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.

145 RSVPs--Space Limited; & Draft Agenda for Oct. 23-24 Delta event, West Memphis

Posted on October 05, 2012 at 04:50 PM

We have 145 attendees for the Oct. 23-24 Delta Grassroots Caucus conference at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis, Arkansas. The seating capacity is 150 people, so we will have to cut off the registrations soon.

Confirmed speakers include US Sen. John Boozman, US Rep. Mike Ross, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, Mayor A. C. Wharton of Memphis, Tennessee, representatives of the campaigns of President Obama and Gov. Romney, President Glenn Fenter of Mid-South Community College, Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill, DRA Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall from Missouri, Prosecutor Scott Ellington of Jonesboro, and grassroots leaders from across the region. US Rep. Rick Crawford, US Rep. Steve Cohen (TN) and Gov. Mike Beebe are invited.

We will have a debate between spokespersons for President Obama’s campaign and Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign, to inform us about their plans for economic progress in the eight-state Delta region if elected.

OPENING SESSION: Tuesday evening, Oct. 23, 4:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis, Arkansas at the Marion Berry Renewable Energy Center.

MAIN SESSION: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mid-South Community College, Marion Berry Renewable Energy Center in West Memphis.

REGISTRATION: You register by sending in the $100 registration fees. Please make out the check to “Delta Caucus” and mail to our office in the Washington, DC area:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, Maryland 20601

The space will run out soon and we will have to do this on a first come, first-served basis.

GROUP HOTEL: The group hotel is the West Memphis Holiday Inn & Convention Center. To get the group rate of $109 for Tuesday evening, Oct. 23, please call the hotel at (870) 735-4055 and make your reservation as part of the Delta Caucus bloc by Oct. 9. There are also some rooms available for Oct. 24 if people want to stay that night as well. The group hotel is a few minutes from Mid-South Community College.

Although we have 145 RSVPs right now and the space is limited to 150, some people will only be there for parts of the conference, and in a group of this size some people will inevitably have unexpected things come up at the last minute and cancel. So there is still some space left but it will run out soon.

Below is a very rough, preliminary draft of the agenda, but please understand that our main speakers have very hectic schedules and there always be last-minute changes in the program.

If you would like to be there please reply to this email at or call Lee Powell at 202-360-6347 or Desha County Judge Mark McElroy at 870-877-2426. Thanks very much.


Annual Fall Delta Conference Mid-South Community College, West Memphis, Arkansas, Oct. 23-24, 2012

Conference Co-Chairmen: Lee Powell, Executive Director, Delta Grassroots Caucus; and Clifton Avant of Marion, Arkansas, President, AvanTech Services and Delta Caucus board member

Delta Heritage Tourism Tables

We encourage you to pick up information about these notable examples of Delta Heritage Tourism, which brings tourist dollars into the region while educating people about the rich legacy of the Delta:

Dyess Colony Project, Ruth Hawkins, Arkansas State University Heritage Sites Director

New Madrid, Missouri, Don Lloyd, highlighting the New Madrid earthquake, Civil War sites, river walks

Delta Heritage Tours, Munnie Jordan, Helena-West Helena, Arkansas; highlighting the King Biscuit Blues Festival, American Queen and steamboating on the Mississippi River; the Delta Gospel choir

Upper Town Heritage Foundation, Paducah, Kentucky, highlighting the Hotel Metropolitan, African American history, jazz and blues in western Kentucky

MEET JUDGE MARK MCELROY, 3:45 P.M. at West Memphis Holiday Inn on Oct. 23: Informal gathering at West Memphis Holiday Inn and Convention Center bar and lobby, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, led by the Hon. Desha County Judge Mark McElroy, before going to Mid-South Community College at 4:15 p.m.

4:15 p.m. Bus will take 30 people at a time from the West Memphis Holiday Inn to Mid-South Community College’s, but please note–most people will go over in their own cars

OPENING SESSION: Tuesday, 4:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., Mid-South Community College, Marion Berry Renewable Energy Center, West Memphis, Arkansas

4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.: There will be food and soft drinks available.

4:50 p.m.–Welcome from President Fenter, Mid-South Community College

Lee Powell, Introduction, Executive Director, Delta Grassroots Caucus, Inc.

5:15 p.m.–Shelley Ritter, Executive Director, Delta Blues Museum, Clarksdale, Mississippi

5:25 p.m.–Beverly Robertson, Executive Director, National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, Tennessee

5:35 o 5:45-additional speaker, Rex Nelson, President, Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities, formerly Alternate Federal Co-Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority

5:45to 5:55 Joe Quinn, Wal-Mart, Senior Director, Issue Management and Strategic Outreach

5:55 to 6:05 p.m..–Delta Regional Authority Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall of Sikeston, Missouri, introduced by Steve Jones, Deputy Director of Arkansas Dept. of Human Services and DRA Designee and Alternate for Arkansas

6:05 p.m. to 6: 35 p.m. US Representative Mike Ross, Fourth District, Arkansas

6:35 to 7:45 p.m.–Nutrition, Small Farmers and Small Business Panel

  1. Tamidra Marable, Heifer International, manager for Heifer’s east Arkansas Delta programs

  2. Mildred Barnes Griggs, former Dean of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Education; consultant to Arkansas East Enterprise Community and USDA “Seeds of Change” project in east Arkansas, and a family farmer in Lee County, Arkansas

  3. Melissa Rice McGowan, Feeding America Southeast Missouri Food Bank, Cape Girardeau, Missouri

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

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 24, 2012, 8:30 A.M. to 4 P.M., Marion Berry Renewable Energy Center, Mid-South Community College, West Memphis, Arkansas

8:30 a.m. to to 10 a.m.–“Big picture” panel on regional economic development

  1. Speaker and Moderator, Sunny Morris, Senior Adviser for Special Programs, Mid-South Community College

  2. Albert Nylander, Ole Miss, Director, McLean Institute for Partnerships and Community Engagement, and Professor of Sociology, the University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi

  3. Steven Bares, Ph.D, President & Executive Director, Memphis Bioworks Foundation, Memphis, Tennessee

  4. Gregory Hall, Senior Vice President, Fed Ex corporation, Memphis, Tennessee

  5. Randy Henderson, Nucor Yamato Steel, Blytheville, Arkansas

10: a.m. to 11: a.m.–Presidential debate

Mayor Carl Redus of Pine Bluff, Arkansas–Speaking on behalf of President Barack Obama

Speaking on behalf of Governor Mitt Romney (Romney campaign has confirmed that they will have a speaker representing Gov. Romney)

SPEAKERS: 11 A.M. a.m. to noon

11 a.m. –Mayor A. C. Wharton of Memphis, Tennessee

Prosecutor Scott Ellington, First District Congressional candidate

Rep. Rick Crawford (AR)(Invited)

Congressman Steve Cohen, Tennessee

Luncheon, Noon to 1:20 p.m.:

  1. President Glenn Fenter

  2. Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill

  3. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel

Senator John Boozman, Arkansas, 1:30 to 1:50 p.m. (Introduced by Mayor Sheldon Day of Thomasville, Alabama)

Rep. Steve Cohen (TN) Invited

Gov. Mike Beebe, Invited

Panel : 1:50 p.m. to 3:10 p.m.–Best Practices in Community Development Issues for the Delta Region

  1. Bob Nash, Speaker and Moderator; senior adviser, Witt & Associates, Little Rock, Arkansas, former Director of Presidential Personnel for President Bill Clinton; former USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development

  2. Charita Johnson Burgess, Shiloh Distribution Center, west Tennessee

  3. Alan Gumbel, Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association, Memphis, Tennessee

  4. Shannon Maxwell, Save the Children, Deputy Director for the state of Mississippi

  5. Karama Neal, Southern Bancorp

  6. Janice Simmons, Executive Director, Greater Northern Louisiana Community Development Corporation

  7. Emily Carter, Southern Illinois University, Director of Center for Regional and Economic Development, Carbondale, Illinois

Sponsors for Delta Grassroots Caucus, Oct. 23-24, 2012 Mid-South Community College, West Memphis, Arkansas

Lead Sponsors

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

Major Co-Sponsors

Siemens Industry, Inc.

Heifer International

Mississippi County Economic Opportunity Commission

Housing Assistance Council, Washington, DC


Southeast Missouri Delta Grassroots Partners

Desha County Judge Mark McElroy

Lincoln County Industrial Development Commission

The City of Earle, Arkansas

First State Bank & Trust, Caruthersville, Missouri

Lincoln County Industrial Development Corporation