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.

Update on Revised Schedule for Sept. 15-16 Delta Initiative in Washington, DC

Posted on June 29, 2009 at 10:31 AM

To be sensitive to continuing financial strains caused by the recession, the Delta Grassroots Caucus board of directors decided to make an adjustment in this year’s conference to shorten it somewhat, in order to reduce the travel costs for participants. We will cut out the final session at USDA, so that only one hotel night will be required and other travel costs will be reduced. So it will be a day and a half, starting Tuesday, Sept. 15, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., on Capitol Hill, continuing with morning and afternoon sessions on Wednesday, Sept. 16 from 8:30 a.m. to about 4:15 p.m.

The point of this conference is to have a dialogue with administration officials of the Obama administration as well as Members of Congress about how to bring about economic recovery in the Delta. The conference is part of our ongoing dialogue with the national powers that be that we conduct by email and over the phone all the time, but sometimes there is no substitute for meeting people face to face.

This is our first opportunity to meet with the new Obama administration officials and encourage them to do more for the Delta and rural America, so please join us. We are supportive of the President and want to give his administration constructive criticism as well as encouragement in these tough economic times.


OPENING SESSION: Tuesday evening, September 15, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. B-339 Rayburn US House of Representatives building. (Speakers to be announced–there will be discussion time)

WEDNESDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 16: Room 385 US Senate Russell Building, 8:30 a.m. to noon

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON, SEPTEMBER 16: 1:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.–location TBA. We would advise you to stay for this session, because some of the most important speakers will be there. Details will be forthcoming soon.

You can check out of the hotel in the morning, leave your bags at the hotel, and then come back and pick them up to take a flight back home early that evening.

We always have Members of Congress speak and we are working on that now. There will have to be fewer speakers than usual because of the somewhat condensed schedule. We will update speakers and specifics as soon as we finalize them.


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

The registration fees are essential for the costs of the conference.


The Radisson Hotel at Reagan National Airport is the group hotel. We have a group rate of $229 for the night of Tuesday, September 15. 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. For those not familiar with Washington, DC hotel costs, the rate cited above is much lower than most that are close to 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.

If you prefer to stay at another hotel, that is perfectly fine. There are no meetings at the hotel.

KEY OPPORTUNITY FOR DIALOGUE WITH OBAMA ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL OFFICIALS ON THE ECONOMIC RECOVERY: While President Obama himself and some of his closest aides in Illinois know about the Delta, his administration has representatives in the federal agencies from all over the country, many of whom do not know much about the Delta–this is an excellent opportunity to inform them. It should be not just a regional but a national priority to promote economic development over this vast region in the heart of America.

You will only have one hotel night to pay for. You can check out in the morning of September 16, leave your luggage at the hotel, and then come back to take your flight back home in the late afternoon or early evening.

Last year we had many Members of Congress join us. This year we will need to have fewer speakers overall, but include a number of Obama administration officials, in keeping with the new era. We are working on the agenda now.

There will be speakers, panels and opportunities for discussion and give and take throughout the conference. We are confirming the speakers now and will send that information along when it is finalized.


SUBJECT MATTER FOR EACH SESSION OF COURSE WILL BE DEVELOPED AND SENT OUT AS WE FINALIZE IT. WE ARE WORKING ON THAT RIGHT NOW. The registration fees are essential for the costs of the conference and there are no exceptions for them.

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, and other transportation improvements.

With the economic stimulus, important nutrition legislation, the highway bill and other important legislation coming up this year, this is a historic opportunity to make progress for our region. We have had many excellent southern Illinois participants for many years now and look forward to an even greater leadership role from your region in this new era.

NOTE: I may not be able to get back to people as rapidly as I normally do over the next couple of months, because both of my parents are experiencing health crises. I will have to spend substantial amounts of time attending to them in Arkansas. My mother has required a lengthy hospitalization and my father has fallen four times recently, requiring some hospitalization. We all have to go through this and family comes first, of course. They were able to attend the last conference in February but that was the last time they can do so. Many of you know my father, James O. Powell, who was editor of the old progressive Arkansas Gazette from 1959 to 1987. I do not have any relatives in Arkansas who can assist me with my parents’ problems, so there may be delays in my responding to questions about the conference.

We will send in more details about the agenda as we finalize the speakers. We hope you can participate on September 15-16, 2009.

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