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.

Updated Agenda & Note on Starting Times for Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Greater Delta Region Conference

Posted on October 26, 2018 at 03:46 PM

The Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2018 Greater Delta Region conference will feature important Congressional and gubernatorial candidates’ forums, as well as grassroots leaders on economic development across the 8-state region. Updated agenda and notes on timing are below.

We are dedicating this conference to the legacy of the late, great Carol Willis, a true champion for the community and economic progress of his native Delta region and our country as a whole. Bob Nash, community and economic development expert, former Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel and USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development, will give a presentation paying tribute to Carol’s legacy at the Oct. 31 opening session.


OPENING SESSION—Wednesday evening Oct. 31, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda

Please note: Little Rock rush hour traffic gets very heavy starting a little before 4 p.m., so please allow time to get there when we have to start with the first speaker promptly at 4:30 p.m.

CLINTON LIBRARY SESSION: Thursday morning and lunch, Nov. 1, 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Clinton Library Great Hall

Please note: Little Rock morning rush hour traffic is heavy from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and we need to start promptly at 8:15 a.m.


You register by paying the late registration fees, which are $150, although we have some larger group discount rates for networks that plan to bring a group.

The fastest and easiest way to pay the registration fees is to go to the website at and go to the Paypal link at the top of the site that says “Donate.”

If you are very late in paying the registration fees you can bring a check to the front desk on Nov. 1 at the Clinton Library, but we would greatly prefer that you just use the PayPal link on the website.

While we discourage people from coming in briefly for these conferences except for Congressional and gubernatorial candidates, state legislators, and a few others at that level, for campaign staffers who come in for the candidates’ forum we would request $25 each, which is the minimum we request from all people, as we have indicated many times previously.

By Arkansas Capitol rules, we cannot accept any checks at the Arkansas Capitol Rotunda session on Wednesday evening, Oct. 31.

Thanks—Lee Powell, Executive Director, Delta Grassroots Caucus (202) 360-6347

Greater Delta Region Conference, October 31-November 1, 2018

Little Rock, Arkansas

We would like to dedicate this conference to the legacy of the late, great Carol Willis, Senior Adviser to President Bill Clinton, a True Champion for his native Greater Delta Region and social, racial and economic justice everywhere.

Information Tables

Sikeston, Missouri Economic Development Foundation and Supporters of Interstate 57 from Sikeston, Missouri to Little Rock, Arkansas

Heifer International

Society of St. Andrew Fresh Produce Project for Nutrition, Limited Resource Farmers, and Rural Economic Development—Johnny Pettis

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families

Dumas, Arkansas Chamber of Commerce

**Opening Session, Wednesday Evening, Oct. 31, 4:30 p.m.–7 p.m. Rotunda of the Arkansas State Capitol**

“Best Practices in Community and Economic Development”

4:30 p.m. to 5:40 p.m.

Lee Powell, Introduction

Millie Atkins, Co-Chair of Economic Equality Caucus and Delta Caucus; Community Leader, Monroe, Louisiana

Nathan Pittman, Southern Bancorp, Senior Vice President for Policy and Communications

Ginny Blankenship, Education Policy Director, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families

Alan Gumbel, Veteran Delta regional advocate, now with Greater Memphis Alliance for Workforce Development, Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor Sheldon Day, Thomasville, Alabama

“Interstate 57 from Sikeston, Missouri to Little Rock, Arkansas”

5:40 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.

Mike Marshall, CEO, Sikeston, Missouri Area Economic Development Foundation

“A Tribute **to the Legacy of Carol Willis, a Champion for the Delta”

5:50 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Bob Nash, community and economic development expert, USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development and Director of White House Presidential Personnel for President Bill Clinton

“Jobs, Infrastructure, Small to Mid-Sized Towns and Rural Economic Development”

6 p.m. to 6:40 p.m.

Ben Burkett, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Jackson, Mississippi

Mayor Errick Simmons, Greenville, Mississippi

Rep. Vivian Flowers, Pine Bluff, Arkansas (please note—Rep. Flowers is recipient of the first annual Carol Willis scholarship for this conference, which is intended to recognize emerging political leaders in the Greater Delta Region

Mayor Shirley Washington, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Mayor Diane Delaware, Yazoo City, Mississippi

“The Great Potential of Opportunity Zones for the Delta” 6:40 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Brad Cole, Executive Director, Municipal League for the state of Illinois

Lisa C. Ferrell, CEO, North Bluffs Development, Founding Partner of Southern Capital Opportunity Zone Fund, Attorney, Little Rock

Thursday, Nov. 1, 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Library

8:15 a.m.—Lee Powell, Introduction

8:30 a.m. Opening speaker–Rep. Reginald Murdock, Marianna, Arkansas—on Arkansas Works health insurance program

8:40 a.m. to 8:50 a.m.—Judith Goodson, state legislature candidate

8:50 a.m. to 9 a.m.—Andrew Collins, state legislature candidate

Forum for Candidates in the Second Congressional District Election

Questioners for candidates’ forums are Lee Powell, Caucus Director, and Brad Cole, previously a senior aide to former US Senator Mark Kirk, Republican of Illinois, veteran Delta regional advocate, now executive director of the Municipal League of Illinois, Delta Caucus Board of Directors

9: a.m. to 9:30 a.m.—State Rep. Clarke Tucker, Second Congressional District Democratic nominee

9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.—Congressman French Hill, Second Congressional District

Forum for Candidates for Governor of Arkansas

10 a.m. to 10:25 a.m.—Jared Henderson, Democratic nominee for Governor of Arkansas

10:25 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.—Governor Asa Hutchinson

Forum for Candidates for First Congressional District of Arkansas

10:50 a.m. to 11:05 a.m.—Chintan Desai, Democratic nominee for First Congressional District of Arkansas

11:05: a.m to 11:20 a.m..—Congressman Rick Crawford, First District of Arkansas

“Issues Regarding the Most Vulnerable Populations—Health Care, Nutrition, Immigration, Dreamers”

11;20 a.m. to 11:30 .a.m..–Bo Ryall, Arkansas Hospitals Association, on the Arkansas Works health insurance program

11:38 a.m. to 11:46 a.m, Joey Keys, Chief Advancement Officer, Southeast Missouri Food Bank, on hunger and nutrition covering 16 counties in the southeast Missouri Delta

11:46 to 11:55 a.m.—Maria Meneses, Arkansas United Coalition Community Organizer and Student, Philander Smith College, on Hispanics and Dreamers Issues in Arkansas

11:55 to 12:03—Will Staley, nonprofit THRIVE, based in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas


Kevin Smith, veteran Delta regional advocate from Helena-West Helena, introducing Clinton Foundation Executive—either Executive Editor Stephanie Streett or Deputy Executive Editor Lena Moore regarding the Clinton Foundation’s USA domestic programs on women’s issues, nutrition, health care and other philanthropic activities

12:10 to 1:30 p.m.

“Womens’ Issues and Education”

Professor Tracey Barnett, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, on her research regarding the impact of proposed cuts in the SNAP program in Arkansas

Rupa Dash, CEO, World Woman Foundation

Betty Dobson, Executive Director, Upper Town Heritage Foundation, Paducah, Kentucky

Chancellor Debra West, Arkansas State University Mid-South, West Memphis

Appreciation for Sponsors

Delta Grassroots Caucus, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2018, Arkansas State Capitol and Clinton Library Great Hall, Little Rock, Arkansas

Lead Sponsor

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

Major Co-Sponsors

Sikeston, Missouri Regional Chamber & Office of Economic Development

Heifer International


Municipal League of Illinois

Harvey Joe Sanner, President, American Agriculture Movement of Arkansas

Millie Atkins, Co-Chair, Economic Equality Caucus, Community Leader based in Monroe, Louisiana

Municipal League of Arkansas

Delta Grassroots Partners

Last but not least, we would like to thank the hundreds of grassroots partners across the Greater Delta Region and the Washington, DC area for their many contributions of registration fees, annual membership dues, and other voluntary contributions in the amounts of $150, $125, $100, $75, $50 and $25.

As a grassroots private sector coalition, we need to have a diversified financial base with large numbers of medium-sized and smaller contributions, and we could not do our work without these numerous contributions.