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 June 3-5 Delta events in Washington, DC--Deadline is May 12

Posted on May 06, 2008 at 01:45 PM

THIS IS THE LAST WEEK TO RSVP for the annual Delta Grassroots Caucus in Washington, DC, June 3-5–the group hotel deadline is May 12, Monday, close of business. We will have 11 Members of Congress, national executive branch officials, leaders from all eight states, and spokespersons from the Presidential campaigns: Rep. Marion Berry (AR) will speak for Sen. Hillary Clinton, Rep. Artur Davis (AL) will speak for Sen. Barack Obama, and Rep. Chip Pickering will speak for Sen. John McCain.

We have 105 participants at this point and the numbers continue to increase. Please RSVP to Lee Powell at or by phone at (202) 360-6347.

We are glad to have participation from Sen. Thad Cochran and Rep. Chip Pickering (MS), Sen. Mary Landrieu, Rep. Rodney Alexander, and Rep. Charles Melancon (LA), Rep. John Tanner (TN), Rep. Artur Davis (AL), and Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and Congressmen Marion Berry and Mike Ross (AR). We are glad so many Members of Congress wanted to speak to the Delta delegation and we are delighted to have their attention in urging them to do more for our region’s economic development.

FINAL SESSION ON TRANSPORTATION AND USDA ISSUES–THURSDAY, JUNE 5, 8:30 A.M. TO 1 P.M., IS VERY IMPORTANT. This session will feature national leaders of US Dept. of Transportation and USDA, and other experts on these issues, and will take place at the USDA national headquarters South Building, in the meeting room adjacent to the cafeteria. We will have a luncheon there to end our group sessions at 1 p.m. on Thursday.

June 5–Transportation issues–I-69, Great River Bridge, Delta Development Highway System and multi-modal network: The final session on Thursday morning will begin with a panel on transportation issues, including the DRA Delta Development Highway System, completion of Interstate 69 and the Great River Bridge, as well as the DRA’s multi-modal plan. We will have US Dept. of Transportation Deputy Assistant Secretary Joel Szabat, the Hon. Rodney Slater, former US Secretary of Transportation, Bill Triplett of the DRA, Johnnie Bolin of the Arkansas Good Roads Transportation Council, and other transportation experts.

USDA issues: After the transportation session we will have a panel on rural development, agriculture, alternative energy, nutrition and telemedicine, featuring Dale Moore, Chief of Staff to Secretary Ed Schafer of USDA, Roberto Salazar, Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service, and Jim Fitzgerald, Chief of Staff of USDA Rural Development, along with grassroots speakers from the Delta.

THURSDAY LUNCHEON AT USDA–After the USDA panels our group sessions will conclude with a luncheon at the USDA cafeteria meeting room at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 5.

INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS ON CAPITOL HILL, EARLY THURSDAY AFTERNOON: We encourage people to schedule additional appointments with their Congressional offices early Thursday afternoon to have one on one meetings with them, in addition to the group sessions. You can check out of your hotel in the morning and store your luggage there, then come back and pick it up to get a flight back home in the mid to late afternoon on June 5.

OPENING SESSION–TUESDAY EVENING, JUNE 3, 5 TO 8 P.M.–The opening session will start Tuesday evening, June 3, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Room B-338 Rayburn House of Representatives Building, and that session will feature Rep. Melancon, Rep. Alexander, and Rep. Tanner, Bill Bynum, Enterprise Corporation of the Delta, Hope Community Credit Union, and Janis Kearney, author of Conversations: William Jefferson Clinton–From Hope to Harlem, and a former White House aide.

PRESIDENTIAL FORUM–WEDNESDAY MORNING, 8:30 A.M. TO 11:40 A.M. ,–To be held at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill, right behind the US Supreme Court, 212 East Capitol. Rep. Artur Davis (AL) will speak for Obama from 9 to 9:30 a.m., Rep. Chip Pickering (MS) will speak for McCain from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and Rep. Marion Berry will speak for Hillary Clinton from 11 to 11:30 a.m. In between the Presidential spokespersons we will also have grassroots speakers.

We will not endorse any candidate but want to press all of them to devote more attention to the Delta’s economic issues and take a stand on what they would do as President for the vast region extending from southern Illinois to New Orleans, Louisiana.

We will especially emphasize asking Representatives Berry, Davis and Pickering to address what their candidate would do to revive the economy in the Delta. Additionally we want to hear from them about what they would do to reform FEMA, in light of that agency’s inept responses to Hurricane Katrina and other fllooding, storms and disasters in our region in recent years.

SENATE SESSION, WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON, 1 P.M. TO 4:15 P.M.–To be held at Room 385 Senate Russell Building. We will have Congressman Mike Ross (AR), President Randy Dunn of Murray State University in western Kentucky, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (AR), sen. Mary Landrieu (LA), Sen. Mark Pryor (AR), Sen. Thad Cochran (MS), and Rex Nelson of the DRA.

TRANSPORTATION AND USDA ISSUES SESSION, THURSDAY MORNING THROUGH LUNCH, 8:30 A.M. TO 1 P.M. As discussed above, this very important session will be at USDA South Building, meeting room adjacent to the cafteria.


Please note that the deadline for the group hotel is May 12, close of business. If you call after that date you will definitely NOT get the reduced group rate and probably all the space in the hotel (Radisson at Reagan National Airport) will be gone.

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.

BASIC SCHEDULE: Tuesday evening, June 3, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.: 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. Please get a flight that arrives in Washington in the early afternoon so that you can be there at the start of the opening session at 5 p.m. Many people find it convenient that the group hotel is close to Reagan National Airport.

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, 1:15 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, in the meeting room adjacent to the cafeteria


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.

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, reforms of FEMA and disaster relief issues after the hurricanes, flooding and tornado damage that has devastated our region in recent years, 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.

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