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.

Jobs/Economy, Health Care, Nutrition, Diversity, Infrastructure--Key Issues for May 23-24 EEC in Washington, DC

Posted on May 03, 2018 at 01:02 PM

We would like to update the key issues and latest draft of the agenda for the May 23-24 Economic Equality Caucus conference in the Washington, DC area.

Key issues will include economic equality and progress, health care issues, SNAP and other nutrition programs, rural economic development and infrastructure, and diversity/civil rights as we pay tribute to the great legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the 50th anniversary of his assassination.







KEY ISSUES: Job creation at good wages, health care, SNAP, rural development and other USDA-related issues in the farm bill, transportation, housing and other infrastructure investments, economic opportunity and equality for women, minorities and financially distressed populations.

Speakers will include:

– Congressman Rick Crawford and Congressman French Hill (R-AR), Congressman James McGovern (D-MA), senior ranking member of the Nutrition Subcommittee and Co-Chair of the House Hunger Caucus, Sen, John Boozman, co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus, member of Agriculture Committee, major candidates from both parties in the nationally watched 10th District Congressional race in northern Virginia;

–USDA Food and Nutrition Service Deputy Administrator Rich Lucas, USDA national headquarters in Washington, DC, on SNAP and other nutrition programs,

–USDA Rural Development’s Betty-Ann Bryce, USDA national headquarters, on efforts to combat the opioids epidemic,

–policy organizations and leaders like Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a national nonprofit based in New York, and representatives from other major hunger and nutrition organizations like Feeding America, Food Research and Action Center, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, the Society of St. Andrew;

–Rural issues advocates such as Porter Briggs of the Save the White River Bridge campaign and Harvey Joe Sanner, president of the American Agriculture Movement of Arkansas;

–Rural housing and infrastructure organizations like Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corp.) and the Housing Assistance Council;

–Diversity/civil rights leaders including Rev. Dwight Webster, eloquent civil rights advocate, community leader and senior pastor of major churches over many years in Oakland, California and New Orleans, Louisiana (he is a survivor and victim of Hurricane Katrina), and Wilson Golden, a director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation based in Mississippi, with longstanding ties to both the Delta and Appalachian regions;

–The National Congress of American Indians;

–The nationally recognized nonprofit DC Central Kitchen’s Kimberly Brown—this is a Washington, DC-based nonprofits that has an excellent job preparation and creation program for developing careers in the food service industry;

–Community Family Life Services in Washington, DC, which has an innovative program for getting previously incarcerated women back in their feet with jobs, housing and health care;

–Capitol Hill Group Ministry, a faith-based nonprofit in Washington, DC, which unfortunately has great wealth and great poverty co-existing close together;

–Virginia nonprofits, faith-based institutions and grassroots leaders including Phillips Programs for Children and Families, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, Share, Inc. nonprofit in McLean/Tyson’s area; the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer Social Concerns Committee, Virginia Latino Leaders Council and other organizations in the key swing state of Virginia;

–The 10th Congressional District candidates from both parties—this district is a microcosm for the national public policy debate because it begins in urban northern Virginia but extends to rural and agricultural areas in western Virginia—Democrats Dan Helmer, Alison Friedman, Lindsey Davis Stover and Paul Pelletier are confirmed; Republican candidate Shak Hill is confirmed; and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) is invited (we will not endorse any candidate but want to hear from them all);

–We will hear from a senior official of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Washington, DC at the May 24 luncheon about their philanthropic work in our nation’s capital;

–Our partners would certainly like to see reforms and improvements to NAFTA and other trade partners, but NAFTA is beneficial for US agricultural exporters, and we would advocate for environmental and labor reforms rather than abandoning the agreement altogether.


The group hotel is the Staybridge Suites in McLean/Tyson’s. To get the group rate discounted to $239, please call the hotel at 703-448-5400 and say you are with the Economic Equality Caucus/Delta Caucus group for the night of May 23.

The Staybridge Suites offers free parking, free breakfast, and it is literally only about a three-minute hotel shuttle ride from the opening session at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 1545 Chain Bridge Road, so if you stay there you will not need a taxi ride.


You register by paying the registration fees.

For those who will be there for all three sessions, this is $100 by May 9. For those in the Washington, DC region who can only come to one session due to your work schedule requirements, we would ask for $20 per session.

The easiest way to register is to go to the website at and go to the PayPal link that says “Donate.” The PayPal process generates a written record of the transaction.

If you prefer to pay by check, please make out the check to “Delta Caucus” and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601



Wednesday evening, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 1545 Chain Bridge Road, McLean, in northern Virginia across the Potomac River from Capitol Hill

Reception: 4:45 to 5:5:15 p.,.

5:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.–Non-political session for nonprofits, grassroots leaders and faith-based entities

5:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.—Bipartisan forum for 10th Congressional District of Virginia Candidates from both parties


This is strictly just for socializing and networking, but many people find that useful contacts and information can be exchanged. This is a fine restaurant. (Folks pay their own way, of course.)


Thursday morning, May 24, 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Senate Russell Building Room 485


Thursday, May 24, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill near the Supreme Court, 212 E. Capitol

IV. Agenda Draft–Economic Equality Caucus, May 23-24, 2018, Washington, DC Area

Last-minute changes usually come up, so this is a draft.

May 23, Opening Session, McLean, Virginia (Washington, DC area), 5 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.

Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 1545 Chain Bridge Road, McLean, Virginia

5 p.m. to 5:20 p.m.—Reception

5:20 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.—Northern Virginia Leaders on Community and Economic Development in their region

Deanna Heier, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer Social Concerns Committee

Piper Phillips Caswell, CEO, Phillips Programs for Children and Families

Don Frickel, Share, Inc. nonprofit in McLean/Tyson’s area

Eileen Ellsworth, President, Community Foundation of Northern Virginia

5:50 p.m. to 7:40 p.m.—Bipartisan Forum for 10th Congressional District of Virginia Election

Questioners: –Megan Malone, Phillips Programs for Children and Families Board of Trustees member –Virginia Latino Leaders Council representative –Deanna Heier, Social Concerns Committee Chair, Lutheran Church of the Redeemer –Lee Powell, EEC Co-Chair

Dan Helmer, Democratic Candidate, US Army combat veteran, private businessman—5:45 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Alison Friedman, Democratic Candidate, Obama administration alum, diplomat, anti-human trafficking activist, 6 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.

6;15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Lindsey Davis Stover, Democratic Candidate, small business owner, Obama admin. alum, former Chief of Staff

Sen. Jennifer Wexton, Democratic Candidate, State Senator representing a northern Virginia district (invited)

Shak Hill, Republican Candidate, combat veteran, small business owner

Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, Republican, Incumbent Member of Congress representing the 10the District (INVITED)

Paul Pelletier, Democratic candidate, attorney, former federal prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice, 7:20 to 7:35 p.m.

OPTIONAL–informal socializing/networking dinner at J. Gilbert’s Restaurant in McLean near the Staybridge Suites group hotel

Thursday, May 24 US Senate Session, 8:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. Senate Russell Building Room 485

“Hunger and Nutrition, Rural Community and Economic Development & USDA-Related Issues”

8:40 a.m. to 8:50 a.m.–Lynette Johnson, Executive Director, Society of St. Andrew, national anti-hunger organization

9 a.m. to 9:10 a.m.–US Senator John Boozman, Co-Chair, Senate Hunger Caucus, Member of Agriculture Committee

—Patty Barker, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, on SNAP and other Nutrition Issues

9:18 to 9:25 a.m.—Carrie Calvert, Feeding America

Congressional Hunger Center (invited)

9:32 a.m. to 9:40 a.m.—Lauren Badger, Senior Government Relations Director, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)

USDA FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE Deputy Administrator, Rich Lucas

9:40 a.m.– Congressman Rick Crawford, Arkansas

10 a.m.—10:20 a.m.—Congressman French Hill, Arkansas

10:20 a.m. to 10: 27 a.m.—Ian Record, National Congress of American Indians

10:27 a.m. to 10:35 a.m., Betty-Ann Bryce, USDA Rural Development, on efforts to fight the opioids crisis in rural America

Steve Copley, Arkansas InterFaith, advocate for Dreamers and equality for Hispanics

10:35 TO 10:42 a..m.—10:27 a.m.—Brad Cole, Executive Director, Illinois Municipal League

10:42 a.m. to 11 a.m.—Sen. John Boozman (invited)

10:45 a.m.—10:52 a.m.—Porter Briggs, Save the White River Bridge Campaign

10:52 a.m. to 11 a.m.–Tracey Barnett, University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Social Work, research on SNAP—

**Thursday May 24 Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lutheran Church of the Reformation on Capitol Hill, 212 East Capitol (near the Supreme Court)**

Opening speaker—11:30 a.m. to 11:37 a.m.—Lutheran Church of the Reformation introduction

11:37 a.m. to 11:44 a.m.—Wilson Golden, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, Mississippi

11:44 a.m. to noon.–Rev. Dwight Webster, Senior Pastor, Oakland, California Beth Eden Baptist Church; formerly Senior Pastor, Christian Unity Baptist Church, New Orleans, Louisiana; survivor and victim of Hurricane Katrina

Noon to 12:15–Congressman James McGovern, Massachusetts, Co-Chair, US House of Representatives Hunger Caucus, Senior Ranking Democrat, House Agriculture Committee’s Nutrition Subcommittee

12:10 to 12:30—Kim Brown, Chief Program Officer, DC Central Kitchen, nationally recognized nonprofit based in Washington, DC; and another DC Central Kitchen speaker who is a graduate of their job preparation program

12:30 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.— Joel Berg, CEO, Hunger Free American, national hunger and poverty nonprofit based in New York

12:50 p.m. to 1 p.m.—Karen Cunningham, Executive Director, DC nonprofit, faith-based organization—Capitol Hill Group Ministry

1 p.m. to 1: 10 p.m.—Community Family Life Services, Ashley McSwain, Executive Director

1:10 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.— Lance George, Deputy Director, Housing Assistance Council

1:20 p.m. to 1:30 p.m–.Katrin Kark, Rural LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corp.)


Economic Equality Caucus, May 23-24, Washington, DC Area

We would like to express our great appreciation to US Sen. Thad Cochran, who retired this year after decades of bipartisan, statesmanlike service to Mississippi, the Greater Delta Region, and our country.


Nucor Yamato Steel and Nucor Steel of Arkansas


Illinois Municipal League

Wilson Golden, a Director of William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, Jackson, Mississippi

Winrock International

Sikeston, Missouri Regional Chamber of Commerce

Arkansas Municipal League

Mississippi County AR Economic Opportunity Commission

American Agriculture Movement of Arkansas

Delta Grassroots Partners

Last but not least, we would like to thank the many grassroots partners across the country for their many contributions of registration fees, annual membership dues and other voluntary contributions in the amounts of $125, $100, $75, $50 abd $25. As a grassroots private sector coalition, we need to have a diversified financial base with large numbers of small contributors, and we could not do our work without these numerous contributions.