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 Register for June 3-5, 2008 Delta Initiative in Washington, DC

Posted on April 08, 2008 at 01:23 PM

Please RSVP by sending in registrations and making your travel arrangements for the Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus annual initiative in Washington, DC, June 3-5, when we will have a dialogue with Members of Congress, Presidential campaign representatives, national executive branch officials and other national leaders about how to better promote economic development in the eight-state region from New Orleans to southern Illinois. We have 70 RSVPs now and the numbers are growing every day. For planning purposes we need to know how many people will be coming.

We already have speaking commitments from Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama, Senator Blanche Lincoln, Congressman Marion Berry and Congressman Mike Ross of Arkansas, officials of the Delta Regional Authority, President Randy Dunn of Murray State University in western Kentucky, Minnie Bommer of west Tennessee, leaders of the Southern Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone, speakers from Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Missisippi, the Hon. Rodney Slater, and other leaders for our region. In recent years Sen. Thad Cochran (MS), Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS), Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO), Rep. Rodney Alexander (LA), Rep. Charles Melancon (LA), Sen. Mary Landrieu (LA), Sen. Mark Pryor (AR), Rep. John Tanner (TN), Rep. Jerry Costello (IL), have participated and we will invite them again this year.

Please RSVP by email to or (202) 360-6347 and sending in the registration fee check to the address listed below in this message.


Tuesday evening, June 3: The opening session begins on Tuesday evening, June 3, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the House of Representatives Room B-338 Rayburn Building.

Wednesday, June 4: Wednesday, June 4, morning session is from 8:30 a.m. to 11:40 a.m. at LUTHERAN CHURCH OF THE REFORMATION, 222 EAST CAPITOL STREET Parish Hall, on Capitol Hill directly behind the US Supreme Court building

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4, AFTERNOON SESSION, 1 P.M. TO 4 P.M. Senate Russell Office Building, Room 385

THURSDAY, JUNE 5, 8:30 a.m. to noon (final session): USDA National Headquarters, South Building Cafeteria, 1400 Independence Avenue SW

The Thursday morning session is the final group meeting. This is an important meeting that will focus on completion of I-69 Corridor and connectors and the rest of the Delta Development Highway System, the multi-modal transportation issues, rural housing and other rural development issues, agriculture and other USDA issues. We are holding it adjacent to the USDA cafeteria so that people can take a break for a cup of coffee or get something to eat and then just be a few steps away. We know many people may be a little tired by the final session, so we thought that location and the proximity of the food and coffee would be a plus.

KEY ISSUES: Among the key issues will be job creation and efforts to jump-start the economy, support for the New Markets Tax Credit, Empowerment Zones, Renewal Communities and other efforts to spur investment in low-income areas, completion of I-69 Corridor and connectors and other improvements to the region’s transportation system, expansion of alternative energy, support for the Delta Regional Authority budget, along with such “big picture” issues as improved health care, housing and education and other development initiatives.

TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS: If you need assistance with your airfare, the travel agent for this year’s Delta initiative in Washington is Becky Hawkins of Travel Consultants International in Blytheville, Arkansas. You can reach her at (870) 762-2800 or Becky Hawkins is an excellent travel agent and has done a great job for many years.

We will have representatives from the remaining Presidential campaigns speak about what they plan to do for the Delta if they are elevated to the White House, and we will probably know who both parties’ nominees are by early June. This will be a nonpartisan forum to press them to pay more attention to Delta regional issues and we will not endorse any candidate.

REGISTRATION: The early registration fee is $85 until May 22. To register, just make out the $85 check to “Delta Grassroots Caucus,” with a note “For DC 2008,” and mail to:

Delta Grassroots Caucus

(Attention: Lee Powell)

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

After May 22, the early registration fee of $85 ends and the fee will be $100 after that day. It makes it difficult for our planning if we always have large numbers of registrations that are brought to the front desk or even paid after the conference. We need to know ahead of time how many people will be coming in order to plan the conference. It also creates a bottleneck and can cause delays when so many people give their registration checks at the front desk at the time of the conference.

While the budget has been slowly improving, it also causes cash flow issues if the registrations and other contributions come in right at the time of the conference. Payment for labor, food, and other miscellaneous costs have to be paid ahead of the conference. We always find a way to deal with this type of situation if necessary but it would be better to have the funds come in on a more even and regular basis rather than having the great majority of contributions–both registration and sponsorship contributions–come in either at the time of the Arkansas and Washington, DC conferences or right after the conference.

We do not want the extra $15–we just need the funds to come in on a more regular and even basis. There is not much difference between $85 and $100 in any event, and it is a routine policy for many conferences to have an early registration fee and then a somewhat higher one, to give some incentive for people to send in the fees earlier. If there is any reason that someone cannot make the payment by May 22 but can make it right after that day, we can consider keeping their fee at $85. When the costs of coming to DC are at least $700 and probably a good bit more, the registration fee is a relatively small part of the cost, but it is an absolutely crucial part of our budget. Right now we have only received four registration fees, even though we have 70 people who have said they are coming to the DC conference.

GROUP HOTEL: The group hotel is the Radisson at Reagan National Airport. To get the reduced group rate of $209 a night for the nights of June 3 and June 4, call the Radisson at (703) 920-8600 and say you are with the Delta Caucus.

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS: If you have any questions or comments about the June 3-5 Delta Initiative in Washington, DC please contact Desha County Judge Mark McElroy at (870) 877-2426, or Dr. Martha Ellen Black, executive director of the Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center in southeast Missouri and a key member of the Delta Caucus executive committee, at (573) 649-3731, or Lee Powell at (202) 360-6347, or see the website at

Please RSVP so that we can know who will be attending. Thanks very much. Lee Powell, MDGC (202) 360-6347