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.

Please RSVP for Feb. 5-6, 2009 Delta Conference at Clinton Presidential Center

Posted on December 12, 2008 at 04:43 PM

Please RSVP by sending in your registration fees and replying to this email for the annual Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus annual conference at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2006 and Friday, Feb. 6, 2009. Speakers will include Gov. Mike Beebe of Arkansas, representatives of the new administration of President-Elect Barack Obama, bipartisan leaders from both parties, and grassroots leaders from across the region.

The opening session will be from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday evening Feb. 5, 2009 at the Clinton School of Public Service, and we greatly appreciate the participation of Dean James “Skip” Rutherford of the Clinton School. The main session will be at the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Library, Friday, Feb. 6, 2009, 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

We will keep you posted as we continue to make progress on the agenda. We plan for Gov. Mike Beebe to be one of the two main speakers at the luncheon at the Great Hall of the Clinton Library on Friday, Feb. 6, 2009. The Hon. Rodney Slater has confirmed his participation at some point on the program. We will have leaders from both parties participating at this crucial time for the future of our region’s economy.

**PLEASE RSVP BY SENDING IN THE $85 REGISTRATION FEE–we have space limitations and if the space runs out we will have to allocate it on a first come, first served basis. Please make out the check to “Delta Grassroots Caucus,” with a note “For 2009 fees,” and mail it to:**

Delta Grassroots Caucus

(Attention: Lee Powell)

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

Of course we had some partners who supported Obama and some who supported Sen. John McCain and both are welcome at our conference. We will have colleagues and new national executive branch officials from what will by February, 2009 be President Barack Obama’s administration. We have already received a confirmation from Lisa Ferrell, a distinguished attorney from Arkansas who was a colleague of Obama’s at Harvard Law School and has known him personally for many years, spoke on his behalf at our conference last time, and was a prominent supporter of Obama during the campaign. Both parties will need to come together in the new administration and Congress to deal with our economic troubles in the Delta and nationally.

We are inviting prominent Republicans such as Sen. Thad Cochran, Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) and others, and we are glad to have Mayor Sheldon Day of Thomasville, Alabama as a co-host for the conference. Mayor Day was prominently involved in the McCain campaign and is the Alabama coordinator for the Delta Caucus, and he has a strong reputation for working with both parties and promoting economic development in the region.

The conference will focus on jump-starting the economy at this time of distress in the region and nationally, with job creation, renewable energy expansion to cut gas prices, expanding educational opportunities, housing issues and rebuilding our transportation and other infrastructure being among the key issues. Progress on the Interstate 69 Corridor and the rest of the regional transportation network will be especially important in 2009 during the debate over the highway bill.

Please note that we will have a new policy that the registration fee of $85 will have to be received by January 29, 2009. For those who wait beyond that date or try to pay at the door, please be advised that there is limited seating and if you do not pay ahead of time there may not be space for you. If there is space, you will pay $115 if you pay at the door.

The Clinton School of Public Service will be the site for the opening session, because the Clinton School has had many of its graduate students engage in public service projects in the Delta, and that school is turning out many graduates who will be future leaders in the Delta. We will invite Dean Skip Rutherford to speak at the opening session. We appreciate Dean Rutherford’s leadership at the Clinton School and his strong interest in the Delta.

We have made progress in lining up a strong agenda of grassroots leaders from across the region. Today we received word that Mayor Heather Hudson of Greenville, Mississippi will participate. Mayor Hudson is a very dynamic young leader for the region and we are delighted to have her.

Mayor Barrett Harrison of Blytheville, Arkansas and State Representative Tommy Baker of Osceola, Arkansas will be speakers and we greatly appreciate them. Mississippi County, Arkansas is one of the most important counties in the heart of the Delta, and there are many important economic development initiatives going on there. Representative Baker is a veteran leader for our region and has done a great job for the Delta for many years. Mayor Harrison is on our executive committee and is a stalwart advocate not just for his city but for the whole region.

We always like to promote good books about the Delta. We will have Mary Gay Shipley of That Bookstore in Blytheville, Arkansas, bring a selection of books about the Delta to display on tables during both days of the event. That Bookstore has received great publicity as one of the best bookstores in the region and we are pleased to give them this recognition. We will also have one or two other authors or publishers there as well with books about the Delta region.

We would like to express our thanks to our key financial sponsors over the years, starting with our lead sponsor Nucor Yamato Steel and Nucor Steel of Arkansas; Entergy; the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship; the City of Carbondale, Illinois; the national Housing Assistance Council in Washington, DC; Heifer International; the Inspire Hope Institute and many others.

The group hotel is the Comfort Inn Downtown at the Clinton Library. The group rate for the night of Feb. 5 is $79, which is a good rate for downtown Little Rock. Please call the hotel at (501) 687-7700 before January 12, 2009 and say you are with the Delta Caucus to get the group rate.

People would only need to stay that one night, Thursday, Feb. 5, because they can check out in the morning and store their luggage and come back and pick it up in the afternoon.

We will put out a full agenda when we have finalized it. We will have several panels and other speakers, and this is the basic line-up:

–Mayor Thelma Collins, Itta Bena, Mississippi, dynamic mayor of a community in the heart of the Delta that is finding ways to deal with the current economic crisis;

–Constance Alexander, Murray State University in western Kentucky, a writer who has done a lot of work on health care issues for underserved people in the Delta;

–Johnnie Bolin, executive director of the Arkansas Good Roads Transportation Council, on I-69 and the Delta Development Highway System, especially with the highway bill coming up;

–Mayor Brad Cole of Carbondale, Illinois, who is one of our stalwart regional leaders and has known President-Elect Obama for many years in Illinois;

–Elizabeth Wiedower, Rural Heritage Development Initiative, with activities across east Arkansas;

–Bob Cole, East Arkansas Enterprise Community, a long-time expert on rural development and other Delta regional issues;

–Jan Paschal, director of Every Child Is Ours foundation, former high-level US Department of Education official in the Clinton administration;

–A graduate student speaker from the Clinton School of Public Service and a Clinton Foundation speaker, Scott Curran–both the Clinton School and Clinton Foundation have ongoing activities in the Delta that we would like to hear about;

–Larry Williams, director of the Delta Citizens Alliance, an important, relatively new regional organization based in Greenville, Mississippi,

–Speaker Robbie Wills of the Arkansas House of Representatives, who has a particularly strong interest in initiatives to help areas with inadequate access to health care;

–Minnie Bommer, rural development expert and veteran Delta regional advocate from Covington in the west Tennessee Delta;

–Tiffany Hardrick, principal of a charter school in New Orleans in a neighborhood devastated by Hurricane Katrina that is now rebuilding and educating predominantly African Americans to focus on math and small business skills–her work was recently featured in the New York Times;

–Kay Goss, former Associate Director of FEMA in the Clinton admninistration, now senior principal at Systems Research and Applications Corp. in the Washington, DC area;

–Joe Belden, associate director, national Housing Assistance Council, Washington, DC, an expert on housing issues, which have been so important in the national economic recession;

–Alan Gumbel, President of Gumbel & Associates in Memphis, veteran advocate for the Delta on a broad range of issues, dating back to his important role for the Lower Mississippi Delta Development Commission.

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