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.

Registration Deadline is Jan. 29, 2009 for Delta Conference on Feb. 5-6, 2009

Posted on January 14, 2009 at 01:49 PM

We will have Gov. Mike Beebe, Congressman Mike Ross, the Hon. Rodney Slater, Dean Skip Rutherford of the Clinton School of Public Service, nationally recognized FEMA expert Kay Goss, as well as many grassroots leaders from across the region at the annual Delta Grassroots Caucus conference, Feb. 5-6, 2009 at the Clinton Presidential Center. Sen. Mark Pryor indicated he will speak on Feb. 6, unless required to be in Washington for votes in the Senate that day–with the economic crisis there will be an unusually heavy schedule of votes. The conference will focus on economic recovery initiatives in the Delta in the current economic crisis. President Bill Clinton has been invited to address the conference by audio at the luncheon on Feb. 6, and he certainly did a great job in his presentation to us last year.

The opening session is Thursday evening, Feb. 5, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Clinton School of Public Service, with Congressman Mike Ross, Dean Skip Rutherford, other opening speakers and then a panel of grassroots leaders. The main session is Friday, Feb. 6, at the Clinton Library’s Great Hall, 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., with Gov. Mike Beebe scheduled at 11 a.m., the Hon. Rodney Slater, FEMA expert Kay Goss (who is advising President-Elect Obama’s transition on how to reform FEMA after the debacles of Hurricane Katrina, the Dumas tornado and other inept relief efforts), Sen. Pryor (unless Senate votes prevent it), and several panels of grassroots leaders.

Lisa Ferrell, a long-time personal friend and Harvard Law School colleague of Barack Obama, Mayor Brad Cole of Carbondale, Illinois, another colleague of Obama who knew him when he was in the state legislature in Illinois many years ago, will speak about the new administration from the vantage point of people who have known Obama for many years.

We have 122 RSVPs and growing and the deadline for sending in your registration fees is Jan. 29, 2009. You are registered when we receive the $85 early registration fee. We have had issues with people either indicating they will come and not showing up, or coming but not paying any registration fee, which has caused problems for our planning and finances, because the rental space costs and amount of food we buy are based on how many RSVPs we have. We will have a list of registered participants at the front desk.

Space is getting tight and if we do not have the registration fee by Jan. 29, 2009, then if the space runs out you might not be able to get in or there might only be standing room. If you pay at the door, the early registration fee level of $85 will go up to $115. It is not that we want the extra $30, but there just needs to be an incentive for people to get the registration fees in on time. We will buy food strictly based on what registration fees we have in hand by the deadline.

Please make out the $85 early registration fee to “Delta Grassroots Caucus,” with a notation, “For 2009 fees” and mail the check to:

Delta Grassroots Caucus

(Attention: Lee Powell)

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

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 29, 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:

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

–Beverly Robertson, President of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis;

–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 Scheib, 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.

–Michael Dougan, Professor Emeritus at Arkansas State University, expert on rural health care and a variety of other issues regarding the Arkansas Delta;

–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;

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

–Regina Wilkerson, a graduate student from the Clinton School of Public Service who is doing a public service project in the Delta;

–Scott Curran, Clinton Foundation’s activities in the Delta;

–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;

–Lance George, a housing expert from the national Housing Assistance Council, Washington, DC; on housing issues have been so important in the national economic recession.

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