year, first of all because the beginning of the Presidential election season has heightened interest in activism at the national level, because the next opportunity for major change in the Greater Delta Region will be with the next President and Congress, and we need to begin weighing in with them at the beginning of the electoral cycle.

We are also seeing a major resurgence of interest in issues related to economic inequality, hunger, poverty and racial justice, which is very important for our diverse group that includes many African Americans, Hispanics, women and people from all racial, gender and geographic backgrounds.

Moreover, while the Delta and the other distressed regions that will be highlighted at this conference have not participated equally in the recovery from the recession, we are seeing some improvement in many of our partners’ budgets, enabling somewhat more funding for traveling to an event on Capitol Hill.

We should also recognize that although admittedly the gridlock in DC is still a major problem, if we weigh in collectively with so many similarly situated populations across the country, we may get at least some constructive actions for economic development.

There are vital pending issues including opening up farm trade to Cuba, funding for highways and other infrastructure improvements, small business job creation, health care for underserved populations, equal pay for equal work for women and other women’s issues, SNAP, school meals and other funding for USDA nutrition programs, and affordable housing.

There are differing views about the Trans-Pacific trade agreement in our various organizations, but we are better off and are likely to get at least a somewhat better result if we actively weigh in with the powers that be. Many of our colleagues believe that the trade deal will increase jobs in some sectors of the economy.

A package of aid for dislocated workers thrown out of work by changes caused by international trade has been included as part of the package, and this has increased the level of support for the Trans-Pacific deal in our coalition.

We will also advocate for strong labor, environmental and intellectual property safeguards in the final version of the deal. If those are not included, we reserve the right to oppose the deal in its final version.

There are also many who believe that this deal is essential for the long term in our efforts to compete with China.

Focus has to be both rural and urban: While much of the worst poverty in America is in the small towns and rural areas and Appalachia, the Greater Delta Region, Southwest Border, parts of the Midwest and other similarly situated regions are a major part of America’s poverty, we must include the inner cities in this conference, and we will have participation from a number of major urban areas like New York City, Washington, DC, Baltimore, St. Louis/Ferguson, Missouri, Memphis and New Orleans.

The powers that be in Presidential campaigns, Members of Congress and national economic development organizations will not pay full attention to an event that is either entirely rural or entirely urban. Their scope has to be national. What helps the Delta in our nation’s economic policies will help similarly situated populations in Appalachia, Southwest Border, the Midwest.

Even in the Greater Delta Region, we have always viewed the impoverished neighborhoods in New Orleans, Memphis, Little Rock and our other urban areas as part and parcel of our mission area, although we know that the worst poverty continues to be in the many small towns and rural areas across the region of eight states and 10 million people. The focus has to be rural and urban, and while there are differences, populations suffering from economic inequality have many common issues and challenges.

Key participants and/or organizers thus far for the Economic Equality Coalition conference on Capitol Hill for Nov. 4-5, 2015 on Capitol Hill include:

•Lee Powell, steering committee for the Economic Equality Coalition and executive director, Delta Grassroots Caucus;

•Joel Berg, nationally recognized expert on hunger and poverty, Executive Director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger,;

•Moises Loza and the national Housing Assistance Council, headquarters in Washington, DC;

•Melissa Cloud, Program Director, Public Policy 4Kids, based in the Washington, DC area;

•Victor Vasquez, Presidential appointee at USDA for Presidents Clinton and Obama, now nonprofit leader in the Southwest Border region, which extends along the Rio Grande valley and beyond in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California;

•Wilson Golden, Principal, Golden & Associates, Presidential appointee at US DOT for Secretary Rodney Slater in the Clinton administration, former executive at the Xerox corporation in Washington, DC, a native of Mississippi now residing in Georgia;

•Barbara Leach of Iowa, Presidential appointee at USDA for Presidents Clinton and Obama at USDA, from Iowa and is knowledgeable about significant pockets of poverty in the Midwest;

•Janis Kearney, author of a biography of the famous civil rights leader Daisy Bates, author, founder of Writing Our World Press in Little Rock, Arkansas, former White House aide and diarist to President Clinton;

•Colleagues from the Appalachian region with whom we have worked for many years;

•Minnie Bommer, long-time Delta regional advocate from west Tennessee, first African American woman elected to the city council of Covington, Tennessee;

•Millie Atkins, manager of Century Link’s broadband access expansion in the Delta region, based in Monroe, Louisiana.

This will be the broadest scope of any conference we have participated in for many years. Again, we believe we will make a bigger impact by joining forces with other major populations across the country who have not thus far participated in prosperity and economic equality in America.

Delta Caucus Joins Nov. 4-5 Economic Equality Coalition event, Washington, DC

Posted on June 24, 2015 at 02:03 PM

The Delta Grassroots Caucus has agreed to join forces with other major economically distressed regions like Appalachia, the Southwest Border, distressed areas in the Midwest, and inner cities in a national summit led by the Economic Equality Coalition, on Nov. 4-5, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Key participants will be high-level speakers for the major Presidential campaigns from both parties, Members of Congress, and distinguished leaders on vital issues related to economic equality for working families across the country.

We have been working with many of our colleagues who have collaborated with us for many years on this event and have just now set the dates. These events require many months of advance planning so we have to start way ahead of time.

The scope of this conference will be much broader-essentially national–than Delta regional events in the past, although the Delta Grassroots Caucus will be one of the key organizers. Leaders from the other regions agreed with the Delta Caucus that we can amplify our voices to the national powers that be by joining forces among those regions that have historically lagged far behind in America’s prosperity.

SAVE THE DATES OF NOV. 4-5-This is an initial “save the dates” notification. The event is over four months away and we are sure everyone recognizes that many details will be finalized later on.

Space is limited so if you would like to be there please RSVP as soon as possible to leepowell@delta.comcastbiz.net or (202) 360-6347. Registration information is below in this message.

This will be the first time in four years that the Delta Grassroots Caucus has participated in a major conference in Washington, DC. We convened for our fall conference the last three years in Memphis, Tennessee, West Memphis and Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, to meet in those vital Delta communities, but also due to a widespread belief that with the sluggish economy and the partisan gridlock in Washington, DC, it just was not worthwhile to take an expensive, time-consuming trip to DC.

The situation is changing this year, first of all because the beginning of the Presidential election season has heightened interest in activism at the national level, because the next opportunity for major change in the Greater Delta Region will be with the next President and Congress, and we need to begin weighing in with them at the beginning of the electoral cycle.

Moreover, while the Delta and the other distressed regions that will be highlighted at this conference have not participated equally in the recovery from the recession, we are seeing some improvement in many of our partners’ budgets, enabling somewhat more funding for traveling to an event on Capitol Hill.

We should also recognize that although admittedly the gridlock in DC is still a major problem, if we weigh in collectively with so many similarly situated populations across the country, we may get at least some constructive actions for economic development. There are vital pending issues including opening up farm trade to Cuba, funding for highways and other infrastructure improvements, small business job creation, health care for underserved populations, equal pay for equal work for women and other women’s issues, SNAP, school meals and other funding for USDA nutrition programs, and affordable housing.

There are differing views about the Trans-Pacific trade agreement in our various organizations, but we are better off and are likely to get at least a somewhat better result if we actively weigh in with the powers that be. Many of our colleagues believe that the trade deal will increase jobs in some sectors of the economy, but a package of aid for dislocated workers thrown out of work by changes caused by international trade should be included as part of the package.

Focus has to be small towns, rural and urban: While much of the worst poverty in America is in the small towns and rural areas and Appalachia, the Greater Delta Region, Southwest Border, parts of the Midwest and other similarly situated regions are a major part of America’s poverty, we must include the inner cities in this conference, and we will have participation from a number of major urban areas like New York City, Washington, DC, Baltimore, St. Louis/Ferguson, Missouri, Memphis and New Orleans.

The powers that be in Presidential campaigns, Members of Congress and national economic development organizations will not pay full attention to an event that is either entirely rural or entirely urban. Their scope has to be national.

At the national level they will pay more attention to several similar populations representing a broad cross-section of America than to one region–they will often say that we have to have a national scope and cannot just focus on one region.

What helps the Delta in our nation’s economic policies will help similarly situated populations in Appalachia, Southwest Border, the Midwest.

Even in the Greater Delta Region, we have always viewed the impoverished neighborhoods in New Orleans, Memphis, Little Rock and our other urban areas as part and parcel of our mission area, although we know that the worst poverty continues to be in the many small towns and rural areas across the region of eight states and 10 million people. The focus has to be rural and urban, and while there are differences, populations suffering from economic inequality have many common issues and challenges.

None of these comments change the reality that the very worst poverty in America is in smaller towns of up to 50,000 population or smaller and rural areas. Those populations are scattered geographically and often have long distances to travel for jobs, training, health care and other basic amenities and assistance.

Collaborative, inclusive approach for all populations affectd most by economic inequality: The poor in rural areas also have often migrated to Chicago, New York, Memphis, St. Louis and other urban areas, so urban and rural poverty are inter-related. In may cases they found greater opportunity, in other cases they became part of the inner city impoverished neighborhoods. This is a national problem and we want to see this as a collaborative venture aganst economic inequality, without divisions among regions or urban vs. rural.

BASIC SCHEDULE:

Opening session: Wednesday evening, Nov. 4, at the Gold Room of the Rayburn US House of Representatives building, 4:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 5, session at one of the Senate meeting rooms (TBD-Senate meeting rooms are not reserved this far in advance), 8:45 a.m. to noon

Thursday, Nov. 5 closing session at location on Capitol Hill (TBD) from about 1:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Key participants and/or organizers thus far for the Economic Equality Coalition conference on Capitol Hill for Nov. 4-5, 2015 on Capitol Hill include:

Continue reading...

Summary & Examples of Media Reports on May 26-27 Delta Conference in AR

Posted on June 08, 2015 at 01:35 PM

The Delta Grassroots Caucus conference in Little Rock featured presentations by President Bill Clinton, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Sen. John Boozman, Rep. Rick Crawford, Rep. Bruce Westerman;

–former Gov. Mike Beebe speaking for Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign, Communications Director Alice Stewart for Gov. Mike Huckabee for President;

–nationally recognized hunger and poverty expert Joel Berg from New York, and distinguished leaders from across the Greater Delta Region.

This is an in-depth report, so people will look over the Table of Contents and pick and choose which articles or sections attract their interest and scroll down to read the sections they are most interested in.

Table Of Contents

  1. BRIEF HIGHLIGHTS OF KEY INITIATIVES THE DELTA CAUCUS SUPPORTS

  2. MEDIA REPORTS: “Bill Clinton: Energy, Broadband, Would Help Delta,” by Steve Brawner, Talk Business

  3. “Delta Caucus Hears from governor, Presidential campaigns,” by Dale Ellis, Arkansas News Bureau

  4. “Boozman Praises Cuba Deal, Hutchinson Touts Rural Services in Speeches,” by Steve Brawner, Talk Business

  5. “Economic Development in the Delta To Be Addressed,” by David Monteith, KUAR Arkansas Public Radio

  6. “Cong. Crawford: Highway Bill Just Needs Funding,” by Steve Brawner, Talk Business

  7. “Cong. Westerman: Rural America Creates Country’s Wealth, by Steve Brawner, Talk Business

  8. Agenda - Speakers and Sponsors

There were a total of 106 people who came to at least parts of the conference.

We would like to thank in particular our many speakers on women and children’s issues, civil rights and race relations and health care, including former Clinton Presidential appointees Kay Goss and Janis Kearney, Maida Coleman, Missouri Director of the Office of Community Engagement that handles civil rights issues like the one in Ferguson, Missouri, and President Terri Freeman of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis on Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy for social, racial and economic justice.

Fall conference in Washington, DC of the National Grassroots Economic Equality Coalition, to have a dialogue with Members of Congress, Presidential campaigns and other powers that be about promoting economic justice and equality in the USA.

The largest populations who have historically not participated fully in America’s prosperity will be the focus, including the Greater Delta Region, Appalachia, the Southwest Border from Texas to California, economically distressed areas in Iowa and the Midwest, inner cities such as Washington, DC, Baltimore and New York, and other major economically distressed groups. Gender, racial and ethnic and geographical diversity are essential.

These populations are not only the most economically distressed in America, but collectively they make up a significant part of the national population.

With the gridlock still being a major problem for holding a conference in Washington, DC, we need to broaden the focus to all the major distressed populations rather than just the Greater Delta Region by itself. National officials will pay more attention when the focus is perceived by them as broad and not just solely one region.

The agenda with all of the speakers and sponsors is at the end of this post.

Special session passed promising incentives for south Arkansas job creation: A number of our partners were unable to be there because they had to attend a special session of the Arkansas legislature called by Gov. Asa Hutchinson only days before the conference; but the subject matter included passage of financial incentives for a job creation project that could bring 500 jobs to our region. Delta Caucus Vice Chairman was a sponsor of the bill and it was supported by Gov. Hutchinson and House Speaker Jeremy Gillam, who represents part of the Delta in White County. We were glad to support the bill, which passed.

Summary: For most of the job of summarizing the conference, we would like to rely on several examples of media reports. We think it’s more interesting to hear what journalists had to say as opposed to having Delta Caucus partners describe our own conference.

There were eight television news reports, coverage by Arkansas public radio KUAR in Little Rock and KUAF in Fayetteville, four reports by Talk Business & Politics, and reports by the Arkansas News Bureau and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Six examples of some of the media reports are in this newsletter, sent exactly as they were published.

1.Key initiatives that a clear majority of Delta Grassroots Caucus supports to Congress, the national executive branch, governors and state legislators, and local leaders include:

–Support for expansion of health insurance coverage for lower-income Deltans, noting the major expansions in Arkansas, Illinois and other states;

–Full funding for the Small Business Administration, USDA programs, the Export and Import Bank, the south Arkansas job creation project in Camden, and other initiatives for creating jobs, especially for small businesses as the most dynamic engine for jobs;

–Support for the New Markets Tax Credit, renewable energy and broadband access as stated so eloquently by President Clinton (article from Talk Business summarizes his presentation;

–Full funding for SNAP, WIC, school meals and other nutrition programs, as well as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other major safety net programs addressing hunger, nutrition and poverty, especially for women, children and youths up to age 18 who suffer from poverty rates far above national averages in our region;

–Funding the federal highway bill, expansion of broadband access to permit Deltans to gain access to the information superhighway, and aid for home-ownership to repair our deteriorating infrastructure, promote sustainable economic development and create jobs;

–Opening up farm trade and other exports to Cuba to re-establish a formerly lucrative market for Delta rice, poultry and other products, and end the failed embargo that has done nothing to undermine the Castro regime-after 50 years of failure, it’s time for a change;

–Civil rights/racial and economic justice for all: Opposition to legislation restricting people’s right to vote, ending excessive sentences for non-violent crimes that amount to “mass incarceration,” more training for police to avoid profiling of African Americans and other minorities; and support for restricting police use of military equipment that promotes excessive use of force against demonstrators;

–Support for Delta heritage tourism, such as civil rights, Civil War, natural resources, and blues and jazz legacy, and support for the Delta Queen bill to get her traveling on the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers again.

Civil rights leaders: We were glad to have a presentation on race relations issues in Ferguson, Missouri from Maida Coleman, an African American leader who is the Missouri Director of the Office of Community Engagement who works on situations like those in Ferguson for Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.

We heard a dynamic presentation from President Terri Freeman of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis about the nonviolent philosophy for social, racial and economic justice and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Janis Kearney: Police profiling, sadly, can happen to anyone: We heard from author, publisher and former senior White House aide Janis Kearney on related subjects regarding civil rights, including a terrible episode of police racial profiling that she and her husband, Bob Nash, endured when they were both senior White House aides in the Clinton administration.

They were held in handcuffs, police brandished shotguns, they were not told why they had been stopped for a lengthy period, and they were stopped only because they are African Americans. There had been an African American suspect in a car-jacking in that area, but Mr. Nash did not resemble the description of the suspect.

They were only released after Bob Nash presented his credentials as White House Director of Presidential Personnel.

Joel Berg, nationally recognized hunger and poverty expert from New York was one of our main speakers on May 27 at the Clinton Library Great Hall: Joel Berg is one of the most astute and effective experts on hunger and poverty in America today. He is executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger and a former Presidential appointee at USDA headquarters in Washington, DC, and author of the best book on hunger in America: All You Can Eat: How Hungry Is America?

Joel Berg recently wrote a tremendously insightful article about hunger across the globe for the Huffington Post: “It’s About Power, Not Food: The True Causes of World Hunger,” May 27, 2015. In that article that can be found on the Huffington Post website, he points out that “In the U.S, our leaders also generally prioritize wealth creation for the richest, over-feeding our populace.

While the severity of the hunger in the U.S. is generally far less than in India, U.S. hunger is far worse than in any Western industrialized country, and fully 49 million Americans live in food insecure homes, unable to afford an adequate supply of food. Yet in 2013, the U.S. exported $144 billion worth of food, equaling $2,938 worth of food for every American struggling against hunger.”

Berg wrote that between 2002 and 2013, the combined net worth of the Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans rose by 30% percent, while food insecurity rose by 34%. He cited the following disturbing data about economic inequality: “The net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans, according to Forbes, now tops two trillion dollars, which is more than four times the amount of the entire U.S. budget deficit. That’s right, 400 people have four times as much money as the entire federal shortfall for a nation of 314 million people.”

Kay Goss, former Associate Director of FEMA, nationally recognized emergency relief services expert, author and educator led a group of distinguished women professionals at the conference in calling attention to the need for state, regional and federal powers that be to do more to reduce the alarmingly high levels of poverty for women and children, the need for equal pay for equal work for women, and other key issues involving full participation for women and girls in our society and economy.

We are always glad to hear from Ms. Maggie Steed/Ms. Betty Dobson from Paducah, Kentucky who portrays the founder of the historic Hotel Metropolitan, which hosted Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, civil rights leaders, and Ike and Tina Turner in the era of Jim Crow in the western Kentucky Delta-one among many examples of the power of Delta heritage tourism to generate tourism dollars in our region while educating the people about the Delta’s great legacy.

This hotel was founded over a century ago by Maggie Steed, and it is a historic site managed by Betty Dobson today, director of the nonprofit Upper Town Heritage Foundation.

The agenda is at the end of this newsletter and includes the speakers and sponsors.

Media reports

2.”Bill Clinton: Energy, Broadband Would Help Delta”

PUBLISHED BY TALK BUSINESS & POLITICS

By Steve Brawner

May 27th, 2015

BRAWNERSTEVE@MAC.COM

Former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that alternative and more efficient energy, New Markets Tax Credit loans, and more broadband access would help areas along the Mississippi Delta enjoy more economic growth.

Continue reading...

Delta Caucus Starts May 26 4 p.m. at AR Capitol Rotunda, then May 27 at Clinton Library

Posted on May 25, 2015 at 02:29 PM

The Delta Grassroots Caucus conference on economic equality for working families, women and children’s issues and civil rights starts at 4 p.m. at the Rotunda of the Arkansas State Capitol, Tuesday, May 26, and continues on Wednesday, May 27 at the Clinton Library from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Please arrive promptly at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Capitol Rotunda, when the program starts.

Please take note that rush hour traffic has become much more congested in Little Rock, and it starts getting crowded at 4:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. and later, so if you get caught in the rush hour logjam you will be sitting in traffic while major speakers like Gov. Asa Hutchinson starts at 5 p.m., then US Sen. John Boozman at 5:30.

Then we have former Gov. Mike Beebe at 6 p.m. speaking for Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign and then Alice Stewart, Communications Director for Mike Huckabee for President at 6:30 p.m.

For those staying at the Holiday Inn Presidential, (phone is (501) 375-2100, you will need to leave at 3:45 or close to it to get there in plenty of time.** Traffic should be okay at that time. It takes a few minutes to go through the Capitol entrance take the elevator to the second floor Rotunda.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks at the Rotunda at 5 p.m. on the special session job creation project, and separately, health insurance, followed by Speaker Jeremy Gillam and US Sen. Boozman at 5:30, then the Presidential campaign speakers from 6 to 7 p.m.

Please note that the Rotunda is a minor room change from the earlier room noted, which was just down the hallway on the same floor. A legislative committee decided to use that room and they have the authority to bump all other organizations at any time they choose. The Rotunda is a historic, spacious setting.

There is great interest in our group in the two Presidential contenders who have strong ties to Arkansas and the Delta: former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Secretary Hillary Clinton, who are on the program from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m at the opening.

This is the first time that Gov. Mike Beebe has served as a surrogate speaker for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and we are glad to have Gov. Huckabee’s communications director, Alice Stewart, speaking on behslf of the Huckabee campaign.

On both days of the conference we will have many distinguished women leaders like Kay Goss, President Clinton’s FEMA Associate Director, author and educator, Janis Kearney, White House aide for President Clinton, author and publisher and many others.

For further questions, call our staffer for this event, Bonita Hobbs at (870) 821-1756 or Rep. Mark McElroy at (870) 222-8217.

For those whose flights are arriving late in the afternoon: All attendees at the Delta Caucus conference will be permitted to enter after 5 p.m., because Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Speaker of the Arkansas House Jeremy Gillam, State Rep. Mark McElroy, US Sen. Boozman, former Gov. Mike Beebe, and a senior official of former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s campaign will be there.

Due to the Governor’s participation and other high-level officials, the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office informed us that if you inform security that you are going to our event, they will allow you to enter the Capitol, which is normally closed to the public after 5 p.m.

The program starts shortly after 4 p.m. with Delta Caucus senior officials, Kay Goss and distinguished women speakers, so again we urge all our partners to get there at 4 p.m. if at all possible, unless you are flying in and you arrive late in the afternoon.

HIGHLIGHTS OF TUESDAY CAPITOL ROTUNDA SESSION:

1) Opening on Tuesday afternoon: At 5 p.m. Gov. Asa Hutchinson on the south Arkansas job creation project and Arkansas’ health insurance coverage expansion program, Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillam leaders on women and children’s issues, US Sen. John Boozman on pending legislation for job creation and highway funding, Kay Goss and other distinguished women leaders.

2) Presidential campaign speakers, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at opening: former Gov. Mike Beebe speaking for Hillary Clinton’s campaign from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Alice Stewart, Communications Director for Mike Huckabee for President.

HIGHLIGHTS OF WEDNESDAY CLINTON LIBRARY SESSION:

1) Wednesday, Clinton Library session: 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.–First morning panel with experts on gender and racial equality and justice, and later, Congressman Bruce Westerman at 10 a.m.

2) 10:20 to 11:30 a.m.: At 11 a.m. President Bill Clinton speaks by live call-in on economic equality, his work in supporting better nutrition for children, and civil rights/diversity.

Presentation from the nationally recognized hunger and poverty expert Joel Berg at 10:20 a.m., former Presidential appointee in the Clinton administration at USDA headquarters in Washington, DC, now executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.

3) We will have additional health insurance coverage experts from 11:30 a.m. to noon

4) Luncheon on economic progress and civil rights/race relations:

Congressman Rick Crawford will speak on pending federal legislation on job creation and economic growth such as opening farm trade to Cuba, the Trans-Pacific trade deal, highway funding.

Then we have Maida Coleman, Director of the Missouri Office of Community Engagement who works on improving race relations in Ferguson, Missouri for Gov. Jay Nixon;

President Terri Lynn Freeman of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his philosophy of non-violent solutions to social, racial and economic justice.

5) Big picture panel on best practices in regional community and economic development, with leaders from Southern Bancorp, Heifer International, the national Housing Assistance Council, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, former Clinton administration appointee at US DOT during Secretary Rodney Slater’s tenure, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, and the western Kentucky Minority Economic Development Initiative.

This event is bipartisan and the Delta Grassroots Caucus will not make an endorsement of any candiates.

We can still accommodate a limited number of people who learned of the conference late who can bring their registration fee checks to the front desk at the time of the conference. Registration, rough draft of an agenda, schedule and group hotel information are below in this email.

We have had several last-minute changes in the speaking schedule for reasons beyond our control

Health insurance coverage expansion in Arkansas and across the region: We will have Arkansas Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillam, Arkansas Hospital Association Director Bo Ryall, Rich Huddleston of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, CEO Natalie Burke of the Mississippi Common Health Action, and Shiloh Dietz, women and children’s health care in Illinois, from Southern Illinois University’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Agenda: Below in this message we provide the latest rough draft of an agenda, although we need to emphasize that some of the speakers always have to make last-minute changes for reasons beyond our control, and then of course we have to change other parts of the schedule. So the speaking times will change many times between now and the May 26-27 Delta conference.

TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS NEWSLETTER

  1. Basic Schedule

  2. Late Registration

  3. Agenda

1. BASIC SCHEDULE

The opening session is on Tuesday, May 26 at the Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda from 4 p.m. to approximately 7:45 p.m.

Then on Wednesday, May 27 we meet for most of the day at the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Library, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

2. LATE REGISTRATION:

For those who only recently learned of this event or did not know about the May 1 early registration deadline, we will still ask only for the early registration fee of $125 (or $100 for those who have paid their annual dues for 2015) rather than the higher late fees of $150, which we request to provide an incentive to get the fees in on time. For those who are working on a group to register, we offer a discount to $75 each.

For those who notified us that they were definitely coming to the event by email at leepowell@delta.comcastbiz.net or phone at 202-360-6347 and are in the process of mailing the fees in now, we will also only ask for the early registration fee level of $125. Otherwise, late fees are $150 each.

3. AGENDA

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Hillary Clinton & Mike Huckabee Presidential Campaign Speakers Added to May 26-27 Delta Event

Posted on May 19, 2015 at 04:39 PM

Former Gov. Mike Beebe will speak on behalf of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign and Alice Stewart, Communications Director, Mike Huckabee for President, will speak at the Tuesday evening, May 26 opening session of the May 26-27 Delta Grassroots Caucus conference at the Arkansas State Capitol in the Rotunda.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson will speak from 5 p.m. to 5:20 p.m. about the proposed project to bring 500 jobs to south Arkansas that is the subject of the special session of the Arkansas legislature, as well as Arkansas’ health insurance expansion program.

Latest draft of the agenda is below in this post, although some speakers may have last-minute changes for reasons beyond our control.

Former Gov. Huckabee of Arkansas, is a Presidential contender for the Republican nomination, and Secretary Clinton of course practiced law and served as Arkansas’ First Lady for many years and is a Democratic contender. So in our coalition there is great interest in these two candidates who have deep ties to the Greater Delta Region.

The opening session as a whole is Tuesday evening, 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda.

Former Gov. Mike Beebe of Arkansas speaks from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and then Gov. Huckabee’s spokesperson, Alice Stewart, speaks from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

We will ask the two campaigns what their candidates would do to improve the economy in our eight-state region if elected President. Key themes will be economic equality for working families, women and children’s issues due to the alarmingly high poverty rates for those populations in our region, education, health care and civil rights/diversity.

Moderators are Delta Caucus Director Lee Powell and Rex Nelson, President, Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities.

This session is bipartisan and the Delta Grassroots Caucus will not make an endorsement.

President Bill Clinton has confirmed that he will speak at 11 a.m. on Wednesday May 27 at the Delta Grassroots Caucus conference in Little Rock by live call-in. President Clinton’s live presentations have been superb over the years and he always provides great ideas about promoting a brighter future for our eight-state region from southern Illinois and Missouri to the Gulf Coast and east to Selma and the Alabama Black Belt.

We can still accommodate a limited number of people who learned of the conference late who can bring their registration fee checks to the front desk at the time of the conference. Registration, rough draft of an agenda, schedule and group hotel information are below in this email.

We have had several last-minute changes in the speaking schedule for reasons beyond our control

The key themes are economic equality for working families, women and children’s issues, and civil rights in the aftermath of Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, and similar situations across the country.

Speakers:

We have confirmations from US Sen. John Boozman, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, US Rep. Rick Crawford, US Rep. Bruce Westerman, nationally recognized hunger and nutrition expert Joel Berg, former White House aide and author Janis Kearney, former Associate Director of FEMA and author Kay Goss, President Terri Lynn Freeman of the National Civil Rights Museum, and many other distinguished speakers from all eight states of the region.

Missouri speaker regarding the Ferguson, Missouri situation: Civil rights and diversity are crucial for our group, and with the recent tragic shootings of young African Americans and demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, Baltimore, New York and elsewhere, now moreso than ever. We are glad to have an African American woman leader from Missouri, Maida Coleman, who is Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s Director of the Office of Community Engagement, which works on improving race relations and other community intiatives in Ferguson, Missouri and across the state.

Health insurance coverage expansion in Arkansas and across the region: We will have Arkansas Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillam, Arkansas Hospital Association Director Bo Ryall, Rich Huddleston of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, CEO Natalie Burke of the Mississippi Common Health Action, and Shiloh Dietz, women and children’s health care in Illinois, from Southern Illinois University’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Latest rough draft of an agenda: Below in this message we provide the latest rough draft of an agenda, although we need to emphasize that some of the speakers always have to make last-minute changes for reasons beyond our control, and then of course we have to change other parts of the schedule. So the speaking times will change many times between now and the May 26-27 Delta conference.

TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS NEWSLETTER

  1. Basic Schedule
  2. Rough draft of agenda
  3. Late Registration
  4. Group hotel

  5. BASIC SCHEDULE

The opening session is on Tuesday, May 26 at the Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda from 4 p.m. to approximately 7:45 p.m.

Then on Wednesday, May 27 we meet for most of the day at the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Library, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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