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.

Delta Caucus in Washington, DC, Sept. 21, 22, and 23--Please Save the Dates

Posted on May 03, 2010 at 02:52 PM

Please save the dates of Sept. 21, 22 and 23 for the annual Delta Grassroots Caucus in Washington, DC. We are heading into a new era in the Delta, for a variety of reasons we discuss in this message.

Recovery from the recession/job creation continues to be the issue we are hearing the greatest concern about. Certainly the key Congressional races will be heating up and we will want to hear from several of the most hotly contested campaigns. It’s too early to put all those details together because we don’t have the primary nominees for both parties yet, but we always want to hear from the key candidates about what they plan to do for the Delta’s economy.

A major area of interest this year will be the new leadership at the Delta Regional Authority: as you know, we praised President Obama’s selection for Federal Co-Chair of Chris Masingill, a senior aide to Gov. Mike Beebe, and our long-time Delta Caucus leader and former mayor of Sikeston, Missouri, Mike Marshall, as Alternate Federal Co-Chair. We have invited both of them to speak. We expect Senate confirmation soon.

We have also asked Bill Triplett, senior adviser to the Federal Co-Chair to speak. We want to give a great deal of attention to the new DRA leadership about what their vision for the agency is as we enter a new and very promising era for our region. We have only extended an invitation at this point because it is too early for confirmation of the speaking invitation before the Senate acts.

We will continue to promote the innovative “Health Houses” concept of Dr. Aaron Shirley of the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation and James Miller of the Oxford International Development Group based in Oxford, MS. The Health houses initiative was featured on NBC national Nightly News at the time of our conference. It is starting up in 15 Delta communities in Mississippi, has strong support from Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health and many other prestigious leaders and institutions.

James Miller followed up on our recent conference at the Clinton Center with meetings in Little Rock with Skip Rutherford of the Clinton School, Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s office, and DRA officials. This is a very promising initiative that we would like to see expanded from Mississippi into Arkansas and the rest of the Delta region.

We usually have about 12 to 15 Members of Congress and high-level Obama administration officials from key executive departments like USDA, DOT, HHS and others.

Naturally we have been very disturbed by the oil slick threatening the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts, as well as the storms in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. These are enormous problems and at this point we just pledge to help however we can. We obviously do not know the extent of the damage right now, except that it is very serious.

We are also very concerned about the ill-advised efforts to redraw flood plain maps in such a way as to place unjustified and unnecessary flood insurance costs on people throughout the Delta. We will have several speakers address these concerns, including Kay Goss, the nationally recognized disaster relief expert and former Associate Director of FEMA in the Clinton administration.

Transportation and promoting the Delta Development Highway System plan and I-69, expansion of broadband, nutrition and other health care concerns, renewable energy, rural development issues, and other key economic and community development issues will be on the agenda over the three day conference.

We are planning to begin on Tuesday evening, Sept. 21 at Room B-339 Rayburn House of Representatives building. Then we go to one of the Senate meeting rooms on Wednesday morning from about 8:45 a.m. to noon. Then we go down to USDA national headquarters at the Williamsburg room close to Secretary Vilsack’s office from about 1:15 to 4:15 p.m. Then we wrap it up Thursday morning, Sept. 23, from about 8:45 a.m. to noon either at one of the USDA meeting rooms or the sanctuary of the majestic, historic Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill near the US Supreme Court. The sanctuary will be of course a much larger space than we need, but it’s a historic place and people like meeting there, rather than in the room downstairs.

Some people stay on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning to schedule additional meetings with Obama administration officials, small meetings with Members of Congress, or other key organizations based in DC. If you can’t stay on to do that as late as Thursday afternoon, then we encourage people to skip one of our sessions on Wednesday or Thursday and use that time for a meeting with a Member of Congress or executive branch official in a “one-on-one” setting.

We were able to get a reduction in the Radisson Reagan Airport rate to $215, which is a fairly good rate for a DC hotel that is a short taxi ride from the meeting rooms at the very busy time of year of September. There are no meetings at the group hotel so if you would prefer to stay elsewhere that is fine.

You would call the Radisson Reagan Airport at (703) 920-8600 and say you are with the Delta Caucus group to get the reduced rate for the nights of Sept. 21 and Sept. 22.

Early registration fee is $85. You register by sending in the registration fee. Early registration ends on Friday, September 3, 2010. After that the registration fee is $100. Please make out your check to “Delta Grassroots Caucus” and mail to:

Delta Grassroots Caucus (Attention: Lee Powell) 5030 Purslane Place Waldorf, MD 20601

Thanks very much and please help us as we head into a new era for the Delta. Lee Powell, executive director, MDGC (202) 360-6347