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.

Delta Caucus Starts May 26 4 p.m. at AR Capitol Rotunda, then May 27 at Clinton Library

Posted on May 25, 2015 at 02:29 PM

The Delta Grassroots Caucus conference on economic equality for working families, women and children’s issues and civil rights starts at 4 p.m. at the Rotunda of the Arkansas State Capitol, Tuesday, May 26, and continues on Wednesday, May 27 at the Clinton Library from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Please arrive promptly at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Capitol Rotunda, when the program starts.

Please take note that rush hour traffic has become much more congested in Little Rock, and it starts getting crowded at 4:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. and later, so if you get caught in the rush hour logjam you will be sitting in traffic while major speakers like Gov. Asa Hutchinson starts at 5 p.m., then US Sen. John Boozman at 5:30.

Then we have former Gov. Mike Beebe at 6 p.m. speaking for Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign and then Alice Stewart, Communications Director for Mike Huckabee for President at 6:30 p.m.

For those staying at the Holiday Inn Presidential, (phone is (501) 375-2100, you will need to leave at 3:45 or close to it to get there in plenty of time.** Traffic should be okay at that time. It takes a few minutes to go through the Capitol entrance take the elevator to the second floor Rotunda.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks at the Rotunda at 5 p.m. on the special session job creation project, and separately, health insurance, followed by Speaker Jeremy Gillam and US Sen. Boozman at 5:30, then the Presidential campaign speakers from 6 to 7 p.m.

Please note that the Rotunda is a minor room change from the earlier room noted, which was just down the hallway on the same floor. A legislative committee decided to use that room and they have the authority to bump all other organizations at any time they choose. The Rotunda is a historic, spacious setting.

There is great interest in our group in the two Presidential contenders who have strong ties to Arkansas and the Delta: former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Secretary Hillary Clinton, who are on the program from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m at the opening.

This is the first time that Gov. Mike Beebe has served as a surrogate speaker for Hillary Clinton’s campaign, and we are glad to have Gov. Huckabee’s communications director, Alice Stewart, speaking on behslf of the Huckabee campaign.

On both days of the conference we will have many distinguished women leaders like Kay Goss, President Clinton’s FEMA Associate Director, author and educator, Janis Kearney, White House aide for President Clinton, author and publisher and many others.

For further questions, call our staffer for this event, Bonita Hobbs at (870) 821-1756 or Rep. Mark McElroy at (870) 222-8217.

For those whose flights are arriving late in the afternoon: All attendees at the Delta Caucus conference will be permitted to enter after 5 p.m., because Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Speaker of the Arkansas House Jeremy Gillam, State Rep. Mark McElroy, US Sen. Boozman, former Gov. Mike Beebe, and a senior official of former Gov. Mike Huckabee’s campaign will be there.

Due to the Governor’s participation and other high-level officials, the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office informed us that if you inform security that you are going to our event, they will allow you to enter the Capitol, which is normally closed to the public after 5 p.m.

The program starts shortly after 4 p.m. with Delta Caucus senior officials, Kay Goss and distinguished women speakers, so again we urge all our partners to get there at 4 p.m. if at all possible, unless you are flying in and you arrive late in the afternoon.


1) Opening on Tuesday afternoon: At 5 p.m. Gov. Asa Hutchinson on the south Arkansas job creation project and Arkansas’ health insurance coverage expansion program, Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillam leaders on women and children’s issues, US Sen. John Boozman on pending legislation for job creation and highway funding, Kay Goss and other distinguished women leaders.

2) Presidential campaign speakers, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at opening: former Gov. Mike Beebe speaking for Hillary Clinton’s campaign from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., Alice Stewart, Communications Director for Mike Huckabee for President.


1) Wednesday, Clinton Library session: 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.–First morning panel with experts on gender and racial equality and justice, and later, Congressman Bruce Westerman at 10 a.m.

2) 10:20 to 11:30 a.m.: At 11 a.m. President Bill Clinton speaks by live call-in on economic equality, his work in supporting better nutrition for children, and civil rights/diversity.

Presentation from the nationally recognized hunger and poverty expert Joel Berg at 10:20 a.m., former Presidential appointee in the Clinton administration at USDA headquarters in Washington, DC, now executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.

3) We will have additional health insurance coverage experts from 11:30 a.m. to noon

4) Luncheon on economic progress and civil rights/race relations:

Congressman Rick Crawford will speak on pending federal legislation on job creation and economic growth such as opening farm trade to Cuba, the Trans-Pacific trade deal, highway funding.

Then we have Maida Coleman, Director of the Missouri Office of Community Engagement who works on improving race relations in Ferguson, Missouri for Gov. Jay Nixon;

President Terri Lynn Freeman of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his philosophy of non-violent solutions to social, racial and economic justice.

5) Big picture panel on best practices in regional community and economic development, with leaders from Southern Bancorp, Heifer International, the national Housing Assistance Council, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, former Clinton administration appointee at US DOT during Secretary Rodney Slater’s tenure, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, and the western Kentucky Minority Economic Development Initiative.

This event is bipartisan and the Delta Grassroots Caucus will not make an endorsement of any candiates.

We can still accommodate a limited number of people who learned of the conference late who can bring their registration fee checks to the front desk at the time of the conference. Registration, rough draft of an agenda, schedule and group hotel information are below in this email.

We have had several last-minute changes in the speaking schedule for reasons beyond our control

Health insurance coverage expansion in Arkansas and across the region: We will have Arkansas Speaker of the House Jeremy Gillam, Arkansas Hospital Association Director Bo Ryall, Rich Huddleston of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, CEO Natalie Burke of the Mississippi Common Health Action, and Shiloh Dietz, women and children’s health care in Illinois, from Southern Illinois University’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Agenda: Below in this message we provide the latest rough draft of an agenda, although we need to emphasize that some of the speakers always have to make last-minute changes for reasons beyond our control, and then of course we have to change other parts of the schedule. So the speaking times will change many times between now and the May 26-27 Delta conference.


  1. Basic Schedule

  2. Late Registration

  3. Agenda


The opening session is on Tuesday, May 26 at the Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda from 4 p.m. to approximately 7:45 p.m.

Then on Wednesday, May 27 we meet for most of the day at the Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Library, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.


For those who only recently learned of this event or did not know about the May 1 early registration deadline, we will still ask only for the early registration fee of $125 (or $100 for those who have paid their annual dues for 2015) rather than the higher late fees of $150, which we request to provide an incentive to get the fees in on time. For those who are working on a group to register, we offer a discount to $75 each.

For those who notified us that they were definitely coming to the event by email at or phone at 202-360-6347 and are in the process of mailing the fees in now, we will also only ask for the early registration fee level of $125. Otherwise, late fees are $150 each.


(This is final unless speakers have to make last-minute changes that are beyond our control.)


Delta Grassroots Caucus

“Economic Equality, Women & Children’s Issues, Civil Rights”

May 26-27, 2015 Annual Delta Conference in Little Rock

(Please note: if speakers have to change their schedules at the last minute we will have to make adjustments in the schedule accordingly. These changes are beyond our control and we have to remain flexible due to the highly hectic schedules of President Clinton, the Governor, Members of Congress, and other very busy participants.)

OPENING SESSION—Tuesday, May 26, 2015, 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda

4 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.—Networking and allowing time for the attendees to arrive in the Rotunda

4:15—Introduction and Stand-Up Comedy Routine by Lee Powell, Chairman and Executive Director, Delta Grassroots Caucus, and Delta Caucus Vice Chairman, Rep. Mark McElroy

4:30 to 4:50 p.m.—Beginning of Speakers on Women and Children’s Issues (additional speakers on these issues will follow in many other parts of the conference)

Kay Goss, former Associate Director of FEMA in the Clinton administration and nationally recognized disaster relief expert, author and educator

Ruthanne Hill, Executive Director, Arkansas Single Parents Scholarship Fund

4:50 to 5 p.m.–Bo Ryall, Arkansas Hospital Association, speaking for Arkansas’ health insurance coverage expansion program

5 p.m. to 5:20 p.m.—Gov. Asa Hutchinson—speaking on the special session for job creation in south Arkansas, Arkansas’ health insurance program and related topics

5:20 to 5:30 p.m.—Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives Jeremy Gillam, speaking on health insurance expansion in Arkansas and the special session on job creation

5:30 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.—US Senator John Boozman

5:50 to 6 p.m.—Annette Dove, executive director, TOPPS nonprofit, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, along with Courteney Grant, 18-year old senior at Watson Chapel High School

6 p.m. to 7 p.m.—Session for the two Presidential candidates with deep ties to Arkansas and the Delta: Former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Secretary Hillary Clinton

Moderators: Lee Powell, Executive Director. Delta Grassroots Caucus, and Rex Nelson, President, Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities

6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.—Former Gov. Mike Beebe, speaking on behalf of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.—Alice Stewart, Communications Director, Mike Huckabee for President

CLOSING SPEAKERS—7 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.

7 P.M.–Maisie Wright, Director, KIPP Delta College Preparatory School, Blytheville, Arkansas

7:10 p.m.–Alexandra Rouse, staff attorney, Third Judicial Circuit, graduate of the Clinton School of Public Service, and Programming Director for Women Lead Arkansas

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 Session, 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Library

8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.—Panel on “Gender and Racial Equality and Justice”

  1. Millie Atkins, Speaker and Moderator, CenturyLink broadband expansion program in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, based in Monroe, Louisiana

  2. Bob Culler, First State Bank & Trust, Caruthersville, Missouri, African American community leader in southeast Missouri, speaking on police profiling and race relations

  3. Mireya Reith, Director, Arkansas United Coalition, working on immigration, voter education and turnout, police profiling of Hispanics, and other issues for Hispanics in Arkansas

  4. Lynnette Watts, Executive Director, Women’s Foundation of Arkansas

  5. Betty Dobson, Executive Director, Upper Town Heritage Foundation, Paducah, Kentucky, commemorating civil rights history in western Kentucky of the Hotel Metropolitan, where civil rights leaders, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Ike and Tina Turner and others stayed in the era of Jim Crow

  6. Janis Kearney, former White House aide in the Clinton administration, author of a book on the famous civil rights leader Daisy Bates, founding publisher of Writing Our World Press in Little Rock, Arkansas

10 a.m. to 10:20 a.m.—Congressman Bruce Westerman, Fourth District, Arkansas

10:20 to 10:50 a.m.–Joel Berg, Executive Director, New York City Coalition Against Hunger, former Presidential appointee at the Clinton administration at USDA national headquarters in Washington, DC

10:50 a.m.—Arnell Willis, African American leader from Helena-West Helena, Director, Arkansas Workforce Investment Board

11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.—President William Jefferson Clinton (speaking live over the audio system)

11:30 a.m. to noon—Health Care and Health Insurance Expansion

11:30 a.m.-11:40 a.m.—Marquita Little, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, speaking in support of Arkansas’ program for expanding health insurance

11:40 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.—Shiloh Dietz, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, health care issues for women and children and health insurance expansion in Illinois

11:50 a.m. to noon—Natalie Burke, CEO, Mississippi Common Health Action, Jackson, Mississippi, on the high rate of women dying in childbirth in Mississippi and the issue of health insurance in Mississippi


Noon to 12:10–Lee Powell, Caucus Director, announcements regarding key regional issues in the field of community and economic development

12:10 to 12:25–Congressman Rick Crawford, First District, Arkansas, introduced by Kay Goss, senior adviser to the Delta Grassroots Caucus

12:25 to 12:40–Terri Lynn Freeman, President, National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, on the legacy of the civil rights movement in the aftermath of Ferguson, Missouri & Baltimore

12:40–Maida Coleman, African American leader from Missouri, Director of Missouri Office of Community Engagement, Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri’s appointee in charge of dealing with Ferguson, Missouri, civil rights issues and similar issues across the state

1:p.m to 2:15 p.m.—“Big picture” Panel on Best Practices in Regional Community and Economic Development

  1. Karama Neal, speaker and moderator, Southern Bancorp Community Partners, engaged in many beneficial activities across the Delta region

  2. Ben Wihebrink, Heifer International domestic programs in the USA

  3. Carolyn Branton, National Housing Assistance Council (HAC), Regional Director of Southeast Regional Office of HAC

  4. Ben Burkett, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Mississippi

  5. Iris Crosby, Station Manager, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff program for agriculture demonstration and outreach center, based in Marianna, Arkansas

  6. Henry Snorton, Executive Director, Minority Economic Development Initiative, Hopskinsville, Kentucky in the western Kentucky Delta

Closing speaker–Wilson Golden, native of the great state of Mississippi, Presidential appointee in the Clinton administration, Congressional Affairs Director for US Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, one of four managers of the Clinton administration’s Delta Regional Initiative, and now senior adviser to the Delta Caucus

Appreciation for Sponsors

Delta Grassroots Caucus Conference

“Economic Equality, Women & Children’s Issues, Civil Rights”

May 26, 2015 Arkansas Capitol and May 27, 2015 Clinton Library Great Hall

Lead Sponsor

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

Major Co-Sponsors

Heifer International

Housing Assistance Council, Washington, DC

Partners from the City of Greenville and Washington County, Mississippi

Mississippi County AR Economic Opportunity Commission


Foundation for the Mid-South, headquarters in Jackson, MS, Active Across the Region

Judson College, Marion, Alabama

First State Bank & Trust, Caruthersville, Missouri McGehee Industrial Foundation, McGehee, Arkansas

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

The City of Sikeston, Missouri

Rep. Mark McElroy

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas

The City of Dumas, Arkansas

That Bookstore in Blytheville, AR, Chris Crawley

Delta Grassroots Partners

Last but not least, we would like to thank literally hundreds of grassroots partners across the Greater Delta Region, the Washington, DC area, and New York for many more modest contributions of registration fees and annual membership dues in amounts of $125, $100, $75, $50 and $25. As a grassroots regional coalition we need to have a diversified financial base with large numbers of modest contributions, and we could not do our work without these very numerous contributions over such a vast region.