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 Delta Initiative in Washington, DC, Set for Sept. 15-17, 2009

Posted on May 26, 2009 at 11:26 AM

We will have high-level officials of President Obama’s administration, Members of Congress from the eight-state Delta, and grassroots leaders from across the region for our annual Delta Initiative in Washington, DC, to be held on September 15, 16, and 17, 2009. We are already getting in a substantial number of registrations and we will have to organize it on a first-come, first-served basis if we run into space limitations. Please RSVP by replying to this email and sending in the $85 registration fees–you register by sending in the fees. Registration and group hotel information are included below in this message.

The Sept. 15-17, 2009 Delta Initiative will be our first opportunity to have a public dialogue with President Obama’s high-level appointees. As always we will have many Members of Congress from the region as well as grassroots leaders. This is the earliest we have ever had this many registrations start to come in. In the past the opening session has been very crowded and it appears it may be even moreso this year.

All the areas of the region are important and we would like to get a good turnout from all the major geographical areas. We would like to give a special thanks to the contingents from southeast Arkansas, southeast Missouri, Laymon Jones of the Inspire Hope Institute, and southern Illinois for already turning out substantial numbers of registrations and speakers. We appreciate this early support from Desha County Judge Mark McElroy, Kenny Gober, head of the McGehee and Lake Village housing authority, Mayor Jack May of McGehee and the McGehee Industrial Foundation and others in southeast Arkansas. In southern Illinois we already have strong participation from Southern Illinois University, Shawnee Community College, Mayor Brad Cole of Carbondale, and representatives of the Southern Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone.

We are very pleased that President Glenn Poshard of Southern Illinois University has already agreed to be one of our speakers. President Poshard not only is president of one of our region’s major universities, but he is a former Member of Congress and knows President Obama personally. We have always valued our southern Illinois colleagues, but as a practical matter they are even more influential nowadays since President Obama is from their state and many of them have longstanding personal relationships with him.

Mayor Brad Cole of Carbondale will take part, as always. He knew President Obama going back to his days in the state senate, and was one of the leaders of the Republicans for Obama when he first ran for the US Senate in that state. We are glad to have the participation of President Larry Peterson of Shawnee Community College, the Southern Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone (SIDEZ), and other southern Illinois leaders.

We always appreciate the stalwart support of Judge McElroy, Kenny Gober, Mayor May and others from southeast Arkansas. They are especially valuable in leading the support for completion of the Interstate 69 Corridor, the Great River Bridge in the context of this year’s highway bill, as well as renewable energy, job creation, agriculture, improved access to health care in underserved rural areas, and other key regional initiatives.

Martha Ellen Black of the Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center in southeast Missouri, and Mike Marshall of Sikeston, Missouri are already leading the way in getting a good Missouri turnout.

We would also like to give a special thank you to Congressman Marion Berry, whose staff has already secured good meeting space for the opening session, which will be on Tuesday evening, Sept. 15, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at B-339 Rayburn House of Representatives building.

We have the final day meeting reserved and we would like to thank USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack’s office for reserving Room 107A Whitten building of the national USDA headquarters for our final session on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 17, from about 8:30 to 12:30. We will have high-level USDA and DOT officials at that meeting.

We are still working on the meeting places for the session on Wednesday, Sept. 16, from about 8:45 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., which will be on the Senate side half of the day and possibly at the Old Executive Office Building, part of the White House complex, for the other half.

We are confident that President Obama will have nominated his choices for Federal Co-chair and Alternate Federal Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Authority before the conference starts on Sept. 15.

Of course you are welcome to stay at whatever hotel you like, because there are no meetings at the group hotel. We only arrange that because many people like to network at the same place, and the group hotel is relatively cheap by Washington, DC standards and relatively close to the meeting locations by DC standards.

GROUP HOTEL: The Radisson Hotel at Reagan National Airport is the group hotel. We have a group rate of $229 for the nights of Tuesday, September 15 and Wednesday, September 16. To get the group rate, call the Radisson at 703-920-8600 and say you are with the Delta Caucus.

Many people have felt this is a convenient location because it is near the airport and is a fairly short taxi ride away from Capitol Hill.

We will go over to the meetings from the hotel in groups of taxis as we have in previous years. This substantially reduces your cab fare if you go in groups of three or four and is the fastest way to get around in DC.

REGISTRATION: You register by sending in the registration fee. Please make out the $85 registration fee to “Delta Grassroots Caucus,” with a notation “For DC fees,” and mail to:

Delta Grassroots Caucus

(Attention: Lee Powell)

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

CONTINUING ADVOCACY AND COMMUNICATIONS EFFORTS BY EMAIL, WEBSITE, PHONE CALLS, CONVERSATIONS: Our program of informing the powers that be about economic conditions in the Delta and advocating for our region is a year-round effort, and over the next few months we will continue to disseminate information on key regional issues. We will have a wide range of key economic issues to work on, including the economic stimulus, improved access to health care in underserved areas, job creation, expansion of renewable energy, nutrition assistance that both helps those in need and stimulates the economy, rural development, housing programs in responding to the housing market crisis, and many infrastructure issues such as expanding the entire Delta Development Highway System, the Interstate 69 Corridor, the Great River Bridge, and other transportation improvements.

With the economic stimulus and the highway bill coming up this year, this is a historic opportunity to make progress on I-69 and the whole Delta Development Highway System.

We will send in more details about the agenda as we finalize the speakers. We hope you can participate on September 15-17, 2009.

Thanks so much–Lee Powell, MDGC (202) 360-6347