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.

Turnout up to 95 in DC; & Health House Presentation at Clinton School on August 26

Posted on August 19, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Turnout for the Sept. 21-23 Delta conference in Washington, DC is up to 95 people and we work on increasing the numbers every day. We also want to encourage our partners to come out to Little Rock on Aug. 26 at the Clinton School and hear one of our speakers in Washington, DC–James Miller, managing director of the Community Health House Network that is based in Mississippi but is now expanding across the Delta. James Miller speaks at the Clinton School of Public Service on Aug. 26 at noon. The Health House initiative is based on a model strongly recommended by the World Health Organization.

Dean James “Skip” Rutherford of the Clinton School has a longstanding, commendable interest in Delta regional issues, and that is great that he is giving James Miller this opportunity to inform people about the progress of the innovative Community Health Houses, which started out in 14 communities in Mississippi, led by Mr. Miller and Dr. Aaron Shirley of the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation, both of whom spoke at our Clinton Library conference this year.

In Louisiana the Health Houses have received substantial interest as an excellent solution to the health care issues caused by the oil disaster, and there has also been interest from the east Arkansas Delta. The Health Houses have great potential for improving health care in underserved areas of the Delta, and James Miller and others will be supporting the Health Houses at our Sept. 21-23 Delta conference in DC as well.

The annual Delta Caucus conference in Washington, DC is only a month away on Sept. 21-23, 2010, with the early registration deadline coming up very soon on Sept. 3, a Friday.

DC CENTRAL KITCHEN LUNCHEON ADDED AT FINAL SESSION: We have added a luncheon to our Thursday, Sept. 23 session, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., on the oil disaster and renewable energy provided by the famous nonprofit, the DC Central Kitchen, whose director Robert Egger was recently featured on 60 Minutes. DC Central Kitchen has placed many previously unemployed people in careers in the food business both in DC and in New Orleans after Katrina, and they plan new projects in Louisiana in response to the oil disaster. They will provide delicious fresh produce from farmers’ markets. The luncheon will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill near the US Supreme Court, 212 East Capitol.

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS: The conference will feature participation from Sen. Thad Cochran (MS), Sen. Mary Landrieu (LA), Senators Mark Pryor and Blanche Lincoln (AR), Rep. Mike Ross (AR), Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO), Rep. Joseph Cao (LA), Rep. Charlie Melancon (LA), Rep. Jerry Costello (IL), invited, Rep. Marion Berry (AR), invited, and other Members of Congress from the eight-state region we are expecting confirmation from soon.

HELP US SHOW SUPPORT FOR THE NEW LEADERSHIP AT THE DRA!! We are especially looking forward to giving a strong show of support for Delta Regional Authority Federal Cochair Chris Masingill, nominated by President Obama to the DRA and confirmed by the Senate, and Alternate Federal Cochair Mike Marshall, former mayor of Sikeston, Missouri who was the Delta Caucus co-coordinator for Missouri before he became the second highest ranking DRA official. Chairman Chris Masingill was a senior aide to Gov. Mike Beebe, and earlier served on the staffs of Rep. Mike Ross and Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, and he has great credentials for leading the DRA into a new era. The selections of Chris Masingill and Mike Marshall to lead the DRA have won many accolades. They will be among the key speakers at the Delta conference in DC.

We will have administration officials from USDA, HHS, Dept. of Energy and other key agencies, and a group of grassroots leaders from the Greater Delta region from the Louisiana coast to southern Illinois and Missouri.

We will want to hear from key Congressional candidates, such as Rep. John Boozman–whom we have invited but have not received word yet as to his participation–Sen. Blanche Lincoln, who has confirmed her participation at our conference (if she has to be in Arkansas at that time she will address over the audio system), in the contested Senate race in Arkansas, Rep. Charles Melancon and Sen. Vitter in Louisiana and other key races. We want to hear from the candidates about what they plan to do to create jobs and get the economy running again.

Others we have invited include Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO), Rep. Steve Cohen (TN), Rep. Jerry Costello (IL), Rep. Bennie Thompson and Rep. Travis Childers (MS), Rep. Marion Berry (AR), and others. Most of these Members of Congress participate each year and we expect them this year.

Please register and RSVP for the annual Delta Grassroots Caucus in Washington, DC on Sept. 21-23, 2010–registration information is below. EARLY REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS SEPTEMBER 3–ONLY TWO WEEKS AWAY NOW.

In addition to scrutiny of the economic positions of the key Congressional candidates, we have an unusual number of pressing issues on our plate at this time:

• We want to show strong support for the excellent new leadership of the Delta Regional Authority under Federal Cochair Chris Masingill of Arkansas and Alternate Federal Cochair Mike Marshall of Missouri;

• Job creation/economic recovery initiatives for the economically distressed Delta region;

• Health care for the underserved Delta including the new health care reform law and the innovative Community Health House Network championed by Dr. Aaron Shirley of the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation and James Miller, Managing Director for the Health House network;

• Aid for those suffering from the health care and economic impact of the oil disaster in the Gulf;

• Expansion of renewable energy–the oil disaster underscores the risks of our national addiction to oil;

• Greater broadband access for the underserved Delta;

• Opposition to FEMA’s ill-advised plan to redraw the flood plain maps and unjustifiably escalate flood insurance costs across the region;

• Progress on the Delta Development Highway System plan and the Interstate 69 corridor;

• Other key community and economic development issues for the eight-state, 252 county region from southern Louisiana to southern Illinois.

We will have a group of distinguished grassroots leaders from the Delta who will urge Members of Congress and high-level Obama administration officials to do much more for the community and economic development of the Delta region.


OPENING SESSION: Tuesday evening, Sept. 21, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., B-339 Rayburn House of Representatives building

SENATE SESSION: Wednesday morning, Sept. 22, 8:30 to noon, Room 385 Senate Russell building

USDA SESSION: Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 22, USDA national headquarters on the Mall, Williamsburg Room 104A, USDA Whitten building. We will have many high-level USDA officials from Secretary Tom Vilsack’s office, Rural Development, Under Secretary Pearlie Reed’s mission area, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services and other USDA agencies.

FINAL SESSION: Thursday morning, 8:30 A.M. TO 1:30 p.m., Sept. 23, main sanctuary of the historic Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill near the US Supreme Court, 212 East Capitol–the focus will be on Hurricane Katrina and the oil disaster in the Gulf, emergency preparedness issues related to FEMA’s ill-advised plan to escalate flood insurance costs; and attention to renewable energy in light of the oil disaster in the Gulf pointing out the risks inherent in our nation’s dependence on oil.

REGISTRATION: You register by sending in the early registration fee of $85 by Friday, September 3. After Sept. 3 the registration increases to $100.

Please make out the $85 early registration fee to “Delta Grassroots Caucus,” and mail to:

Delta Grassroots Caucus

(Attention: Lee Powell)

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

GROUP HOTEL: 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. We will have groups of taxi cabs to depart from the Radisson each day of the conference.

NEW ERA FOR THE DRA: The Sept. 21-23 conference will highlight the new era of the DRA under the leadership of Federal Cochair Chris Masingill, who has tremendous experience and knowledge of the region after serving many years as a senior aide to Gov. Mike Beebe of Arkansas, former aide to Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Congressman Mike Ross, and was confirmed by the Senate on June 25. Alternate Federal Cochair Mike Marshall, former Mayor of Sikeston, Missouri, formerly Missouri co-coordinator for the Delta Caucus, is a banker with expertise on a wide range of economic development issues. President Obama’s appointment of Chris Masingill and Mike Marshall has been greeted with tremendous enthusiasm throughout the region. We will also be glad to have Bill Triplett, chief of staff at the DRA who is tremendously knowledgeable about economic development issues for our region.

Chairman Masingill will have the most prominent speaking slot at the opening session on Sept. 21, Tuesday evening. Alternate Federal Cochair will introduce Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson that evening and also lead a panel on regional economic development at the Senate session the next morning on Sept. 22.

Please RSVP and register and help us advocate for the Delta in our nation’s capital on Sept. 21-23. Thanks very much. Lee Powell, executive director, MDGC (202) 360-6347