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.

Mayor Marshall of Sikeston, Missouri--model letter in advocating for DRA budget

Posted on July 18, 2008 at 02:49 PM

Mayor Michael Marshall of Sikeston, Missouri sent a great letter to his US Senators–Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) urging them to support in the full Senate the recent action of the Senate Appropriations Committee in increasing the budget of the Delta Regional Authority to $20 million in the energy and water bill. This letter is a superb model of exactly the kind of communications that are effective in persuading our Congressional representatives to do much more for economic development in the Delta region.

Mayor Marshall did a great job speaking at our conference in Arkansas in January, 2008, and we are proud to have him on the Delta Grassroots Caucus team. His letter is written from the standpoint of a southeast Missouri Delta leader, but the basic issues are fundamentally similar all across the region.

We would encourage people to send out letters like this to their Senators. As well, you can communicate to your Members from the House of Representatives and encourage them to support in Congress’ final action in this matter the Senate figure of $20 million rather than the much lower House figure of $6 million. Every year since 2005 the full Congress has gone all the way to the Senate figure in conference and we must work for and expect a similar result this time around.

There will be a delay until at least after the election in final Congressional action. There also may be a continuing resolution that would temporarily keep the funding at its current level of approximately $12 million. But at some point the Congress will take final action on this, and we look forward to a major increase up to $20 million.

Those of you who have restrictions on direct lobbying should of course just make informational comments, and we know people are careful about lobbying if they do have restrictions in this area.

Excellent letters like those of Mayor Marshall will greatly help us achieve this important step for our region’s economic development. It would be great if you could use this basic message, tailor it to your local situation in your part of the Delta, and communicate it to your Senators and Representatives. Thanks very much.–Lee Riley Powell, MDGC (202) 360-6347

(Copy of Mayor Marshall’s letter is below.)

Mayor of Sikeston Missouri, Michael Marshall’s letter to US Senators Bond and McCaskill from Missouri

July 16, 2008

Dear Senator:

I am writing to you as both the Mayor of Sikeston and as a member of the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority. In the coming weeks the Senate will be considering legislation that will appropriate funding for the Delta Regional Authority. In my role as both an elected and appointed official, I have had the opportunity to work closely with the Delta Regional Authority and have seen the positive impact it has made to Southeast Missouri and the Bootheel. I hope we can count on your support in the passage of this legislation.

As you know the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is a federal-state partnership that promotes economic development in eight states and 252 counties and parishes from Southeast Missouri to New Orleans. In its first six years, DRA has leveraged $56 million in funds to obtain $278 million in orhte federal monies and $1.2 billion in private funds. From this investment DRA has helped create/retain more than 32,000 jobs while providing drinking water and sewer services to almost 25,000 families. Additionally, more than 6,500 Delta residents have received job training out of this investment. More than 93% of DRA’s funding has gone to economically distressed counties within the Delta Region.

The legislation before you will increase the Delta Regional Authority’s funding from $12 million to $20 million. I ask that you support this measure, and provide DRA with the means to continue its much needed assistance to economically distressed counties of our region.


Michael G. Marshall Mayor, City of Sikeston, Missouri