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.

Gov. Beebe, DRA Chair, Reps. Ross, Crawford at May 5-6 Delta events; Deadlines Near

Posted on April 07, 2011 at 02:40 PM

Governor Mike Beebe, Delta Regional Authority Federal Cochairman Chris Masingill, Congressman Rick Crawford, Congressman Mike Ross, former US Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, and Alternate DRA Cochairman Mike Marshall are among the main speakers at the May 5-6 annual Delta conference at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. We will have several panels with grassroots leaders from all eight DRA states.

Time is running short and we are running into space limitations, so if you wish to take part please RSVP by responding to this email and sending in the registration fees now.

President Bill Clinton has given superb presentations over the audio system the last three years and that is always a big highlight at our regional conferences.

DRA Federal Cochairman will be the opening session speaker on Thursday evening May 5 at the Clinton School of Public Service, and that important session is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Gov. Beebe is scheduled to speak at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, May 6, at the Great Hall of the Clinton Library, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Robert Moore from the heart of the Delta in Arkansas City, will introduce him. Speaker Moore does a great job on economic development for the Delta. Rep. Mike Ross is scheduled at 10 a.m., Rep. Rick Crawford (introduced by Rex Nelson, president of Arkansas Indpendent Colleges and Universities and former DRA Alternate Cochairman) will be one of the luncheon speakers, and Secretary Slater will also speak on May 6.

Please be there for DRA Federal Cochairman Chris Masingill’s presentation at the opening session of our annual Delta conference on Thursday evening, May 5 at the Clinton School of Public Service, where Skip Rutherford, Dean of the Clinton School always does a great job of hosting that session. We will also be presenting the Inspire Hope Award (jointly awarded by the Delta Caucus and the Inspire Hope Institute based in Jonesboro, Arkansas and chaired by Laymon Jones), which has only been given twice in our entire history, to a distinguished southeast Arkansas Delta leader for many years of service to the region.

We also plan to discuss whether development of lignite resources could be used in an environmentally friendly way to create jobs in the Delta and reduce dependence on foreign oil, provided that it can be done in a way that does no damage to the environment. Rep. Garry Smith will discuss his plans to do this in an environmentally friendly way. Ken Smith, former US Assistant Secretary of the Interior in the Clinton administration will present his views on the environmental issues, so as we understand it he will present a different point of view.

PLEASE RSVP by responding to this email and sending in the registration fees. You register by sending in the $100 early registration fees, or $85 if you are registering as part of a group of five or more to get the group discount, to the address below. We try to keep the numbers down to about 100 people and we have 85 RSVPs at this point, so if you want to attend it would be a good idea to go ahead and register now.

The opening session is Thursday evening, May 5, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Clinton School of Public Service, with good food and drinks. The opening session is Friday, May 6, at the Great Hall of the Clinton Library, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Please make out the check to “Delta Caucus” and send the $100 registration fees before April 27 to:

Delta Grassroots Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

NOTE: The late registration fees go up to $150 each after April 27, because we really need to get the funds in hand before the conference to pay the bills that come due shortly before it.

Chairman Chris Masingill has received excellent reviews and generated great enthusiasm for his leadership at the DRA, so we are glad to have him at the opening session at about 6 p.m. at the Clinton School of Public Service, which is one of the best speaking times for the whole conference because everybody is energized and Skip Rutherford, Dean of the Clinton School, always does a great job of hosting the opening session. Dean Rutherford has shown a strong interest in and dedication to the Delta issues for many years now, so we are really looking forward to having him and Chairman Masingill at the opening session.

This is the first time we have ever had a Federal Cochairman of the DRA address our annual conference at the Clinton Center in Arkansas.

Chris Masingill has done a great deal of important work for the Delta for many years now. I recall when I was senior adviser to the Clinton administration’s Delta Regional Initiative he was working for former Sen. Blanche Lincoln for the legislation to create the DRA, which was sponsored in the House by former Rep. Marion Berry, received bipartisan support in Congress and was signed into law by President Clinton late in 2000. We want to reflect about the DRA’s 10th anniversary, look at the pluses in regional economic development, what has worked well, and where we still have challenging issues.

Chairman Masingill was later an aide for Congressman Mike Ross in Arkansas and a senior aide to Gov. Mike Beebe. We could not find a better person than Chris to help us commemorate the DRA’s 10th anniversary and provide his vision on what we need to do for a brighter future in our region.

Alternate Federal Cochairman Mike Marshall of Missouri has also won excellent reviews for his leadership at the DRA, and we are very glad to have his participation as well as others from the important state of Missouri. We are glad to have Steve Jones, a high-ranking official in Gov. Beebe’s administration who is also the DRA alternate for the state of Arkansas. Steve Jones has been a stalwart grassroots leader for the Delta for many years now.

Key issues over the two-day conference: Key issues will be job creation/economic recovery, support for the DRA; support for the Community Health House Network led by James Miller and Dr. Aaron Shirley of Mississippi, as well as other health care and hunger and nutrition issues; support for Delta heritage tourism; expansion of broadband access; transportation, rural development and other infrastructure issues; broader educational opportunity; support for renewable energy; discussion of the value and logic behind regional approaches to economic development; and other key issues for the region from southern Illinois and Missouri to New Orleans and east to Selma, Alabama.

Session on Friday afternoon with Arkansas Baptist College President Fitzgerald Hill: President Fitz Hill is a dynamic leader for Arkansas Baptist College (ABC), which is based in Little Rock but does great work in the Delta. President Hill leads fundraising efforts (such as one connected with the UAPB-Grambling football game) for literacy programs and many other beneficial activities in the Delta.

President Hill recruits students across the Delta, and will lead the final session from about 2:45 to 4:15 or so. That session will include a couple of ABC students from Rwanda, Catherine Bahn and Mollie Palmer of the Arkansas Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s anti-poverty program in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, and other colleagues of the network led by President Hill. Please plan to stay for that because President Hill is dynamic and innovative and you won’t want to miss that session.

GROUP HOTEL: The group hotel is the Comfort Inn and Suites near the Clinton Library. Please call the hotel at (501) 687-7700 and say you are with the Delta Caucus to get the group rate of $79 for the night of May 5, Thursday. This is a good rate by downtown Little Rock standards. You can check out of the hotel on the morning of May 6, store your luggage there and come back to pick it up in the afternoon when the conference ends, so you will only need to pay for one hotel night.

For those who want to stay for Friday, May 6, the group discount rate is also available for that night.

Thanks very much and please RSVP as the time is running short. Lee Powell, executive director, Delta Grassroots Caucus (202) 360-6347