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.

Political Leaders, Gov. Beebe, Pres. Clinton, Women Speakers for June 12-13 Delta event

Posted on June 09, 2014 at 02:44 PM

“Major Candidates for Governor, US Senate, US House, Gov. Beebe, President Clinton by Live Call-in, & Speakers on Women and Children’s Issues, June 12-13 Delta conference at Clinton Library”

All 10 major candidates for major hotly contested Arkansas elections for governor, US Senate, US House will answer questions about their positions on the economy, Obamacare and the private option, and other key issues at the Thursday-Friday June 12-13 Delta conference at the Clinton Library.

We will have an impressive line-up of speakers from all over the region on women and children’s issues.

Gov. Mike Beebe will speak about the private option and the economy at the Thursday evening opening session at 5:20 p.m.

A group of state legislators including Sen. David Sanders (R-central Arkansas) and others will be there as well, due to the great interest in the private option.

President Bill Clinton is currently expected to give a live presentation by technical hook-up on Friday on substantive issues regarding the economy, childhood nutrition and health care, and climate change. We currently plan for him to be projected by audio-visual equipment on the big screen at the Clinton Library Great Hall so we can both see and hear him live. The exact time has not been finalized.

Key women and children’s issues will include nutrition, health care, leadership opportunities for women in business, elected office and other major institutions, equal pay for equal work for women, and other issues specific to women and children, who have alarmingly high poverty rates in our region. We support Secretary Hillary Clinton’s leadership in her No Ceilings initiative to uplift women and girls in the Delta and across the globe.


  1. Key speakers and issues

  2. Late Registration at the front desk

  3. List of speaking times for elected officials, candidates for major office, Gov. Beebe and President Clinton’s currently scheduled for some point on Friday

  4. Full agenda

  5. Announcement—New Orleans will be the site of the Delta regional fall conference, in mid-October

The candidates will follow each other on the program, and they will be asked specific questions by moderators Lee Powell, Caucus Director, and Rex Nelson, President of Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities about what their positions and actions would be if elected; the format is intended for the candidates to make specific statements on the key issues and define the differences between their positions and their opponents. The audience will also ask a few questions after the moderated section.

Each candidate will be given 30 minutes over the course of the two-day conference to be sure and have enough time to make their case on the issues.

PLEASE NOTE: Republican gubernatorial nominee Asa Hutchinson and Democratic nominee Mike Ross will speak right after each other on Friday, June 13 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. for about thirty minutes each. Hutchinson goes first and then Ross.


Those who learned about the conference late will be asked to pay registration fees at the front desk depending on how long they will be there. (They can RSVP at This would start at $25 and increase according to how long they will be there, on up to $125.

Registrations are normally sent in by making out a check to “Delta Caucus” and mailing the check to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

Given the short time frame it is too late to mail in the fees so those registering late will have to do so at the front desk.

Late registration fees only apply for those who had been notified about the early registration deadline’s lower fee passed in May, 2014, but they did not send in the early fees or inform us that they definitely planned to come. Those late fees go up to $150.

For those who had no way of knowing about the early registration deadline, it would not be fair to ask for late fees in their cases.


The group hotel is the Comfort Inn Presidential near the Clinton Library in Little Rock. Please call the hotel at 501-687-7700 and say you are with the Delta Caucus group—there are still some rooms available.


Key speaking times: Opening session as a whole is 4:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Thursday, June 12 at the Clinton Library Great Hall, and then Friday, June 13, 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Beginning panel on women and children’s issues, 4:15 p.m. to 5:20 p.m.

5:20 p.m. to 6 p.m.–Gov. Mike Beebe, Thursday

State legislators will be there as well to discuss the private option, including Sen. James Sanders (R-Little Rock) and Rep. Mark McElroy (D-Tillar) and many others.

6 p.m. to 7: 30 p.m.–US Rep. Tom Cotton, US Senate Republican candidate, Thursday, by live audio and video

6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.–Mayor Patrick Henry Hays, Second District Congressional Democratic candidate

7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.–US Rep. Rick Crawford, First District Republican candidate for re-election


9 a.m. to 9: 30 a.m.–James Lee Witt, Fourth District Democratic candidate and former Director of FEMA for President Clinton

9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.–Mayor Jackie McPherson of Heber Springs, First District candidate

10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.–Asa Hutchinson, Republican nominee for governor

10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.–Mike Ross, Democratic nominee for governor

11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. –Women and children’s issues speakers

11:30 a.m., US Senator Mark Pryor, Democratic candidate for re-election

12:20–President Bill Clinton–currently scheduled, although his schedule often changes; by live technical hook-up

1 p.m. to 1:25 p.m.–French Hill, Republican candidate for Second Congressional district

1:25 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.–State Rep. Bruce Westerman, Republican candidate for Fourth Congressional district


Other speakers at other times will be grassroots leaders from all eight states covering job creation and economic development, health care, hunger and nutrition, transportation, broadband and other infrastructure improvements, women and children’s issues due to the alarmingly high poverty rates for women–especially single mothers heading households, and children–especially African American and Hispanic children in our region.

V. Latest Rough Draft of Full 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

10:30 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

President Bill Clinton, speaking by live audio call-in (President Clinton’s schedule often changes at the last minute due to his extremely busy schedule.)

Sen. Charlie Cole Chaffin, educator and woman political leader (former statewide nominee, Lt. Governor)

1 p.m. to about 1:25 p.m.–French Hill, Second District Congressional Republican nominee

1:25 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.–State Rep. Bruce Westerman, Fourth District Congressional Republican nominee

1:50 p.m. to 2:50 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.

VI. New Orleans will be the site of the Delta fall conference in mid-October, 2014

We would like to announce that the fall Delta Grassroots Caucus regional conference will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana, hosted by Rev. Dwight Webster, senior pastor at Christian Unity Baptist Church in downtown New Orleans. It will be in mid to late October, exact time to be announced in the near future.

Many of you will remember Rev. Webster as the dynamic speaker who previously spoke at several of our meetings in Washington, DC and at the Clinton Library.

Rev. Webster is a survivor of Hurricane Katrina, as are many of his parishioners at Christian Unity Baptist Church. They have endured and we admire them for rebuilding after the disasters of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as the BP oil spill.

Rev. Webster will be one of our speakers, and we will be inviting the candidates in the hotly contested US Senate race in Louisiana, US Sen. Mary Landrieu and Rep. Cassidy, to speak.

We will announce the exact date and times later. Many thanks to Rev. Webster for agreeing to host our regional conference in the sanctuary of his historic church.