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.

Numbers Are Growing for Sept. 15-16 Delta Initiative--Please Register & Make Plans

Posted on July 17, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Our numbers are increasing for the Sept. 15-16, 2009 Delta initiative in Washington, DC, so please send in your registration fees and make travel arrangements–you will of course get a lower plane fare if you buy the tickets well in advance. We expect a very good conference in our first opportunity to have a dialogue with Obama administration officials and the new Congress, and we could have space problems for some sessions and this will have to be done on a first-come, first served basis.

As always we expect strong participation from the Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois and the remainder of the eight-state area Congressional delegation. We especially are getting a strong turnout from southern Illinois, where many of our participants are old friends and colleagues of President Obama such as Congressman Jerry Costello, President Glenn Poshard of Southern Illinois University, Mayor Brad Cole of Carbondale, President Larry Peterson of Shawnee Community College, representatives of the Southern Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone, and many others. We already have 15 participants from southern Illinois alone. We also expect to have about 20 participants from the southeast Arkansas area led by Kenny Gober of McGehee, Desha County Judge Mark McElroy and others from that area. Those are only two local areas of the region where we are getting a strong turnout. We have many others from all over the eight states who have also confirmed their participation.

We have shortened the conference from three days to two days this year to reduce the travel costs, because we know many people are suffering financially from the recession. You would only need to pay for one hotel night.

Some people are staying on for Thursday morning, Sept. 17, to do additional advocacy work for the Delta on Capitol Hill or USDA or elsewhere in Washington, DC, and if you can afford to do so, that is great.


OPENING SESSION: Tuesday evening, September 15, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. B-339 Rayburn US House of Representatives building.

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.

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

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

GROUP HOTEL: 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.

We also have a group of rooms available for Wednesday, Sept. 16, for those who plan to stay over and do some additional advocacy work on Capitol Hill or the administration on Thursday morning, Sept. 17.

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.

TRAVEL AGENCY–Travel Consultants International, Blytheville, Arkansas:

Most people make their own travel plans, but if you need a travel agent, we highly recommend Travel Consultants International, an excellent agency based in Blytheville, Arkansas, led by Becky Hawkins. Phone is 1-800-764-7660 and her email is If you do not want to stay at the group hotel and would like to look for another hotel for whatever reason, Becky Hawkins and staff can help you with that. They are also good at finding cheaper airfares for people. Based on previous experience we know Becky Hawkins and Travel Consultants International do a great job.

We are still working on specific times with the speakers, and most of the agenda has NOT been completed yet, although we will start with Congressman Jerry Costello, dean of the Illinois delegation and an influential figure with the Obama administration, and Congressman Mike Ross of Arkansas, who is a pivotal figure as leader of the Blue Dog Democrats will begin the conference at the opening session at Room B-339 Rayburn House of Representatives building, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009. There will be many other speakers at that session as well as the sessions all day the next day, including many other Members of Congress, Obama administration officials and grassroots leaders from across the region.

Other speakers who are either invited or confirmed include Congressman Marion Berry (AR), Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor (AR), Sen. Thad Cochran, Rep. Bennie Thompson, and Rep. Travis Childers (MS), Rep. Rodney Alexander, Rep. Charles Melancon and Rep. Mary Landrieu (LA), Rep. Artur Davis (AL), Rep. Jo Ann Emerson and Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO), Rep. John Tanner (TN), Sen. Richard Durbin (IL), and Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY).

We are inviting First Lady Michelle Obama to speak on nutrition issues, which are always huge in the Delta, and are also inviting US DOT, USDA and other Obama administration officials.

Grassroots leaders on the agenda include President Glenn Poshard, Southern Illinois University; Mayor Brad Cole, Carbondale, Illinois, President Larry Peterson, Shawnee Community College of Illinois, Southern Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone officials;

Mike Marshall, banker and regional leader from Sikeston, Missouri;

a representative from Enterprise Corporation of the Delta, based in Jackson, MS and serving Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi; Steve Onufrak, a USDA nutrition and anti-obesity expert based in Stoneville, Mississippi;

Buddy Spillers, president of the Macon Ridge Community Development Corp. in Ferriday, Louisiana; Dr. LaDonna Ford, Medical Director of the LSU Medical Center in Monroe, Louisiana; Rev. Dwight Webster, pastor of Christian Unity Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana;

Charita Johnson Burgess of the Shiloh Distribution Center in western Tennessee;

Kenny Gober, Director of the McGehee–Lake Village Housing Authority, Johnnie Bolin, director of the Arkansas Good Roads Transportation Council; Mayor Carl Redus of Pine Bluff, Arkansas;

and Robert Dansby of the Edgenics company, a national corporation that works on expanding broadband access throughout America but is particularly active in the Delta.

Thanks so much and please send in your registration fees and make your travel arrangements as soon as possible. Lee Powell, MDGC (202) 360-6347