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.

President Obama Names Delta Caucus Missouri Partner Mike Marshall to DRA Post

Posted on April 16, 2010 at 01:49 PM

The Delta Caucus wholeheartedly endorses President Barack Obama’s appointment of Mike Marshall of Missouri as Alternate Federal Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Authority. “Mike Marshall is former Mayor of Sikeston, Missouri, banker, long-time Delta regional advocate, and a member of the executive committee and Missouri coordinator for the Delta Caucus, and this is a superb choice that bodes well for the future work of the DRA in promoting economic development in the eight-state region from southern Illinois to New Orleans, Louisiana,” said Lee Powell, Caucus director.

“Mike Marshall was a member of the short list the Delta Caucus had recommended to the White House for this post, and he did a great job of speaking at our annual conference at the Clinton Presidential Center just last week, when we had pointedly urged the White House to make the appointments to the Delta Regional Authority. We are very glad this action has been taken and such an excellent grassroots leader was chosen by President Obama,” Powell said.

Asking President Obama to fill the important posts of Federal Co-Chair and Alternate Federal Co-Chair was one of the main goals of our annual conference at the Clinton Presidential Center on April 1-2, 2010, and we are glad the voices of the Delta are being heard in Washington, DC.

“Mike Marshall is an excellent executive committee member and Missouri co-coordinator for the Delta Caucus along with Dr. Martha Ellen Black of East Prairie, Missouri, and we look forward to working with him in his new capacity as Alternate Federal Co-Chair at the DRA,” said Desha County Judge Mark McElroy, vice president of the Caucus. “While we would have preferred that this post had been filled earlier, all’s well that ends well and we applaud this great choice of Mike Marshall.”

Mike Marshall served as Mayor of the southeast Missouri Delta city of Sikeston from 2003 to 2009, and served for many years as president of First State Bank & Trust of Sikeston, with a total of 30 years of experience in banking. He was a Commissioner of the Southeast Missouri Regional Port Authority for 13 years and was active in cooperative efforts with federal, state and private investors to increase the import-export volume to over 1 million tons per year. He served on a variety of infrastructure projects such as the Tri-state Mississippi River Bridge Summit which includes southeast Missouri, southern Illinois and western Kentucky.

Marshall established a variety of economic development innovations in his tenure as Mayor of Sikeston, such as the creation of a Land Clearance and Redevelopment Authority. He was also president of the Sikeston Chamber of Commerce.

“We understand President Obama will be announcing his choice for the Federal Cochair post soon, and that will be great news as well, because we still have the Bush administration appointee, Pete Johnson in that post, and while Pete is a fine man, each President needs their own choice in these key appointed positions,” McElroy said.

Missouri co-coordinator for the Delta Caucus, Dr. Martha Ellen Black of southeast Missouri, said “We are headed for a new era in the DRA. In contrast to the Bush administration’s indifference to the DRA and their constant efforts to cut the budget to $6 million most years and some years even less, the Obama administration’s budget requests have increased to $13 million a year and we know Senator Lincoln and others are pushing for further increases up to $30 million. We look forward to working with Mike Marshall and the Obama administration in a more promising era for the DRA.”

“The Delta Caucus would like to express its appreciation to Senator Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Congressmen Mike Ross, Vic Snyder, and Marion Berry of Arkansas, Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson and Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri,” Powell said. “Sen. Lincoln and Rep. Ross stressed their communications to the White House to end the delays in making these appointments at our conference at the Clinton Center just last week, and we appreciate their many letters, phone calls and meetings with the White House to move forward in the important task of filling the two DRA posts,” Powell said.

“The Delta Caucus distributed a memorandum to the White House at our annual conference at the Clinton Center on April 1-2, 2010 in Little Rock, Arkansas, urging the White House to end the long delay in making these key appointments to the DRA, and all’s well that ends well as far as the Alternate Fedeal Cochair post,” Powell said. “We understand the choice for Federal Co-Chair post will be made soon and we again encourage the White House to act expeditiously in filling that job that is so important in helping to bring about economic recovery in the Delta region,” Powell said.

The Delta Caucus has recommended several candidates for the Federal Co-chair post, including Chris Masingill, a senior aide to Governor Mike Beebe of Arkansas; Clifton Avant and Kevin Smith, long-time Delta regional advocates from east Arkansas; and we know that there are other well-qualified candidates Mississippi, Alabama and elsewhere. “All these candidates would be great as Federal Co-chair of the DRA, and we look forward to hearing from the White House soon about who the new appointee will be.”

Marshall will fill the post formerly held by Bush administration appointee Rex Nelson, who resigned last year and is now a columnist and senior vice president for government relations and public outreach at The Communications Group in Little Rock. “Rex Nelson recently took part at our conference in Little Rock and we commended him again for doing a good job of improving the DRA’s communications with grassroots leaders across the eight-state region,” Powell said.

The White House has announced their intent to appoint Mike Marshall as Alternate Federal Co-Chair.

Mike Marshall will of course step down from the executive committee of the Delta Grassroots Caucus and we will select a new Missouri co-coordinator soon to work with Dr. Martha Ellen Black. Thanks so much–Lee Powell, executive director, Delta Grassroots Caucus (202) 360-6347