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.

Members of Congress, Gov. Beebe, Dr. Aaron Shirley Set for April 1-2 Delta Event

Posted on March 25, 2010 at 01:32 PM

Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Rep. John Boozman, and Lt. Gov Bill Halter–the three leading candidates in the hotly contested US Senate race in Arkansas–and Governor Mike Beebe, Rep. Mike Ross, and the internationally renowned health care expert Dr. Aaron Shirley will join grassroots leaders from throughout the Delta at the April 1-2 Delta conference at the Clinton Presidential Center. We have 142 RSVPs and growing daily. The space is rapidly filling up but we still will try to accommodate some more people.

The opening session begins Thursday evening, April 1 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Clinton School of Public Service, with Congressman Mike Ross and James “Skip” Rutherford, Dean of the Clinton School starting the program followed by Mayor Barrett Harrison of Blytheville, Steve Southard of Nucor Yamato Steel, and other grassroots leaders. There will be food at the opening.

The main session starts on Friday, April 2, at 8:30 a.m. at the Great Hall of the Clinton Library with a panel on regional economic development, followed by Governor Mike Beebe of Arkansas, and then the three leading candidates for the US Senate–Congressman John Boozman (R-AR), at about 10:30 a.m., then Lt. Gov. Bill Halter (D-AR), at 11:10 a.m. approximately, and then at the noon luncheon, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, chair of the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.

We want to put pressure on all the powers that be from both parties to do more for economic development in the Greater Delta Region.

After Sen. Lincoln we will have a panel on health care featuring the internationally renowned health care expert, Dr. Aaron Shirley of the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation in Jackson, MS, talking about the “Health Houses” concept for improving health care from the grassroots level in the Delta, along with James Miller of the Oxford International Development Group based in Oxford, MS, who is also one of the key leaders of the Health Houses concept that has been endorsed by the National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, and has received international media coverage from the Los Angeles Times to the London Times.

President Clinton’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Donna Shalala, is on the advisory board for the Health Houses program.

Dr. Margaret Bogle of USDA’s nutrition and obesity prevention program and Larry Williams, head of the nonprofit Delta Citizens Alliance based in Greenville, MS that works in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi round out the health care panel.

William Jeter, a graduate student from the Clinton School of Public Service who is working on an innovative visual arts project in Newport, Arkansas to help Delta artists, will speak about that project Friday morning as well.

We wrap up the conference on Friday afternoon with a panel featuring innovative initiatives based in the Helena-West Helena area, including Catherine Bahn of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, representatives from the KIPP school, Chalk Mitchell, a lawyer and Georgetown law school graduate who works on legal services for the poor and other constructive work, Michael Ashanti of Heifer International who works on farmers’ markets, community gardens, and farm to school programs in the Delta, Katie Harrington of the Delta Cultural Center who works on the Delta’s blues heritage and other constructive activities, and Will Staley of THRIVE, a new nonprofit working on website access and local entrepreneurs.

On Thursday evening right after Congressman Ross, Mayor Harrison and Steve Southard of Nucor Yamato Steel, we will have a panel led by Charita Johnson Burgess of the Shiloh Distribution Center in west Tennessee, Carolyn Branton of the national Housing Assistance Council in Washington, DC, Mayor Sheldon Day of Thomasville, Alabama, Mike Marshall, former mayor of Sikeston, Missouri, banker, and a long-time leader on Delta regional issues, and Ken Shea of McKennon Implement Co. in Dumas and McGehee, Arkansas, and head of the Dumas Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee.

On Friday morning we will start off with a “big picture” regional economic development panel moderated by Johnnie Bolin, executive director of the Arkansas Good Roads Transportation Council, Josh Tubbs of the Marshall County Economic Development office in western Kentucky, Buddy Spillers of the Macon Ridge Community Development Corp. in northern Louisiana, Tim Smith of the Louisiana Housing and Community Development Corp. in New Orleans, Mayor Brad Cole of Carbondale, Illinois, and Paul Van Hoesen, director of the cTecnology corporation that does work on website access and education in west Tennessee and several other states.

REGISTRATION FEES: The early registration deadline has ended, but you can still register by making out the $100 registration fee check to “Delta Grassroots Caucus, and mailing it to:

Delta Grassroots Caucus

(Attention: Lee Powell)

311 Schoolwood Lane

Little Rock, Arkansas 72207

GROUP HOTEL: There is still space at the group hotel, which is the Comfort Inn & Suites at the Clinton Library. To get the group rate call the hotel at (501) 687-7700 and say you are with the Delta Caucus, for the night of April 1.

It is only necessary to stay one hotel night, because the conference begins Thursday evening, and you can check out in the morning and store your luggage at the hotel and then come back to the hotel at 4 p.m. to pick up your luggage.

This conference will be dedicated to the memory of James O. Powell, nationally recognized journalist, Editorial Editor and columnist for the Arkansas Gazette from the late 1950s to the late 1980s, and a champion for civil rights and the fight against poverty in the Greater Delta Region.

Thanks so much, and please come out on April 1-2 at the Clinton Center to help us advocate for the Delta’s economic progress. Lee Powell, executive director, Delta Grassroots Caucus (202) 360-6347