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.

Latest Draft of Agenda for June 12-13, 2014 Delta Conference at Clinton Library

Posted on June 04, 2014 at 02:10 PM

Rough Draft of Agenda–inevitably there are last-minute changes when speakers have unexpected changes in their schedules, so this is not the final version.


Thursday, June 12, 2014, 4:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Clinton Presidential Library Great Hall


CenturyLink program for expanding access to broadband in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas; headquarters in Monroe, Louisiana

Sharemeister, Inc., CEO Marlon Henderson

That Bookstore, Blytheville, Arkansas, Chris Crawley

Writing Our World Press, Janis Kearney, Founding Publisher, Little Rock

TOPPS Nonprofit in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and other activities in Pine Bluff

The Food Trust, initiatives for nutrition across the Delta and the USA

4:15 p.m.—Introduction, Lee Powell, Executive Director, Delta Grassroots Caucus

4:30 to 5:20 p.m.—Women Leaders in the Greater Delta Region

  1. Moderator, Kay Goss, former Associate Director of FEMA and internationally recognized emergency relief expert

  2. Beatrice Shelby, executive director, Boys, Girls and Adults Community Development Corp., Phillips County, Arkansas

  3. Ruby Bright, executive director, Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis, Tennessee

  4. Betty Dobson, executive director of the Paducah, Kentucky, Upper Town Heritage Foundation and the famous Hotel Metropolitan

5:20 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.—Governor Mike Beebe of Arkansas (Introduced by Rep. Mark McElroy of southeast Arkansas)

Political candidates’ format: For all of the political candidates, we use a format whereby Caucus Director Lee Powell and Rex Nelson, President, Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities, ask a series of questions on specific issues, and then we have a few audience questions.

6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.—Rep. Tom Cotton, candidate for the US Senate

6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.—Patrick Henry Hays, candidate for Second Congressional District

7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.—Congressman Rick Crawford, First District of Arkansas (Incumbent and running for re-election)

7:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.: Closing speaker for opening session: Blanche Hunt, Vice President of Community Relations, Arkansas Northeastern College in Blytheville, Arkansas


Friday, June 13, 2014, 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Clinton Presidential Library Great Hall

Opening speakers: 8:15 a.m. to 9 a.m.

  1. Billy McFarland, Alabama Black Belt Co-Coordinator for the Delta Caucus, on workforce training

  2. Jessica Vermilyea of New Orleans, Louisiana State Director for Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response—leader in recovery after Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill

  3. Mayor Thelma Collins, Itta Bena, Mississippi

9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.—James Lee Witt, Fourth District Democratic nominee, former Director of FEMA in the Clinton administration

9:30 a.m.–Mayor Jackie McPherson of Heber Springs, Democratic nominee, First Congressional District


10 a.m.—Asa Hutchinson, Republican nominee for Governor of Arkansas

10:40 a.m.—Mike Ross, Democratic nominee for Governor of Arkansas

11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.–Women & Children’s Issues Speakers

11 to 11:08 a.m.–Martha Ellen Black, Executive Director, Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center, southeast Missouri

11:08 to 11:16 a.m.–Janis Kearney, White House aide to President Bill Clinton, author of many books including a biography of famous civil rights leader Daisy Bates, founding publisher of Writing Our World Press, Little Rock, Arkansas

11:16 a.m.–Millie Atkins, Public Policy Manager, CenturyLink, based in Monroe, Louisiana, expanding access to broadband in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana

US SEN. MARK PRYOR 11:30 a.m. to noon

LUNCHEON–NOON to 1:30 p.m.

Annette Dove, Executive Director, Targeting Our People’s Priorities with Service (TOPPS), Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Recipient of Delta Nonprofit Leadership Award

Sen. Charlie Cole Chaffin, educator, distinguished woman leader, former statewide Democratic nominee (Lt. Gov.)

President Bill Clinton, speaking by live audio call-in (invited)

12:40 to about 1:05 p.m.–French Hill, Second District Congressional Republican nominee

1:05 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.–State Rep. Bruce Westerman, Fourth District Congressional Republican nominee

1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.—“Big Picture” Panel on Regional Economic Development

  1. Karama Neal, Moderator and Speaker, Director, Southern Bancorp Community Partners

  2. Randy Henderson, Nucor Yamato Steel and Nucor Steel of Arkansas, Blytheville, Arkansas

  3. Henry English, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff and East Arkansas Delta Seeds of Change project, and Robert Cole, East Arkansas Enterprise Community

  4. Delio Calzolari, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois

  5. Ed Sivak, Hope Credit Union/Enterprise Corp., headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi, serving Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee

  6. JoAnne Mills, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance



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


Housing Assistance Council, Washington, DC

Heifer International Seeds of Change Initiative

Southern Bancorp

Mississippi County AR Economic Opportunity Commission

McGehee Industrial Foundation

Kay Goss, Author: Mr. Chairman: The Life and Legacy of Wilbur D. Mills; and Chair, University of Arkansas J. William Fulbright College Fundraising Campaign for 2020

Hope Credit Union/Enterprise Corporation, headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi, serving Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee


First State Bank & Trust, Caruthersville, Missouri

University of West Alabama, Livingston, Alabama

Southeast Missouri Grassroots Partners

Harvey Joe Sanner, American Agriculture Movement of Arkansas

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas

Sen. Charlie Cole Chaffin

Rep. Mark McElroy

Dumas Chamber of Commerce


Last but not least, we would like to thank the literally hundreds of grassroots partners across the eight states, the Washington, DC area and elsewhere who made small to medium-sized contributions in the form of annual membership dues and/or registration fees for $150, $125, $100, $50 and $25.

For a grassroots regional coalition, it is important to have a diversified funding base of large numbers of modest contributions. They add up to a large amount and we could not do our work without these contributions from so many supporters across the Greater Delta Region and beyond.