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 for Delta Initiative in Washington, DC; Please RSVP

Posted on September 06, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Registration deadline is only six weeks away–Oct. 18–for the Delta Initiative to promote job creation/economic recovery in the Greater Delta Region, Nov. 1-3, 2011, so please RSVP. We will be there at a crucial time in the debates over job creation and spending cuts, so please join us in urging effective jobs policies and opposing cuts to initiatives vital for the Delta.

We have either confirmations or have invited Delta Regional Authority Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall from Missouri and other DRA officials; the Hon. Rodney Slater; Rep. Mike Ross, Rep. Rick Crawford (AR), Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (MO), Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO), Sen. Thad Cochran (MS), Sen. Mary Landrieu (LA), Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY), Rep. Tim Griffin (AR), Sen. Mark Pryor (AR), Sen. John Boozman (AR), Rep. Jerry Costello IL), Rep. Alan Nunnelee (MS), Rep. Bennie Thompson (MS), Rep. Steve Cohen (TN), Rep. Rodney Alexander (LA), Rep. Terri Sewell (AL), and a few other Members of Congress.

We will have many grassroots leaders who are based in the Delta.

You register by paying the registration fees by Oct. 18. Detailed information on the schedule, registration, group hotel and other specifics are below in this email.

CRUCIAL TIME FOR SPENDING CUTS & JOB CREATION DECISIONS: We will be there at a crucial time when the super Congressional committee is making its key decisions on spending cuts. We want to urge effective job creation initiatives from Congress as well as the Obama administration, and just as importantly we need to urge Congress not to cut the budget for programs that create jobs right in the middle of a recession.

We should not be cutting Small Business Administration, rural development, DRA, renewable energy/energy sufficiency and green jobs, nutrition, transportation, broadband expansion and other vital initiatives for our region.

Most of our partners advocate large cuts in the over-extended defense budget along with closing of tax loopholes and ending subsidies such as those to oil companies to make progress on cutting the huge deficits. But the deficits will never go away until we put people back to work as taxpayers and end the soaring unemployment rates in the Delta, which are much higher than in the nation as a whole.

We also can’t balance the budget on the neediest of the needy, so it makes no sense to cut health care in the underserved Delta, hunger and nutrition programs, the small but excellent USDA Agricultural Research Service unit that researches nutrition and anti-obesity initiatives, renewable energy initiatives, the LIHEAP program for helping low-income people pay utility bills, and other essential programs for our already economically depressed region.

We welcome the participation of Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall of Sikeston, Missouri, along with other key participants from Missouri such as Rep. Jo Ann Emerson and Sen. Claire McCaskill (invited). Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri is now the state co-chairman of the DRA, and we have many other key participants from the great state of Missouri.

DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill did a great job at speaking for our last two conferences on Capitol Hill and the Clinton Library, and Chairman Masingill and Alternate Chairman Marshall are doing a great job at the DRA, along with chief of staff Bill Triplett and the other DRA team members. We thought it would be a good change of pace to have Alternate Chairman Marshall as one of the key speakers at the opening session this time on Nov. 1, Tuesday evening, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at B-339 Rayburn House of Representatives building.

DRA Chairman Masingill, Alternate Chairman Marshall and the whole team at DRA are doing a great job in a very tough economic situation and they deserve our steadfast support.

SCHEDULE IN A NUTSHELL IS: Opening session, Tuesday evening, Nov. 1, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., B-339 Rayburn; Senate session, Nov. 2, 8:40 a.m. to noon; Capitol Hill session at Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 East Capitol, 1: 15 to 4 p.m.; and Thursday, Nov. 3, we split up into small groups or individuals to have small meetings at executive or Congressional offices, according to the preference of each of our Delta partners.

Please RSVP and help us advocate for the Delta at this crucial time. Thanks–Lee Powell, MDGC (202) 360-6347;



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 Visitors Center Rooms 200-201. We will have a dialogue with US Senators from the region, regional leaders, and others involved in the Delta’s economic development.

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 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. Having a direct dialogue in a smaller, relaxed setting can be very useful, in addition to the group meetings on the first two days.

There are two options for this final session:

1) First, we will set up a few separate smaller meetings that morning with several important offices, such as:

9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.–Meeting in Senator Mark Pryor’s office, 255 Senate Dirksen building, to go into more depth into such key issues as job creation, rural development, DRA, hunger and nutrition, transportation, etc. Please contact Lee Powell at if you plan to come to this meeting.

We will post a few other meetings, possibly at the office of Rep. Mike Ross, co-chair of the Mississippi River Delta Congressional Caucus, at the US Dept. of Transportation; we are working at confirming these meetings.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 OCTOBER 18 to:

Delta Grassroots Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

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.

If you would prefer to not stay at the group hotel, that is fine, because there are no meetings at the group hotel. This hotel is convenient so many people use it.

TRAVEL AGENT: Many people find that Travel Consultants International in Blytheville, Arkansas does an excellent job of finding lower airfare and lower hotel rates for those who would prefer not to stay at the group hotel. Please call Becky Hawkins or her assistants at 1-800-764-7660.

TAXI CABS TO MEETINGS: 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