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.

Registration Deadline Is April 17: Mike Ross, Pryor, Boozman, Cotton on May 2-3

Posted on March 28, 2013 at 01:55 PM

Early registration deadline is coming up soon–April 17. We are glad to say that Mike Ross confirmed that he will be one of the main speakers at the May 3 Clinton Library session of the May 2-3 Delta conference. Other main speakers include Sen. Mark Pryor, Sen. John Boozman, Rep. Tom Cotton, Asa Hutchinson, Curtis Coleman and other gubernatorial candidates, and leaders from across the eight states.

President Bill Clinton has given five brilliant live audio presentations to our conferences in the past and is invited again this year, although he confirms late due to his super-busy schedule. For the first time we have also inquired whether he might be able to be there in person. Gov. Mike Beebe has also spoken each year at our Clinton Library events.

Mike Ross served with distinction in the Fourth District of Arkansas in the US House of Representatives for many years, and he was always a steadfast champion for the Delta and a great supporter of the Delta Caucus. There is discussion that he may or may not run for governor but he has NOT announced any decision on that possibility, and we are interested in his comments whether in his capacity working on energy policy in the private sector and former Congressman, or in any other capacity. We had asked him if he could speak at our West Memphis meeting last year, and at that time he was not a gubernatorial candidate and was in the process of retiring from Congress.

Deadlines for early registration are coming up soon on April 17, Wednesday, and space is limited. The turnout will be larger than usual due to the special events commemorating the 20th anniversary of the bipartisan Delta Regional Initiative. While we appreciate emails or phone calls saying you plan to come, registration is based on receiving the registration fees.

After April 17, registration fees go up to the late registration of $150. We do not want the late fee, but there has to be some incentive to avoid the situation where we have long lines of people waiting to register at the front desk, thus delaying a program that is under heavy time pressure due to the unprecedented number of requests we have received this year.


Please make out the $125 check for one person or $75 check each if you can get together a group to “Delta Caucus” and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

Registration fees go up to $150 starting on April 18. It creates logistical problems for the conference if the registration fees come in right before or at the time of the conference.

The group hotel deadline to get the reduced group rate is also April 17. Please call the Comfort Inn & Suites at 501-687-7700 and say you are with the Delta Caucus to get the group rate for May 2 and 3. Many people just stay on the evening of May 2, check out the next morning and store their luggage at the hotel and pick it up after the conference ends on Friday afternoon, May 3.

Our funding comes from either sponsorships or registrations. Thanks a million to lead sponsor Fed Ex Express, major co-sponsors Heifer International, National Housing Assistance Council, City of Sikeston, Missouri and other southeast Missouri grassroots partners, Blytheville-Gosnell Regional Airport Authority, Mississippi County AR Economic Opportunity Commission, Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center in southeast Missouri and other partners. We will provide a complete list of sponsors when they are received.

While we pinch pennies and keep expenditures to a minimum, a big conference at the Clinton Center involves substantial costs. We also raise funds to pay for our operations year-round at the time of our major events when people tend to be much more focused on Delta Caucus activities than at other times. We do daily advocacy year-round, although much of that is direct communications one on one with Congressional, national executive, or state leaders that is low-profile. The daily advocacy does not get into the newspapers or TV but it is just important as the high-profile conferences.

Registration fees are $125 for each attendee. However, if people who are invited can organize a group of five people or more who are committed to advocating for the region’s community and economic development, we will give a group discount down to $75. It has to be up to each group or individual invited to organize the group of five attendees or more.


OPENING SESSION: Thursday evening, May 2, 2013, 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Clinton School of Public Service.

CLINTON LIBRARY SESSION: Friday, May 3, 2013, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Great Hall of the Clinton Library.

This is bipartisan and people of all political persuasions are welcome.

Mike Ross and Sen. John Boozman are scheduled for the luncheon speakers at noon on Friday, May 3 at the Clinton Library Great Hall. Sen. Mark Pryor speaks at 10 a.m. on Friday.

President Clinton and Gov. Beebe usually speak at the Friday Clinton Library session.

Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall of Sikeston, Missouri is confirmed for the May 2 Thursday evening session. DRA Federal Co-Chairman is invited for either May 2 or 3.

James “Skip” Rutherford, Dean of the Clinton School of Public always does a great job of hosting the opening session.

At the opening we also plan to have former Congressman Asa Hutchinson, a gubernatorial candidate; Curtis Coleman, a gubernatorial candidate, US Rep. Tom Cotton, the new Congressman from Arkansas’ Fourth District, and a panel on renewable energy and energy retrofits-a set of issues that President Clinton has long championed.

We will have many Presidential appointees from the Clinton administration and others who have worked closely with Bill Clinton over many years, including:

Bob Nash, president of Bob J. Nash and Associates in Little Rock, formerly USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development and then White House Director of Presidential Personnel in the Clinton administration;

Janis Kearney, a White House aide to President Clinton, and an author of several distinguished books, the most recent of which is about Daisy Bates, the famous Arkansas civil rights leader who courageously stood up for racial justice during the Little Rock Central High crisis of the Gov. Faubus era;

Kay Goss, former Associate Director of FEMA when that agency had a sterling reputation during the Clinton administration, now a nationally recognized emergency relief expert;

As mentioned above, Skip Rutherford, Ken Smith, and many others among us who knew Bill Clinton before he was President or even before he was Governor and Attorney General, even going back to when he began his political career as a young staffer for US Senator J. William Fulbright.

US Rep. Rick Crawford and former Lt. Gov. Bill Halter are invited.

We are still setting up the energy policy panel for the opening session and may have additional energy experts on Friday. Former US Assistant Secretary of the Interior Ken Smith, a noted energy policy expert, and Martha Jane Murray, manager for the Clinton Foundation Climate Change Initiative HEAL (Home Energy Affordability Loan) program for doing energy retrofits in Delta businesses and homes, will be among the energy experts.

We also are planning to find time for representatives of Future Fuel Chemical Co., which does great work producing biofuels among other impressive activities, the new Arkansas Advanced Energy Association, alt.Consulting, which has innovative energy policy projects in the Delta; Loretta Daniel of Murray State University, which does renewable energy projects in western Kentucky, the nonprofit Arkansas Public Policy Panel that has a great deal of expertise on energy policy, and an energy policy expert from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

We will send out an agenda when we hear from the few remaining main speakers as to when they can speak. We have had an unprecedented number of highly qualified leaders and organizations who asked to be on the program. We will need to ask everybody to be especially concise given the unusually heavy time pressures on the agenda.

We plan to give the Inspire Hope Institute to two co-winners who are true-blue troopers for the Delta: Clifton Avant, long-time senior executive for the Entergy company in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi and board member emeritus of the Delta Caucus; and Arkansas Representative Mark McElroy, now doing a great job in the legislature after serving with distinction as Desha County Judge for 20 years.

Thanks to our long-time Delta partner Laymon Jones for originating this award and arranging for them. We have only given this award three times in our history so we regard it as a high honor we can give to recognize distinguished advocacy and leadeship for our region.

Other participants include:

–Joe Quinn, Wal-Mart Senior Director for Issue Management and Strategic Outreach, speaking about the tremendously important charitable donations and job creation activities of Wal-Mart across the Delta region;

–Dr. Mildred Barnes Griggs of the Seeds of Change project which is led by Robert Cole, executive director of the East Arkansas Enterprise Community as well as Heifer International and many other local leaders across east Arkansas;

–Senchel Matthews, manager for Heifer International’s work in the east Arkansas Delta;

–Bill Bynum, CEO of Hope Enterprise Corp., a major foundation based in Jackson, MS but active across the region;

–President Ivye Allen of the Foundation for the Mid-South, a major regional organization based in Jackson;

–George Miles, Executive Director of Delta LISC based in Greenville, MS, a major regional organization;

–a senior executive from Fed Ex Express in Memphis, Tennessee, a major corporation that of course plays a major economic role in the region;

–Rex Nelson, president of Arkansas Indpendent Colleges and Universities and former senior aide to Gov. Mike Huckabee and former DRA Alternate Federal Co-Chairman;

–Karama Neal of Southern Bancorp, which has many innovative activities across the Delta region;

–Jessica Vermilyea of New Orleans, Louisiana, an emergency relief expert who was heavily involved in the rebuilding efforts after Hurricanes Katrina, Rica and the BP oil spill and other relief issues for Louisiana;

–Herbert Simmons of Grambling University-one of our long-time steadfast partners in higher education in the region, and also of the Greater Northern Louisiana Community Development Corporation based in Jonesboro, Louisiana;

–Mayor Sheldon Day of Thomasville, Alabama, who has a very successful record of job creation in his city in the Alabama Black Belt;

–Melissa Rice McGowan of the southeast Missouri Feeding America food bank that covers southeast Missouri from Cape Girardeau to the Arkansas border;

–Henry Golatt, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Director of their Economic Research and Development Center;

–Barrett Harrison, executive director of the Blytheville-Gosnell Regional Airport Authority, which does a great deal of economic development work in Mississippi County;

–Heather Maxwell, executive director of the Crossroads Coalition, an organization that promotes community and economic development over a large section of northeast and east central Arkansas;

–Last but certainly not least, Maria Baez de Hicks, Vice Chair of the Hispanic Caucus who will speak about issues related to the rapidly growing Hispanic community in the Delta.

Please help us advocate for the community and economic development of our region on May 2-3 at the Clinton Center. Thanks–Lee Powell, Delta Grassroots Caucus (202) 360-6347