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.

Agenda for Nov. 1-3 Delta Job Creation & Spending Priorities Events, Washington

Posted on October 26, 2011 at 02:14 PM

Delta Grassroots Caucus Delta Initiative on Job Creation/Economic Recovery Nov. 1-3, Washington, DC


OPENING SESSION–HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The opening session is Tuesday evening, November 1, 2011 from 4:50 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Room B-339 Rayburn House of Representatives building. There will be food and drinks, presentations and question and answer from Members of Congress as well as DRA officials and leaders based in the region.

4:45 to 5 p.m., WELCOME

5 p.m. to 8 p.m.–OPENING SPEAKERS


5:00 p.m.–Opening presentation by Lee Powell, Executive Director, MDGC, from the Delta Caucus Board of Directors, and other Delta grassroots leaders

5:15–Senator Mark Kirk, Illinois

5:30 p.m.–Congresswoman Terri Sewell, Alabama

5:45 p.m.–Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, Missouri

5:55 to 6:05 p.m.–Congressman Cedric Richmond, Louisiana

6:05 to 6:25 p.m.–Congressman Mike Ross, Arkansas

6:25 to 6:45 p.m.–Delta Regional Authority Alternate Federal Co-Chairman, Mike Marshall of Sikeston, Missouri

6:45 p.m. to 7 p.m.: The Hon. Rodney Slater, US Secretary of Transportation in the Clinton administration, now a partner at Patton Boggs firm in Washington, DC

7 p.m. to 7:20 p.m.–Congressman Rick Crawford, Arkansas

7:20 to 7:30—-Albert Nylander, Dean, Graduate Studies and Continuing Education, Professor of Sociology and Community Development, Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi

7:30 to 8 p.m.– Bob Nash, James Lee Witt and Associates–disaster relief; USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development and White House Presidential Personnel chief for President Bill Clinton

SENATE SESSION: Wednesday morning, November 2, 2011, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Senate Visitors Center Rooms 200-201. Entrance is at 1st Street and Capitol Street, NE.

“Big Picture Panel on Regional Economic Development”– 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

  1. Christy LeGrand, Southeast Missouri State University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Moderator and Panelist

  2. Billy McFarland, Director, Center for Business and Economic Services, University of West Alabama, Livingston, Alabama

  3. Emily Carter, Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Development, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois

  4. Loretta Daniel, Director, Regional Business and Innovation Center, Murray State University, western Kentucky

  5. Joe Black, Southern Bancorp, Helena-West Helena, Arkansas

10 a.m. to noon–Members of Congress and Delta Grassroots Leaders

10 a.m.–10:15 a.m.–Senator Mary Landrieu, Louisiana

10:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.–Senator John Boozman. Arkansas (Introduced by Mayor Sheldon Day, Thomasville, Alabama)

10:30 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.–Jessica Vermilyea, Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response, New Orleans, Louisiana

10:45 a.m. to 11 a.m.–Sen. Claire McCaskill (invited)

11 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.–Senator Mark Pryor, Arkansas (Introduced by Mayor Carl Redus, Pine Bluff, Arkansas)

11:15 a.m. TO 11:30 a.m.–Rep. Tim Griffin, Arkansas

11:30 a.m.–Senator Roger Wicker, Mississippi

11:45 a.m. –Obadiah Simmons, Grambling State University, Louisiana coordinator for the Delta Caucus


CAPITOL HILL SESSION at Historic Lutheran Church: Wednesday afternoon, November 2, 2011, historic sanctuary of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation near the Senate and House buildings, right behind the US Supreme Court, 212 East Capital, approximately 1:15 p.m. to about 4 p.m. We will have additional Members of Congress and grassroots leaders.

1:20 to 1:30–Johnnie Bolin, Arkansas and regional transportation expert, from Ashley County, Arkansas, on Delta transportation issues

1:30 to 1:40 p.m.–Joe Belden, National Housing Assistance Council, Washington, DC Assistant Director, on USDA rural housing programs and other housing issues

Panel on Hunger, Nutrition and Poverty in the Delta, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill, 212 East Capitol

  1. Ed Cooney, executive director, Congressional Hunger Center, Speaker and Moderator

  2. Tamidra Marable, Heifer International US Country Programs Manager, based in Little Rock, Arkansas

  3. Melissa Rice, Cape Girardeau Food Bank, Feeding America, serving 16 Delta counties in southeast Missouri

  4. Catherine Champagne, Louisiana State University Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

  5. Lisa Tussing-Humphreys, USDA Agricultural Research Service Delta Body & Soul Project, focusing on nutrition and obesity; Stoneville, Mississippi

  6. Deborah Martin, The Martin Group, Ridgeland, Mississippi; nutrition and small business minority owners

FINAL SESSION, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3, from about 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., –SERIES OF SMALL MEETINGS AT KEY EXECUTIVE BRANCH AND ADDITIONAL CONGRESSIONAL OFFICES: Rather than set up another group meeting on the third day when everybody is tired and some people have already gone home, we plan to split up into meetings with small groups or even individuals at additional Congressional and executive branch offices, and it is strictly flexible and optional as to how our partners want to utilize that time.


Meeting with Federal Highways Administrator Victor Mendez at US Department of Transportation, Thursday morning, Nov. 3–9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.–A few meetings that are set up can be joined by additional participants, just by emailing Lee Powell at, or for the US Dept. of Transportation meeting on putting people to work on roads, bridges, rails and other transportation infrastructure, the Delta Development Highway System plan, Interstate 69 and other transportation issues: contact Johnnie Bolin, executive director of the Arkansas Good Roads Transportation Council at

Meeting with USDA Assistant Secretary Pearlie Reed, 11 a.m. Thursday morning, USDA Whitten building on the mall, on diversity, small farmers, and USDA’s role in rural economic development in the Delta.

Meeting at US Senator Mark Pryor’s office, 255 Senate Dirksen building, Nov. 3, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.–Senator Pryor is an influential Senator who is known for being able to work with both parties. This will focus on job creation, rural development, nutrition and other USDA-related issues, support for the Delta Regional Authority.

Meeting at US Representative Mike Ross’ office, 2436 Rayburn House building, Nov. 3, 11 a.m. to noon–Congressman Ross is the Democratic Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Mississippi River Delta Congressional Caucus, the Congressional counterpart to our Grassroots Caucus. The Congressional Caucus can send communications to all Members of Congress in the eight-state Delta region. Kenny Gober of the McGehee Housing Authority will be one of the key leaders for this session.

Meeting at US Representative Rick Crawford’s office, 1408 Longworth House building, Nov. 3, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.– Congressman Crawford is the Republican Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Mississippi River Delta Congressional Caucus, the Congressional counterpart to our Grassroots Caucus. Rep. Crawford has limited space in his office so this session will have to be limited to seven or eight grassroots leaders. Rev. Jerome Turner of the BGACDC nonprofit agency in Phillips County, Arkansas will be one of the key leaders for this session.

11 a.m. to noon, Nov. 3–Meeting at USDA Rural Utilities Service, Room 5141, USDA South building at 1400 Independence Avenue, Wing 1 entrance, 5th floor,–We expect to set up a meeting for a small number of people at USDA Rural Utilities Service on broadband expansion for the rural Delta, telemedicine, and some biofuels issues. Stephen Copley of the Arkansas Friendship Coalition, who works on a range of issues for Hispanics and other economically distressed people in the Delta, will be one of the key leaders for this session.

Thursday morning, Nov. 3 meeting at US Dept. of Education on literacy, access to higher education, Pell Grants, developing a well-educated workforce, time to be determined, with President Larry Peterson of Shawnee Community College in southern Illinois being one of the key leaders for this session. We have an impressive array of universities and colleges taking part at this conference, including Southern Illinois University, Shawnee Community College, Southeast Missouri State University, Murray State University in western Kentucky, Arkansas State University, the University of Memphis, Mid-South Community College in West Memphis, Arkansas, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Delta State University in Mississippi, the University of West Alabama, Grambling State University, and Louisiana State University. We do not know how many universities and colleges will be represented at this meeting, but we greatly appreciate their coming to Washington for this conference.

Appreciation for Sponsors for the Delta Grassroots Caucus

November 1-3, Washington, DC

Lead Sponsor

Nucor Yamato Steel and Nucor Steel of Arkansas, Blytheville, Arkansas

Major Co-Sponsors

McGehee Industrial Foundation

National Housing Assistance Council, Washington, DC

Mississippi County Economic Opportunity Commission


Southeast Missouri State University

Mr. and Mrs. J. William McFarland, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

AvanTech Services, Clifton Avant, President & CEO

Desha County Judge Mark McElroy

Grambling State University, Louisiana

Southern Bancorp Bank

Helena National Bank

Lincoln County Industrial Corp., Star City

First State Bank & Trust, Caruthersville, Missouri

Mid-South Delta LISC

Southeast Missouri Delta Caucus Partners

Phillips County, Arkansas Delta Caucus Partners

East Central Arkansas Delta Caucus Partners

Delta Grassroots Caucus Partners

Last but not least, we would like to thank the hundreds of people and organizations who made smaller contributions in the amounts of $100, $50 or $25 for registration fees, annual membership dues or other modest contributions. For a grassroots regional coalition, we need to have a diversified, broad base of financial support from a large number of smaller contributions. The large number of these contributions really adds up to a substantial amount of funding.