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.

Grassroots Leaders from all 8 States, Candidates' Forums, & Remembering Carol Willis--Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Delta Caucus

Posted on September 30, 2018 at 11:49 AM

The Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Delta Caucus features grassroots leaders from across the 8-state Greater Delta Region, as well as bipartisan forums for candidates in key races including Rep. French Hill and Clarke Tucker in 2nd Congressional District; Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Jared Henderson; Rep. Rick Crawford and Chintan Desai in the 2nd District.

Although these are Arkansas elections, they feature key issues on health care, SNAP, jobs and the economy, infrastructure and other issues that are common and crucial across the region.

Deadlines coming up on Oct. 15: the early registration fee deadline is Oct. 15, and fees go up after that date. The group hotel deadline to get the low discount rate is also Oct. 15. That info is below in this message.

We are planning to dedicate the Greater Delta Region conference on Oct. 31-Nov. 1 to the legacy of Carol Willis, a great champion for the region who was from the heartland Delta community of McGehee, Arkansas. He was one of President Clinton’s closest and most trusted advisers, and always fought for the economically distressed people of his native Delta region.

REGISTRATION

You register by sending in the early registration fees by Oct. 15, which are $125 for those who have paid annual membership dues, or $100 for those who have paid their dues.

GROUP DISCOUNT: We offer a substantial discount if you can organize a group of four or more people, down to $60 each.

For state legislators or others who have major restrictions on their time or a small number of other similarly situated people based in the Little Rock area, we will pro-rate the fees according to how long they can be there. Generally we ask that everyone attend both sessions if at all possible.

Registration fees are an essential part of our budget and we have to ask for fees from everyone at the conference except for President Bill Clinton, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Members of Congress and Congressional candidates.

The easiest way to pay the registration fees is on the website at mdgc.us by going to the PayPal link and clicking on the link that says “Donate.”

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

After Oct. 15 registration fees go up to $150 to give an incentive to get the fees in on time.

Bob Nash, community and economic development expert, USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development and later Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel for President Clinton, will speak at the opening session, Wednesday evening Oct. 31 at the Arkansas Capitol Rotunda about Carol Willis’ legacy, especially regarding the Delta. Bob Nash will speak along with community leaders from across the 8-state region.

The opening session as a whole is Wednesday evening, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Arkansas Capitol Rotunda. We are working on finalizing the other speakers for that session.

The Clinton Library session is Nov. 1, Thursday morning and lunch, 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Candidate forums will be Thursday morning, Nov. 1 at the Clinton Library from about 9 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.

1st District: state Rep. Clarke Tucker, Democratic nominee, 9:05 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.; Congressman French Hill, 9:30 a.m. to 9:55 a.m.

Governor: Jared Henderson, Democratic nominee, 10 a.m. to 10:25 a.m.; Gov. Asa Hutchinson, 10:25 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.;

2nd District: Democratic nominee Chintan Desai, 10:50 a.m. to 11:05 a.m.; Congressman Rick Crawford, 11:05 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.

We will have two questioners for the candidates, including Bud Cummins, former US Attorney and distinguished lawyer, and Delta Caucus Director Lee Powell.

Both questioners are making every effort to be fair. The questioners are one coming from a Republican background (Bud Cummins is former Republican nominee for the 2nd Congressional District), and Lee Powell was a Presidential appointee in the Clinton administration. Having one of the questioners coming from a Republican background and the other from a Democratic background assures a bipartisan approach.

We will try to open it up for a few questions from the audience if our time permits, although we have a very jam-packed program.

This is bipartisan and we will not endorse any candidate, but want to hear from all of them about what they would do to improve the region’s economy if elected.

Then we will have several speakers on safety net programs for socially and economically distressed populations in Health Care, Nutrition, and related issues, 11:20 a.m. to noon

LUNCHEON

Women’s Issues and Educational Opportunities for All in the Delta

Representative from the Clinton Foundation, (Invited, TBD)

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

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

Rupa Dash, CEO, World Woman Federation

Key issues: Most of the speakers over the two days will be grassroots leaders, nonprofits, business leaders, universities and colleges, and experts on key issues like health care, job creation, transportation and other infrastructure, SNAP and other USDA programs, education, and Delta heritage tourism.

List of speakers from across the region is below in this email.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. REGISTRATION

II. BASIC SCHEDULE

III. GROUP HOTEL

IV. LIST OF PARTICIPANTS

A. REGISTRATION

You register by sending in the early registration fees by Oct. 15, which are $125 for those who have paid annual membership dues, or $100 for those who have paid their dues.

GROUP DISCOUNT: We offer a substantial discount if you can organize a group of four or more people, down to $60 each.

For state legislators or others who have major restrictions on their time or a small number of other similarly situated people based in the Little Rock area, we will pro-rate the fees according to how long they can be there. Generally we ask that everyone attend both sessions if at all possible.

Registration fees are an essential part of our budget and we have to ask for fees from everyone at the conference except for President Bill Clinton, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Members of Congress and Congressional candidates.

The easiest way to pay the registration fees is on the website at mdgc.us by going to the PayPal link and clicking on the link that says “Donate.”

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

After Oct. 15 registration fees go up to $150 to give an incentive to get the fees in on time.

B. SCHEDULE:

The opening session is Wednesday evening, Oct. 31 at the Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

(Optional networking dinner at group hotel restaurant, Camp David, Holiday Inn Presidential Center, after the opening session ends, about 7:10 p.m. This is strictly a socializing occasion but it is often a constructive way to share information and expand your networks without the time pressure of the formal sessions.)

Clinton Library session–Thursday, Nov. 1 at the Great Hall of the Clinton Library from 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Most speakers will be grassroots leaders, including nonprofits, educators, local elected officials, experts in health care, nutrition and other issues relating to the development of the region.

We have shortened the conference so it is just a relatively brief opening session on Wednesday evening Oct. 31 and then a morning and lunch session the next day Nov. 1, with no afternoon session. The condensed schedule makes it easier for people to be there for both sessions. Last year we were very pleased that virtually everybody stayed until the end and we did not have any issue of people leaving early, and aim for the same positive result this year.

C. GROUP HOTEL

The Holiday Inn Presidential in the Little Rock River Market district close to the Clinton Library is the group hotel.

To get the low group rate of $89 for Oct. 31, please call the hotel at (501) 375-2100 and say you are with the Delta Caucus group, before the reservation deadline of Oct. 15.

This is a very good rate for a high quality hotel in the Little Rock River Market area. We were negotiating with three hotels and received good offers from all three, and the rate kept going down the longer we haggled. The sales manager was afraid if she kept negotiating with me she might wind up giving us the rooms for free, so she was relieved when the negotiating process finally ended­čśâ!

Most people will only stay one night to cut down on expenses, but we also have a smaller number of rooms for the night of Nov. 1 in case anyone wants to stay an extra night.

D. PARTICIPANTS

Confirmed participants in addition to the nominees from both parties for Governor and Members from the 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts (AR) as of now include:

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

· Mayor Errick Simmons, Greenville, Mississippi;

· Mike Marshall, CEO, Sikeston Missouri Economic Development organization and Regional Chamber of Commerce;

· Bob Nash, community and economic development expert, former USDA Under Secretary of Rural Development, and Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel in the Clinton administration;

· Mayor Diane Delaware, Yazoo City, Mississippi;

· Randy Henderson, Nucor Yamato Steel and Nucor Steel of Arkansas, Blytheville, Arkansas, veteran Delta regional leader;

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

· Bo Ryall, CEO, Arkansas Hospitals Association, expert on the Arkansas Works health insurance program;

· Rupa Dash, CEO, World Woman’s Federation, a national and international women’s issues organization;

· Ginny Blankenship, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families;

· Joey Keys, Southeast Missouri Food Bank, based in Cape Girardeau and serving the southeast Missouri Delta area;

· Janis Kearney, Founding Publisher, Writing Our World Press, Little Rock, Arkansas;

· Southeast Missouri State University Economic and Business Engagement Center;

· Millie Atkins, community leader from Monroe, Louisiana, Co-Chair of the Economic Equality Caucus;

· Heifer International, international nonprofit with programs serving the Delta—Perry Jones and Tyler Pearson;

· Alan Gumbel, Director of Grants and Special Initiatives, Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce, Memphis, Tennessee;

· Glendscene Williams, Director, Center for Business and Entrepreneurial Research, Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi;

· Nathan Pittman, Senior Vice President for Communications, Southern Bancorp Community Partners;

· Mayor Sheldon Day, Thomasville, Alabama, in the Alabama Black Belt;

· Tracey Barnett, professor in the School of Social Work, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, conducting research on the SNAP program in Arkansas;

· Will Staley, Director, THRIVE nonprofit based in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, with projects across the Delta;

· Kyle Miller, Delta Cultural Center, Helena;

· Kevin Smith, long-time Delta regional advocate, Helena;

· State Rep. Chris Richey, Director of the Phillips County (AR) Chamber of Commerce;

· Raychelle Grant, time-keeper and assistant for the Delta Caucus during the conference, TOPPS nonprofit in Pine Bluff, AR;

· Dumas Chamber of Commerce and other community leaders from southeast Arkansas;

· State Sen. David Wallace, R-Leachville;

· State Rep. Monte Hodges, D-Blytheville;

· Harvey Joe Sanner, American Agriculture Movement of Arkansas, Des Arc;

· Priscilla Johnson and Mississippi County Economic Opportunity Commission;

· Johnny Pettis, Society of St. Andrew, project promoting fresh fruit and vegetable production in the Delta;

· Porter Briggs, Little Rock businessman and one of the leaders to save the historic White River Bridge in the east Arkansas Delta;

· Candidates for a state legislative seat in Little Rock, which is not in the heart of the Delta but is adjacent to it and we want to include this city in our advocacy work—Democratic nominee is Andrew Collins, Republican nominee is Judith Goodson;

· Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, based in East Point, Georgia, active across the South;

International visitors from India: We plan to welcome a group of elected officials from the great nation of India—the second most heavily populated country in the world and a major economic partner in the global economy, through the Global Ties Arkansas international visitors program. The group from India are there to witness the American democratic process and grassroots community and economic development advocacy at work.

´╗┐India has significant trading and investment connections to the USA, and there is potential for economic partnerships with their growing nation. The Delta exports vast quantities of products across the globe and we want to welcome groups of international visitors to our region every year.