The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

"January 30-31, Delta Grassroots Caucus Conference to Feature Gov. Mike Beebe and Forums for Presidential Candidates"

Posted on September 14, 2007 at 01:54 PM

Gov. Mike Beebe, nonpartisan participation from the major Presidential campaigns, and grassroots leaders from across the region will be featured at the January 30-31, 2008 Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. Please save those dates.

Gov. Beebe set a great example for the other governors and national leaders by working effectively with the legislature in passing a major expansion of education funding for Arkansas. He was one of the main speakers at our conferences in 2006 and 2007, and we will be delighted to have him back again in 2008.

The Delta Grassroots Caucus is nonpartisan and will not make an endorsement of any Presidential candidate, and both parties and all candidates will be treated fairly. We do want to promote national attention to the needs of the eight-state, 240-county region from New Orleans to southern Illinois, and we will ask the Presidential campaigns to state what they would do to promote economic development in this huge region if elected President.

We have invited and plan to include either the candidates or spokespersons of the major campaigns, with one forum for Republican candidates including Gov. Mike Huckabee (AR), Sen. Fred Thompson (TN), Mayor Rudy Giuliani NY), Gov. Mitt Romney, (Mass.), and Sen. John McCain (AZ). We plan to include either the candidates or spokespersons for the Democratic campaigns in a separate forum including Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM), Sen. Barack Obama (IL), and Sen. John Edwards (NC). All speakers will be asked to state in positive terms what their plans are for the Delta, and no partisan comments will be allowed.

We don’t have enough time to include the smaller campaigns that obviously do not have any real chance of becoming President, and just as a matter of reality most of the minor candidates will no longer be in the race by Jan. 30-31, 2008, which is right after the first group of primaries but about a week before the primaries in early February that will include six states in the Delta Regional Authority area: Arkansas, Illinois, Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee on Feb. 5, and Louisiana on Feb. 9.

Other speakers on several panels during the two-day conference (in addition to Gov. Beebe and the Presidential contenders) will include:

  • President Les Wyatt, Arkansas State University
  • Joe Belden, Associate Director of the Housing Assistance Council based in Washington, DC, who will talk about housing issues;
  • Minnie Bommer, Chair, Rural West Tennessee African American Affairs Council RWT/AAC); rural west Tennessee partner for the Grassroots Delta Caucus; formerly board member of the Lower Mississippi Delta Center; Covington, Tennessee;
  • Rex Nelson, Alternate Federal Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Authority;
  • Dr. Martha Ellen Black, Executive Director of Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center in East Prairie, Missouri, and the Missouri coordinator for the Delta Grassroots Caucus;
  • Larry Williams, director of the Delta Citizens Alliance, based in Greenville, Mississippi;
  • Clifton Avant of Entergy, Baton Rouge, Louisiana;
  • Mayor Brad Cole of Carbondale, Illinois;
  • President Vivian Presley of Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale, Mississippi;
  • Patrick Powell, Director, Innovation and Commercialization Center, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky;
  • Tiffany Hardrick, Principal and Founder, Miller McCoy Academy for Mathematics and Business, New Orleans, Louisiana;
  • Mayor Bobby Hardrick, Madison, Arkansas.

We are just in the earliest stages of planning the agenda and will send more specifics about the various panels as we get closer to the time of the conference.

The opening session will be Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the main session will be at the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008 from 9 a.m. to about 3:45 p.m.

This conference will be on a Wednesday and a Thursday, as opposed to the Thursday-Friday timing in previous years. Hopefully this will lead to a larger crowd at the last session on Thursday afternoon.

The main sessions have been quite crowded the last two or three years, and our space is limited. We have to do this on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve a place, please send your registration fee check of $85, made out to “Delta Grassroots Caucus,” with a note “For 2008 conference,” and mail the check to:

Delta Grassroots Caucus

(Attention: Lee Powell)

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

If the registration fee works a financial hardship on any individual or organization, please contact me and we will see what we can do to adjust it. We know there are many people and organizations in the Delta with very limited budgets.

We would like to thank organizations who have already made contributions at the sponsorship level in the last several weeks of more than $200.

We would also like to thank our lead sponsor in recent years, Nucor Yamato Steel and Nucor Steel of Arkansas, our major cosponsors, the Housing Assistance Council, Heifer International, Entergy, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship state organizations in the Delta and their headquarters based in Atlanta, Georgia, and G.A. Wildman of Alabama.

Thanks very much and we look forward to an excellent conference on Jan. 30-31, 2008.

Lee Powell Executive Director (202) 360-6347