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 Conference Changed to Nov. 1, 2 and 3, 2011, Due to Senate Schedule Change

Posted on July 26, 2011 at 01:08 PM

Due to scheduling complications caused by the intense debt ceiling and economic recovery debate in Washington, DC, we were informed yesterday that the Senate changed its schedule and this requires us to change our schedule for the annual Delta Grassroots Caucus fall conference. The conference will now be held on November 1, 2 and 3, 2011. The schedule is below. Job creation and economic recovery are the key issues.

We understand the stresses caused by the current intense debate. This was completely beyond our control, and the Senate had advised us for a long time that they would be in session that week, but recently re-worked much of their schedule for the rest of this year. We have never had to make a change like this before, but it would reduce the value of the conference if we could only meet with the House of Representatives and Obama administration officials.

We would like to thank the Senate, House, group hotel, Lutheran Church of the Reformation where one meeting will take place, and many other partners for working with us so quickly in re-organizing the entire schedule on short notice. Special thanks to Congressman Mike Ross’ office and Senator Mark Pryor’s office for helping out with the logistics.

Please contact your Members of Congress and encourage them to come up with a bipartisan way to resolve the budget dispute. A national default would set the Delta back even further, as well as our country as a whole.

At the conference, we usually have a total of about 12 to 15 Members of Congress from both parties speaking and answering questions on pressing issues, of which job creation and reviving the economy are at the top of our list of priorities, and we will also have a number of key Obama administration officials. It is important to ask them good, candid questions and put respectful but constructive pressure on them to do more for the Delta’s economic recovery.

OPENING SESSION–HOUSE: The opening session is Tuesday evening, November 1, 2011 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Room B-339 Rayburn House of Representatives building. There will be food and drinks, presentations and quiestion and answer from US Representatives, and leaders based in the region. We expect to have Delta Regional Authority officials at that session and the next day’s session as well.

SENATE SESSION: Wednesday morning, November 2, 2011, 8:45 a.m. to noon, Senate meeting room to be named later. We will have a dialogue with US Senators from the region, some regional leaders, and some executive branch officials.

THIRD CAPITOL HILL SESSION: 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 3:45 p.m. We will have additional Members of Congress, executive branch and regional leaders.

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 fan out over the key executive branch agencies, and it is strictly flexible and optional as to how our partners want to utilize that time.

There are two options for this final session:

1) First, we will set up several separate smaller meetings that morning with key executive branch offices including USDA, US Dept. of Transportation, FEMA, HHS, and the new White House Rural Council’s office. A small group of knowledgeable grassroots leaders can have an impact through a candid, direct dialogue with key executive branch officials.

Each group would be small but would have very knowledgeable people on the USDA, DOT, FEMA, HHS and rural issues. Most of these small meetings will be going on at near or about the same time. You can decide which of these to attend, or set up another smaller meeting on your own if you prefer. It’s strictly up to your choice.

2) Secondly, if you would rather meet with another Congressional office or some other executive agency, please set that up on your own initiative. We of course do not want to get into an overly complicated process of organizing 25 small meetings. If you want to set up something on your own with only a very few people, that is great. We will cover a lot more offices this way.

If you choose to set up something on your own, if you could send us a “quick and dirty” email about what meetings you have set up, that would be helpful because we want to keep track of all the offices we contacted during the conference.

I will help coordinate these, in conjunction with one or two leaders who are knowledgeable about those issues who will be designated to take the lead at that meeting. I will definitely go to USDA and will try to work in the White House Rural Office as well. Leaders of the other meetings will be identified as soon as possible.

REGISTRATION: You register by paying the early registration fees.

We have to ask for registration fees from almost everybody to make the budget work out, and the only exceptions are Members of Congress and their aides, Obama appointees, former Members of the cabinet like the Hon. Rodney Slater, and people at that level. For those coming for the entire conference, it is $100.

The early registration fees should be made out to “Delta Caucus” and mailed by Oct. 18 to:

Delta Grassroots Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

DIALOGUE AT THE BIG GROUP MEETINGS ON NOV. 1 AND 2: We will have a dialogue with Members of Congress, Obama administration officials, Delta Regional Authority representatives, and a group of grassroots leaders from the Greater Delta Region extending from St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois down to New Orleans and eastward to the Alabama Black Belt.

We will urge them to take stronger action for job creation/economic recovery in our region, where the disproportionate impact of the recession on us as well as the recent flooding and storms worsened an already economically distressed situation.

Job creation/economic recovery will be the top priority, and virtually all of our activities will be related to that goal. Key issues will include job creation/new markets initiatives, broadband expansion, the need for a new transportation bill, health care improvements for the underserved Delta, hunger and nutrition, support for the Delta Regional Authority’s funding, the USDA Rural Development programs, literacy programs and other education initiatives, renewable energy, “green jobs” and energy efficiency, Delta legacy tourism initiatives, flooding issues, and other economic and community development activities.

You register by paying the $100 early registration fees, and registration information is listed below along with group hotel and the schedule.

A number of people have already sent RSVPs, and please RSVP to this email or 202-360-6347 so we can add you to the list of people who will be there.

INCLUSION OF THE ENTIRE REGION: The main focus of our efforts geographically is on the most impoverished areas in the heart of the Delta, usually consisting of smaller towns and rural areas. However, Little Rock, Memphis, Jackson, Baton Rouge, St. Louis and East St. Louis are included in our efforts because we want them to feel included in the region and they have resources to help us, although they of course are much more urban and usually more prosperous, despite a few pockets of poverty, than the heart of the more small town and rural Delta.

THANKS AGAIN TO DRA: A special thank you to DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill, Alternate DRA Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall of Missouri, DRA chief of staff Bill Triplett, and the state partners of the DRA for their continuing excellent new leadership at the DRA.

A direct dialogue with a small group of people and additional Congressional and executive branch offices will follow up on the larger group meetings with media coverage. These are essential in putting constructive pressure on the powers that be to do more for America’s most impoverished region and having a dialogue with them.

The late registration fees are supposed to go up to $150 after Oct. 18. The only reason we came up with the late registration additional fee was to give an incentive for people to send in their fees on time, because in the past we had a problem with most people sending in the fees either at or after the conference, when many of our bills have to be paid right before or at the time of the conference, and this also created bottle-necks when people paid the fees at the front desk.

The late registration fees for the May conference in Little Rock did in fact create a noticeable improvement in getting the fees in earlier, so thanks so much.

GROUP HOTEL: The group hotel is Radisson at Reagan Airport. To get the group rate of $225 for the nights of Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, call the Radisson at 703-920-8600 on or before Tuesday, Oct. 18, and say you are with the Delta Caucus. This rate is actually low by Washington, DC standards in October, which is one of the busiest times of the year for Congress and the administration.

There are also some two-room suites available for $259 a night.

We go to the meetings in large groups of taxi cabs each morning from the group hotel. Before 9/11 we used to go in large buses, but the one time we tried that after 9/11 the security guards were understandably not too happy with a huge vehicle pulling up close to the US Capitol, so we ditched that strategy. Going in groups of three or four by cab is quicker and cheaper.

We will work out the speaking times of all the people when the time gets nearer. Keep in touch and RSVP. Thanks–Lee Powell (MDGC) 202-360-6347