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.

Arkansas and Southern Illinois Media Coverage of Delta Grassroots Caucus

Posted on October 16, 2009 at 01:54 PM

We would like to convey copies of media coverage regarding the Delta Grassroots Caucus by the Arkansas News Bureau, a news service that is published widely throughout Arkansas, and The Southern newspaper of Carbondale, Illinois.

The Arkansas news bureau article by Rob Moritz focused on Mayor Carl Redus of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and the Arkansas Congressional delegation, while the Carbondale, Illinois paper article by Caleb Hale focused on Congressman Jerry Costello, President Glenn Poshard of Southern Illinois University, Mayor Brad Cole of Carbondale, President Larry Peterson of Shawnee Community College in southern Illinois, Woody Thorne of Southern Illinois Healthcare, Executive Director Donna Raynalds and representatives from the Southernmost Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone. The articles are copied exactly as they were published.

We received media coverage all over the region and previously distributed articles from the New Orleans Times Picayune, Jackson (MS) Clarion Ledger, and Memphis Commercial Appeal. Media coverage not only helps inform the public about Delta regional issues, but also influences the powers that be regarding the regional issues. There were three articles on the Delta conference in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, two of which were on health care and one on the DRA.

There were many other articles published in Arkansas and throughout the region. These articles are sent because we thought you might find them especially informative. The Arkansas news bureau article is immediately below and the Southern Illinois article follows it in the “continue reading” section. Thanks very much. Lee Powell, MDGC

PB mayor makes pitch for federal funds in Washington

Posted on 17 September 2009 By Rob Moritz Arkansas News Bureau

LITTLE ROCK — Pine Bluff Mayor Carl Redus, in Washington, D.C., attending a Mississippi Delta conference on health care, said today he also made a pitch to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for grant funds and other appropriations for his city.

Redus said he met with Assistant HUD Secretary Mercedes Marquez and presented Pine Bluff’s approach to a quality of life strategy that ties together housing, transportation and environmental needs and economic development.

“What we’re trying to do is target some federal funding for communities such as Pine Bluff to make it more sustainable and help us deal with mixed use development, both retail and affordable housing, and transportation, so we can have a sustainable future growth initiative,” Redus said.

The mayor is expected to return Friday from the Delta Grassroots Conference, which began Tuesday.

Redus and other Arkansas Delta officials were among 100 representatives from 252 Delta counties and parishes in eight states who heard from members of Congress and administration officials on health care reform efforts and other topics.

U.S. Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, both D-Ark., and Rep. Mike Ross, D-Prescott, were among the presenters. All three have said they support overhauling the nation’s health care delivery system but neither has embraced President Obama’s call for including a public option in the fix.

Redus and Delta Caucus director Lee Powell said they expected a lively debate, particularly because Ross is leader of House conservatives known as the Blue Dog Democrats who successfully delayed action on health care reform this summer. The South Arkansas congressman has flatly rejected a public option.

They said they were surprised when Caya Lewis, director of outreach and health policy at the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Health Reform, agreed with Ross on many other aspects of health care reform.

Redus said he was optimistic that Congress will pass some form of health reform by the end of the year.

“I think the Blue Dogs understand that a lot of the rhetoric that is going on there is just what it is, rhetoric, and I think the president understands that everything that maybe some Democrats or liberals were looking to put into (health care reform) won’t get in there this time,” he said.

“But, I think everybody is on the same page that some type of health care reform needs to be brought forth, and I agree with that whole heartedly,” the mayor said.

Among other Arkansas Delta attending the conference were Desha County Judge Mark McElroy; Ann Cash of McGehee, a member of the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission; McGhee Housing Authority Director Kenny Gover; Michael Jones of the Dumas Chamber of Commerce; and Ken Shea of the Dumas Industrial Development Board.

The Southern (Carbondale, Illinois newspaper)

Southern Illinois leaders to participate in Mississippi Delta legislative conference

CALEB HALE, The Southern | Posted: Monday, September 14, 2009 12:00 am |

Southern Illinois leaders take center stage on issues of health care and economic recovery starting Tuesday during the annual meeting of the Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus in Washington, D.C.

Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard and Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole are among the local officials participating Tuesday and Wednesday in the yearly legislative session with U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, and other delta lawmakers. Shawnee Community College President Larry Peterson, Woody Thorne of Southern Illinois Healthcare and Donna Raynalds of the Southernmost Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone are also set to attend the discussion focusing health care reform and economic recovery for Mississippi Delta region from Southern Illinois to New Orleans.

This year’s discussion is particularly pertinent to the national dialogue, because the delta region’s problems are also the problems faced by the rest of the United States, said Cole, who will be speaking on the topic of health insurance and the cost to business and local governments Tuesday evening in the U.S. House.

“I would say for decades the delta has been in recession, and now the rest of the country is catching up to it,” Cole said. “That is bringing a lot more attention that allows us to address these bigger issues. If these issues weren’t affecting big cities and other metropolitan areas, we wouldn’t be able to have the conversations we’ve been having.”

Cole, who is running for lieutenant governor as a Republican in 2010, said he won’t advocate any specific health care reform package currently being discussed in Congress.

Poshard will be addressing the role education plays in economic development for the delta region.

Caucus members will have the opportunity to discuss issues with members of President Barack Obama’s administration, including his director of outreach and health policy in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Office of Health Reform. They’ll also be calling on the administration to appoint the federal co-chair and alternate co-chair seats of the Delta Regional Authority.

“We are now nine months into the Obama administration, and these key appointments need to be made as soon as possible, because President Obama needs his own appointees to head the important work on economic development and health care work of the DRA,” said Lee Powell, caucus director.

Posted in Breaking on Monday, September 14, 2009 12:00 am