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.

Feb. 5-6, 2009 Delta Conference RSVP Count Rises to 94 Participants and Growing

Posted on December 29, 2008 at 03:13 PM

The RSVP count for the Feb. 5-6, 2009 Delta conference at the Clinton Presidential Center is up to 94 people. We will have key participants with strong ties to the new Obama administration and the new Congress, as well as many grassroots leaders from across the region, and that is increasing the interest. If this trend continues our problem will be finding space for all the people who want to come.

At this rate the count will go over 100 fairly soon, and at that point it starts getting very crowded. If we do run into space problems we will have to give space based on a first come-first served basis. Most of the people on this email have already sent in their registration fee, but if you have not done so you may wish to do that very soon. The way you get registered is to send in the registration fee.

PLEASE RSVP BY SENDING IN THE $85 REGISTRATION FEE–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

This should be a historic opportunity to make progress on our key issues like job creation in the distressed Delta, transportation and infrastructure improvements such as Interstate 69 Corridor, the Great River Bridge and the entire Delta Development Highway System, expansion of renewable energy, increases in the Delta Regional Authority budget, better health care for underserved areas in the Delta, rural housing and other aid for people with housing issues, expanded educational opportunity, and other key issues for the community and economic development of the eight-state region from southern Illinois and Missouri down to New Orleans, Louisiana.

We would like to think our major sponsors over the past several years, including Nucor Yamato Steel and Nucor Steel of Arkansas, Entergy Corp., the national Housing Assistance Council in Washington, DC, the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, the Inspire Hope Institute chaired by Laymon Jones, the Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center in southeast Missouri, the city of Carbondale, Illinois, Heifer International, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship organizations in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and the Atlanta, Georgia headquarters. Just as importantly we would like to thank all the people who have contributed the registration fees and annual dues that are an essential part of our budget.

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, the Hon. Rodney Slater, 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 main speakers at the Great Hall of the Clinton Library on Friday, Feb. 6, 2009.

GROUP HOTEL: 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 22, 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 Sheldon Day of Thomasville, Alabama, who has been widely recognized for innovative economic development initiatives throughout the region, is the Delta Caucus coordinator for Alabama and a member of the executive committee and one of the hosts for this conference;

–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;

–Tom Scheid, executive director of YouthBuild at Louisiana Technical College in Bogalusa, Louisiana, a youth development program for promoting education and developing job placement;

–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.

–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.

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