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.

Agenda for Jan. 30-31 Delta conference; we have 187 RSVPs

Posted on January 24, 2008 at 06:57 PM

We have 187 RSVPs for the Jan. 30-31, 2008 Delta Grassroots Caucus annual conference in Little Rock, Arkansas. We will have Gov. Mike Beebe of Arkansas, several of the key Presidential campaigns, the Hon. Rodney Slater, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, panels on economic development, job creation and education. There is still a small amount of space left if you would like to RSVP now, and we usually get some late RSVPs.

The opening session is 4:45 to 8:15 p.m. at the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Jan. 30, and the main session is 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31 at the Great Hall of the Clinton Library.

OPENING SESSION–The opening session on Jan. 30, Wednesday, 4:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. at the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce will feature speakers from the national Housing Assistance Council, Heifer International, Nucor Yamato Steel, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, and then a panel of grassroots leaders on economic development led by Rex Nelson, Alternate Federal Co-chair of the Delta Regional Authority.

MAIN SESSION, STARTING WITH GOV. BEEBE–The main session will kick off at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31 at the Clinton Library with Gov. Mike Beebe speaking about his work in education, jobs, alternative energy, health care, tourism, and support for the Delta Regional Authority.

PRESIDENTIAL FORUM–Then from 9:45 a.m. to the luncheon we will have a nonpartisan, substantive forum for Presidential campaign spokespersons to state what their candidate would do to create a brighter economic future for the Delta if elected. We are fortunate to have spokespersons who know the key candidates personally in the cases of the three front-running candidates with direct ties to the Delta region: former First Lady of Arkansas Hillary Clinton, former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, and Sen. Barack Obama, who represents Illinois and thus the southern Illinois Delta, an integral part of the region. We have reserved time for a representative from Sen. John McCain for the first part of the luncheon.

As we discussed before, we will have representatives from several key Presidential campaigns. We discussed their impressive credentials in earlier communications. This week the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama designated Lisa Ferrell as their speaker. We will include some information about her now, as we did with the others:

LISA FERRELL–ARKANSAS SUPPORTER OF SEN. OBAMA–Lisa Ferrell is an Arkansas supporter of Sen. Obama, an attorney and former state representative who knew Sen. Obama when they were classmates at Harvard Law School. She earlier served as a legislative assistant for former US. Rep. Bill Alexander, who represented a large portion of the east Arkansas Delta.

Lisa Ferrell is a self-employed attorney and the Founder and President of the North Bluffs Development Corporation, where she works with urban planners, architects, engineers, contractors, and state and local officials to plan, finance, and construct large-scale, mixed use, environmentally sustainable real estate developments. Additionally, she is the host on Arkansas Educational Television Network of “Bringing U.S. Foreign Policy Home,” in which she focuses on the impact of international affairs on the lives of everyday Americans. She served three terms (the maximum permitted under term limits) as a State Representative in the Arkansas State House of Representatives.

Ms. Ferrell received her J. D. from Harvard Law School. She is a trustee of Smith College, president of the Board of Central Arkansas Library System and president of the Arkansas Committee on Foreign Relations, and is active with the Arkansas Women’s Leadership Forum.

LUNCHEON–At the luncheon, we plan to have a representative from Sen. John McCain, a speaker from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families to discuss federal budget issues that have a major impact on low-income working families in our region, and then Hon. Rodney Slater, former US Secretary of Transportation, who will give a big picture inspirational message on the future of our region.

The afternoon session will have two panels focusing on the twin key issues of jobs and education. Here is the agenda for the afternoon:


  1. President Les Wyatt, speaker and moderator, Arkansas State University
  2. President Randy J. Dunn, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky
  3. Bob Swenson, Southern Illinois University, Urban Design Studios in the Delta - New Orleans, Louisiana and Cairo, Illinois
  4. Tiffany Hardrick, Prinicipal of a new charter school in New Orleans, Louisiana serving low-income neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Katrina
  5. Mayor Bobby Hardrick, Madison, Arkansas
  6. Sanford Johnson, Graduate student at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, a native of Starkville, MS, graduate of Auburn University, taught at Helena’s KIPP school and after graduation plans to live in Clarksdale, MS where he taught with Teach for America.


  1. Patrick Powell, speaker and moderator, Murray State University, Director of Innovation and Commercialization, western Kentucky
  2. Obadiah Simmons, Grambling University, Louisiana, Associate Dean &Director, Division of Continuing Education &Special Programs
  3. Mayor Sheldon Day, Thomasville, Alabama
  4. Alan McVey, Arkansas State University Delta Center for Economic Development
  5. Christy LeGrand, Projects Coordinator, Missouri Research Corp.Southeast Missouri State University

OPENING SESSION, WEDNESDAY, JAN. 30, 4:45 TO 8:15 P.M. The opening session will feature presentations from:

–Joe Belden, associate director of the national Housing Assistance Council in Washington, DC on the housing crisis and its impact on the economy in the Delta;

–Attorney General Dustin McDaniel on several key issues regarding the future development of the Delta;

–Roger Jones of Heifer International on Heifer’s efforts to fight hunger and poverty in the region;

–Steve Southard and other Nucor Yamato Steel representatives on Nucor’s innovative activities in creating jobs while following environmentally beneficial policies.

Then we will have a panel on economic development led by Rex Nelson, Alternate Federal Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Authority, with panelists Mayor Mike Marshall of Sikeston in the Missouri Delta; Minnie Bommer, long-time community development expert and regional leader from Covington, TN in the west Tennessee Delta; Larry Williams of the Delta Citizens Alliance based in Greenville, Mississippi; Clifton Avant of Entergy; and Mayor Brad Cole of Carbondale, Illinois.

The space is running out and for the busiest parts of the conference it may be standing room only. 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) 311 Schoolwood Lane Little Rock, Arkansas 72207

Thanks very much–Lee Powell, MDGC (202) 360-6347

Through 2006, DRA has contributed $47,611,071 to 333 projects. This investment has leveraged $207,100,170 in other federal, state and local funds – a 4.35 to 1 ratio.

Private funds invested in these projects total $480,612,796 – a ratio of 10.09 to 1.

Total leveraged investment of $687,712,966 – an incredible ratio of 14.44 to 1.

176 projects have been completed with 3,488 jobs created, 4,008 jobs retained, 6,219 families receiving improved water and sewer and 2,584 people trained for jobs.

We have 157 projects active with projected outcomes of 9,180 families who will receive improved water and sewer services, 5,135 jobs created, 5,825 jobs retained and 883 people receiving job training.

JAN PASCHAL a former classroom teacher for twenty years, former Secretary’s Regional Representative for the United States Department of Education for the six New England States and currently serve as president of EVERY CHILD IS OURS

Jeremy Hutchinson Former state representative and assistant minority leader, attorney, son of US Sen. Tim Hutchinson and nephew of former US Rep. Asa Hutchinson and Undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security