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.

Deadline Is Oct. 18--Only 12 Days--for Delta Jobs and Budget Issues Events in DC

Posted on October 06, 2011 at 01:02 PM

The deadlines are only 12 days away for the Delta conference in Washington, DC on Nov. 1-3, 2011, with registration and group hotel deadlines set for Oct. 18. We have 12 Members of Congress, executive branch officials and an RSVP count of 94 at this crucial time for job creation and threatened budget cuts.

To register for the conference, contact Lee Powell at 202-360-6347 or

Almost all economic development programs and initiatives for aiding the neediest of the needy in the region are under the threat of the chopping block: Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and other federal nutrition programs, health care, job creation, and regional economic development commissions like the Delta Regional Authority all face threats of cuts with the recommendations of the super committee on spending cuts set to occur right after the time we will be in Washington. Please help us advocate for the region.

Key recommendations: Based on feedback from around the region, we would support putting people back to work on roads, bridges, housing and other infrastructure; tax breaks for small business and other efforts to promote entrepreneurialism; closing tax loopholes and ending subsidies to oil companies and other large corporations like oil companies that have recently enjoyed record profits; spending cuts focusing above all on reducing our over-extended foreign military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and cutting wasteful spending on exorbitant weapons systems; and opposing cuts to disaster relief, SBA, USDA rural development, DRA, nutrition and small farm programs, and other initiatives that aid vulnerable working families in our impoverished region.

The DRA is only one small agency, but they do an excellent job in helping to create jobs, strategic planning, and so many other vital areas for our region. We were disturbed that the energy and water appropriations subcommittee in the Senate recently voted for a much larger than expected and unfair cut down to $9.92 million for the DRA, much more of a cut than the House level of $11.7 million.

We are working with our allies in the Senate for a better result in the full committee and then the full Senate; failing that we can work for a better result in House-Senate conference.

The national deficits commission made the destructive and unfounded recommendation to abolish all the regional commissions, and we are working closely with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the others to oppose such an irrational result. It makes no sense to cut programs like the DRA that help create jobs in our distressed economy.

DRA Accomplishments in a nutshell: During its relatively brief history after President Clinton signed into law the bill creating the DRA, the agency has: invested $86 million in 610 projects across the region from southern Missouri and Illinois to New Orleans and east to the Alabama Black Belt, with an impressive leveraging ratio of almost 20 to 1 amounting to a total of $1.8 billion in private, state and federal dollars.

The results are projected totals of more than 35,000 jobs created or retained, 58,000 families with improved water and sewer services and more than 6,000 people gaining from job training programs.

It makes no sense to cut a small but very productive program like the DRA during bad economic times.

Opening session, Nov. 1, B-339 Rayburn, 4:45 to 8 p.m.: We will have executive branch officials at DOT, USDA, and other agencies. For the opening session on Nov. 1, 4:50 p.m. to 8 p.m., we will have several grassroots leaders and Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall of Missouri; Members of Congress on the agenda include Rep. Terri Sewell (Alabama), Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (Missouri), Rep. Cedric Richmond (Louisiana), Rep. Bennie Thompson, chair of the Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Mike Ross and Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas, the co-chairs of the Mississippi River Congressional Delta Caucus (the Congressional counterpart for our grassroots group).

For the Capitol Hill sessions on Nov. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Senate Visitors Center 200-201, and then at Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill at 212 East Capitol from 1:15 p.m. to about 4 p.m., we will have a big picture panel on regional economic development with grassroots leaders; another panel on USDA nutrition programs and small business issues; Rep. Tim Griffin, Arkansas; Senator John Boozman, Arkansas, Senator Mary Landrieu, chair of the Senate Small Business Committee from Louisiana, Senator Mark Pryor, Arkansas, Senator Roger Wicker, Mississippi, and invited Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri.

There will be extensive media coverage.

On the third day, Thursday morning, Nov. 3, we split up into smaller groups or individuals to have smaller meetings at additional Congressional and executive offices.

Information on registration, schedule and group hotel are below in this email. Thanks so much and please help us advocate for the Delta during these troubled times.–Lee Powell, MDGC (202) 360-6347


The early registration fee deadline is October 18, 2011. Please make out the $100 early registration fees to “Delta Caucus” and mail to:

Delta Grassroots Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601


The Opening session is Tuesday evening, Nov. 1, 4:45 p.m. to 8 p.m., B-339 Rayburn House of Representatives building. NOTE THAT FOR SCHEDULING REASONS THIS SESSION HAS TO START MUCH EARLIER THIS YEAR. There will be food and drinks but we will have to get right into the program without a reception, for scheduling reasons.

Senate session: Wednesday morning, Nov. 2, Senate Visitors Center Rooms 200-201, 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Capitol Hill session at historic sanctuary of Lutheran Church of the Reformation near the Supreme Court, 212 East Capitol, Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 2, 1:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Thursday morning, Nov. 3–Final meetings in smaller groups or individuals at additional Congressional and executive branch offices. Most of these meetings must be set up on the initiative of individual partners. We do have some meetings set up, and if you would like to go to one of these, please advise by email:

Senator Mark Pryor’s office, Thursday, Nov. 3, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Senate Dirksen Room 255. Sen. Pryor has a strong reputation for working well with Senators from both parties.

Congressman Mike Ross’ office, Thursday, Nov. 3, 11 a.m. to noon, Room 2436 Rayburn building: Rep. Ross is co-chair of the bipartisan Mississippi River Congressional Delta Caucus, the counterpart to our grassroots caucus. Kenny Gober of the McGehee Housing Authority and others from southeast Arkansas will lead this group.

Congressman Rick Crawford, Thursday, Nov. 3, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Room 1408 Longworth: Rep. Crawford is the other co-chair of the Congressional Delta Caucus, which can send out memos to all the Members of Congress from our eight states. Rev. Jerome Turner of BGACDC agency in Phillips County will be one of the grassroots leaders at this conference. Rep. Crawford does not have one of the larger Capitol Hill offices so this meeting will have to limited to about eight people.

We are also setting up smaller meetings at US DOT to discuss proposals to put people back to work building roads, bridges and other much needed infrastructure improvements. Johnnie Bolin from southeast Arkansas will lead this meeting–he is one of the leading transportation and economic development experts in the region.

We are working on a meeting at US Dept. of Education, with President Larry Peterson of Shawnee Community College in southern Illinois one of the key leaders.

We are also setting up a smaller meeting at USDA Rural Utilities Service on broadband, telemedicine and related rural health care issues, with James Miller of the Community Health House Network in Mississippi being one of the leaders of this session.

GROUP HOTEL: The group hotel is Radisson at Reagan airport. To get the reduced rate of $225 per night for Nov. 1 and 2, call the hotel at 703-920-8600 before the deadline of Oct. 18 and say you are with the Delta Caucus.

There are also some suites available at $259 a night, with separate living quarters, so people could double up in these rooms.

There are no meetings at the group hotel, so if you can find a lower hotel rate elsewhere, by all means do so.

COST-CUTTING SUGGESTION: We know everybody’s budget is strapped during these troubling economic times, so if you wanted to skip the third session you could save time and expense and still have taken part in the heart of the conference on Nov. 1 and 2.

If you choose to cut costs in this way, you could fly into Washington by early afternoon on Nov. 1, go to the opening session beginning at 4:45 p.m., then check out on the morning of NOv. 2 and leave your luggage at the hotel, go to the morning and afternoon meetings on Capitol Hill and then come back and pick up your luggage and take a late afternoon or early evening flight back home on Nov. 2.

TRAVEL AGENCY: Over the years many people have found that Travel Consultants International based in Blytheville, Arkansas does an excellent job of helping people find lower airfare and hotel rates. Please call Becky Hawkins at 870-762-2800 if you would like to get help on your fares.

This is a stressful time, so that is all the more reason to have the voices of the Delta heard in Washington, DC on Nov. 1-3. Lee Powell, MDGC (202) 360-6347