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.

Education/workforce development/Jobs for Delta Conference at ASU Mid-South in West Memphis, April 25-26

Posted on March 18, 2019 at 01:19 PM

We have a strong line-up of federal, state, local and private sector leaders for the Greater Delta Region conference at Arkansas State University Mid-South on April 25-26.

Among the leaders are Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis, Mike Preston, Director of Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Daryl Bassett, Director of Arkansas Dept. of Workforce Services, Rex Nelson, Senior Editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Mayor James Strickland of Memphis, Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris, President David Rudd of the University of Memphis, and leaders from Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri.

Our host, Chancellor Debra West of Arkansas State University Mid-South, is a key participant. ASU Mid-South does a great job of preparing people for good jobs in our region.

Please RSVP for the Greater Delta Region conference in West Memphis by email at or to (202) 360-6347.

Schedule, registration and group hotel information are below in this email.

The opening session is Thursday evening, April 25, from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the ASU Mid-South Marion Berry Building.

April 26 session is Friday morning and lunch, April 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the same location.

Among the key issues will be education/workforce development, job creation at good wages, infrastructure, downtown revitalization and Delta heritage tourism, civil rights/diversity, and health care.

Participants will include:

–Mike Preston, Director, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s right hand man on economic development;

–Mayor Jim Strickland of Memphis and Shelby County Tennessee Mayor Lee Harris of the largest metropolitan area of our region;

–Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis, one of the most senior Democratic Members of Congress;

–Our host, Chancellor Debra West of Arkansas State University Mid-South, who is doing excellent work in preparing people for well-paying jobs in our region;

–Rex Nelson, senior editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette who has written many constructive columns about downtown revitalization and Delta heritage tourism projects that not only generate tourist dollars for the region but educate people about our great legacy, and a former Alternate Federal Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Authority;

–Daryl Bassett, Director of the Arkansas Dept. of Workforce Services;

–Zoe Savitsky, Deputy Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center based in New Orleans, Louisiana, expert on children’s issues;

–Mike Marshall, CEO of the Sikeston, Missouri Regional Chamber of Commerce and economic development corporation, another former Alternate Federal Co-Chair of the DRA;

–President Valmadge Towner of Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale, Mississippi;

–Mayor Chuck Espy of Clarksdale, Mississippi;

–Wilson Golden, board member of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation in Mississippi, and a colleague of Caucus director Lee Powell when they were Presidential appointees in the Clinton administration and two of the four senior managers of President Clinton’s Delta Regional Initiative;

–Shelley Ritter, Delta Blues Museum, Clarksdale, Mississippi; Brad Cole, executive director of the Municipal League for the state of Illinois;

–Millie Atkins, community leader and senior Delta Caucus adviser from Monroe, Louisiana;

–Mayor Shirley Washington, Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Mayor Sheldon Day of Thomasville, Alabama in the Alabama Black Belt;

–Alan Gumbel of the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce;

–Arnetta Macklin of the Memphis Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA);

–Randy Henderson of Nucor Yamato Steel and Nucor Steel of Arkansas in Blytheville, Arkansas;

–Mayor James Sanders, Blytheville, Arkansas;

–Priscilla Johnson, executive director of the Mississippi County Economic Opportunity Commission in Blytheville;

–Sen. David Wallace of Leachville, AR; Rep. Monte Hodges of Blytheville; Rep. Chris Richey of Helena and other state legislators;

–Mayor Kevin Smith of Helena, Arkansas;

–Mayor Pro Tem and City Commissioner Richard Abraham of Paducah, Kentucky;

–Mark O’Mell, executive director of the East Arkansas Crossroads Coalition based in Wynne;

–Other grassroots partners from the 8-state Greater Delta region.

We have greatly shortened this conference so that it is a relatively brief opening session in the evening and then just the morning and lunch the next day. We have entirely eliminated the afternoon session in deference to the smaller attention spans of our Twitter-Facebook-Instagram world nowadays.

This is by invitation only and is for not more than 100 influential, knowledgeable leaders from across the region. This is the right size for this event because it is large enough to be a significant number but small enough for each invitee to feel like they are an important part of the whole. We emphasize quality over quantity.

The location on the campus will be the Marion Berry Room and we will get exact directions to that building when it gets closer to the time.


Group discounts are available if you can get a group of four or five or more.

Registration fees are $100–$75 for registration fees and $25 for annual membership dues.

You register by paying the registration fees/dues.

The easiest way to pay is to go to the website at and go to the PayPal link at the top of the site 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


We were able to negotiate the very low group hotel discount rate of $69 at the Clarion Inn in West Memphis for April 25.

To get the group discount rate of $69, call the Clarion Inn at (870) 735-4055 and tell them you are with the Delta Caucus group.

Many people will just stay the night of April 25, but if you can stay an extra night to see the extraordinary Delta heritage tourism sites in the Memphis/West Memphis area, you can also get that low rate for Friday, April 26. You would pay far more than that for a hotel just minutes across the Mississippi River in Memphis.

The Clarion Inn is just minutes away across the Mississippi River from Beale Street and the National Civil Rights Museum.

Just FYI–The Memphis/West Memphis area has many great tourist attractions, including the National Civil Rights Museum, Beale Street, Graceland, the Harahan bridge from West Memphis to Memphis where you can walk across the Mighty Mississippi, and if you are interested in history–the new Sultana steamboat disaster museum near ASU Mid-South in Marion, Arkansas. The Sultana was the worst maritime disaster in US history—the captain recklessly overloaded the boat with Union soldiers trying to return home from Confederate prisoner of war camps, the faulty boiler was not properly repaired, and the boat exploded with massive loss of life.

If you can possibly work it into your schedule, we are encouraging everybody to stay a little longer after the conference ends at Friday lunch on April 26 to see the many historic sites in this local area. You can also get the low group rate for April 26.

Thanks so much. Lee Powell, Executive Director, Delta Grassroots Caucus (202) 360-6347