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.

Election Campaigns & Delta Leaders at Oct. 23-24 Delta Conference in West Memphis

Posted on August 02, 2012 at 01:59 PM

The annual fall Delta conference on Oct. 23-24 will feature Members of Congress, Congressional candidates, and grassroots leaders from all eight states of our region meeting in the heart of the Delta at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis. We greatly appreciate the support of our hosts, President Glenn Fenter and all our colleagues at Mid-South Community College.

The key themes are economic recovery, job creation, energy, and developing a well-educated and well-trained workforce. Space is starting to fill so please RSVP as soon as possible.

Federal and state speakers will include Congressman Mike Ross, Congressman Rick Crawford (in whose district we will be meeting), US Sen. John Boozman (invited), US Sen. Mark Pryor (invited) Gov. Mike Beebe (invited), Congressman Steve Cohen and other Members of Congress in the region (invited), Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, Prosecutor Scott Ellington of Jonesboro, Arkansas and other Congressional candidates, and Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall of the Delta Regional Authority.

Key confirmed speakers in the business, education, and nonprofit sectors will include President Fenter of Mid-South Community College, Vice President Gregory Hall from Fed Ex headquarters in Memphis, Joe Quinn of Wal-Mart, Nucor Yamato Steel, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tamidra Marable of Heifer International, Feeding America, Save the Children, the Memphis BioWorks Foundation, Southern Bancorp, the Memphis Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association, universities and colleges across the region, Bob Nash of Witt Associates, and other organizations interested in promoting community and economic development in the region.

Along with panels on regional economic development, we will give equal opportunities for Congressional and Presidential campaigns of both major parties to state their platforms and answer questions on what needs to be done for job creation and economic recovery, including Congressman Rick Crawford (in whose district we will be meeting), Prosecutor Scott Ellington (First District candidate), representatives of the Obama and Romney campaigns, and other candidates.

We always want to participate in the democratic electoral process, and as a private sector group that is incorporated as a regular corporation and not a 501c3, the Delta Caucus as a corporation has no restrictions on lobbying for the region’s overall economic development or other restrictions that a 501c3 has. However, while we are free to ask any tough questions and make any comments on the issues that we choose, we should emphasize that it is vital to treat all candidates fairly–we will of course have to work with whoever wins.

Of course some of our partners do not make any political/electoral comments at all, and that is perfectly fine–it is your choice.

Gov. Mike Beebe, US Sen. John Boozman, US Sen. Mark Pryor, and other high-level officials from both parties have been invited as always and they have participated on many occasions, although they have unusually hectic schedules and confirm very late.


Tuesday, Oct. 23 a t 4 p.m.–Informal gathering at our group hotel’s bar, the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in West Memphis, starting at 4 p.m. before we go over to the opening session at Mid-South Community College, presided over by the Hon. Desha county Judge Mark McElroy, who will give his famous Elvis Presley impersonation.

OPENING SESSION: Tuesday evening, Oct. 23, 4:40 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the presidential house of President Glenn Fenter of Mid-South Community College. We will have drinks and light food–this is a substantive session with important speakers led by President Fenter, Congressman Mike Ross and other distinguished leaders.

MAIN SESSION: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Mid-South Community College, Marion Berry Renewable Energy Center.

We would like to thank Attorney General Dustin McDaniel of Arkansas, who has already confirmed and will be one of the luncheon speakers at the Oct. 24 session.

The exact times of speakers at the conference will be specified later on. A rough draft of the agenda will be sent out a couple of weeks beforehand, but there are always last-minute changes from the Members of Congress and others, of course.

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 hotel is only minutes away from Mid-South Community College in West Memphis, which is the host for the conference. West Memphis has good restaurants, and Memphis is only a few minutes away for those who wish to visit Beale Street or other Memphis attractions after the end of the Tuesday evening session about 7:45 p.m. or late Wednesday afternoon session.

Again, please join Judge McElroy at 4 p.m. at the Holiday Inn bar for an informal gathering before we go over to the opening session at the college.

REGISTRATION: You register by sending in the $100 early registration fees for each individual on or before Oct. 1. (There is a group discount down to $70 each for groups of five or more) Please make out the check to “Delta Caucus” and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, Maryland 20601

SPACE IS STARTING TO FILL UP SO PLEASE REGISTER AND MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS AT WEST MEMPHIS HOLIDAY INN SOON. Late registration increases to $150 after Oct. 1, to give an incentive for people to go ahead and register.

In addition to the Members of Congress, President Fenter and the other leaders and organizations mentioned above, here are some of the leaders we have confirmed thus far:

Clifton Avant, president, AvanTech Services, Marion, Arkansas; formerly a long-time executive at Entergy, Inc.; board member of the Delta Caucus and co-chairman for this conference along with Lee Powell, Caucus director;

Joe Quinn, Senior Director, Issue Management and Strategic Outreach, Wal-Mart Corporation;

Gregory Hall, Vice President, Fed Ex corporation, Memphis, Tennessee;

Steven Bares, President of Memphis BioWorks Foundation, Memphis;

Charita Johnson Burgess and Vivian Fry Greer, Shiloh Distribution Center, nonprofit organization based in Lexington, TN;

Alan Gumbel, Memphis Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association;

Beverly Robertson, National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis;

Sunny Morris, Senior Adviser for Special Programs, Mid-South Community College;

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

Albert Nylander, University of Mississippi, Director, McLean Institute for Partnerships and Community Development, Oxford, Mississippi;

Shannon Maxwell, Deputy Director for the Save the Children program in the state of Mississippi;

Shelley Ritter, director, Delta Blues Museum, Clarksdale, Mississippi;

Mayor Sheldon Day, Thomasville, Alabama;

Brad Cole, executive with Pepsi Mid-America, Inc., southern Illinois but doing business in five Delta states; former mayor of Carbondale, Illinois and former aide to US Sen. Mark Kirk, Illinois

Martha Ellen Black, Delta Caucus board member, executive director, Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center

Representatives of West Memphis City Hall and Mayor’s office, chamber of commerce and Crittenden County Judge’s office;

Randy Henderson, Nucor Yamato Steel and Nucor Steel of Arkansas, Blytheville, Arkansas (the Nucor steel companies are our lead sponsors)

Tamidra Marable, manager for Heifer International’s constructive program in the east Arkansas Delta;

Sam Scruggs, Priscilla Johnson and Jackie Burton, Mississippi County Economic Opportunity Commission, Blytheville, Arkansas;

Barrett Harrison, executive director, Blytheville-Gosnell Regional Airport Authority, Blytheville, Arkansas; former mayor of Blytheville;

Professor Deborah Duncan Owens and Professor Thomas Fiala, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas;

Phillips County Judge Don Gentry, Helena-West Helena;

Mayor Arnell Willis, Helena-West Helena;

Joe Black, Southern Bancorp, Helena-West Helena;

Kevin Smith, insurance executive, former state senator and long-time Delta leader, Helena-West Helena;

Representatives of the BGACDC agency, a dynamic nonprofit organization based in Marvell, Phillips County, Arkansas;

Bob Nash, Senior Adviser, Witt Associates; formerly US Under Secretary for Rural Development, Director of Presidential Personnel for President William Jefferson Clinton;

Harvey Joe Sanner, president, American Agriculture Movement of Arkansas, Des Arc, Arkansas;

Johnnie Bolin, former state legislator and director of the Arkansas Good Roads Transportation Council, 2012 recipient of the Inspire Hope Institute Award, the highest honor given jointly by the Inspire Hope Institute, Laymon Jones, chairman, and the Delta Caucus;

Kenny and Melissa Gober, McGehee Housing Authority, and key Delta Caucus leaders in southeast Arkansas;

David Knight, Pine Bluff-Jefferson County Opportunity Commission;

Herbert Simmons, Obadiah Simmons and others from Grambling State University, one of our strongest long-time supporters in Louisiana.

We are expecting many more partners but wanted to give an idea of who some of the partners are who have already confirmed. Thanks–Lee Powell, DGC (202) 360-6347