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.

Revised Agenda for Nov. 7-8, 2019 Greater Delta Region Conference in Little Rock

Posted on October 31, 2019 at 12:58 PM

Greater Delta Region Conference, Nov. 7-8, 2019 Little Rock, Arkansas “Infrastructure, Education and Regional Collaboration”

Opening Session, Thursday evening Nov. 7, 4:45 p.m. –7:15 p.m., Arkansas Capitol Rotunda

Information Display Tables

National Cold War Museum, Blytheville, Arkansas

Sultana Steamboat Disaster Museum, Marion, Arkansas

Shawnee Community College research project, southern Illinois Delta

Note: At appropriate times during the conference, we will recognize grassroots leaders for comments and questions, and will be sure to include in this way the following:

  • Annie Abrams, civil rights leader and educator in Little Rock from the desegregation of Central High in the late 1950s to the present
  • Rep. Vivian Flowers of Pine Bluff
  • Mayor Kevin Smith of Helena NOTE: Please arrive at the Arkansas Capitol by 4:30 p.m. or so, because traffic is very bad around the Capitol in Little Rock in the late afternoon and you may be very late if you get stuck in the traffic.

4:45 p.m. to 5 p.m.—Greeting and networking for Delta Caucus colleagues

“Education, Diversity and the Delta/Little Rock Partnership”

5:05 p.m. to 5:12 Introduction: Lee Powell, Caucus Director: formation of the Delta/Little Rock Partnership for Progress to deepen advocacy and collaboration between central Arkansas and the east Arkansas Delta

5:12 to 5:17 p.m.—Millie Atkins, Delta Caucus board member, Co-Chair, National Economic Equality Caucus, Community Leader in Monroe, Louisiana—on the opportunities opened by Historically Black Colleges and Universities

5:17 p.m. to 5:25 p.m.—Alan Gumbel, Interim Executive Director, Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce, on education and workforce development in the region; Memphis, Tennessee

5:25 p.m. to 5:32 p.m.—Loretta Alexander, Health Care Policy Director, Executive Director, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, update on the Arkansas Works health insurance program

5:32 P.M. TO 5:37 P.M.—Rep. Monte Hodges, Blytheville, Arkansas—follow-up comments on the Arkansas Works program from the standpoint of a Delta legislator who has been a strong supporter of the program

5:37 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., Lance Whitney, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, SNAP Outreach Director, update on the SNAP program, including Disaster-SNAP funding for victims of flooding

5:45 p.m. to 5:55 p.m., Professor Tracey McElwee, Chair, Department of Social Work, Philander Smith College

5:55 to 6:02 p.m.—Jeramie Alexander, Philander Smith College student majoring in Social Work, the 2019 Carol Willis Scholar for the annual Delta conference in commemoration of the legacy of the late, great Carol Willis in working for positive social, political and economic change

6:02 p.m. to 6:12 p.m.—Professor Charity Smith, Philander Smith College, on the educational mission of Philander Smith for Arkansas; introduced by Randy Henderson, Nucor Yamato Steel and Nucor Steel of Arkansas, Blytheville, Arkansas

6:12 to 6:22 p.m.—Sen. Joyce Elliott of Little Rock—education, diversity and collaboration between central Arkansas and the adjacent east Arkansas Delta

6:22 p.m. to 6:29 p.m.—Rep. Andrew Collins—hunger and poverty comments, and flooding damage for his constituents from this year’s Arkansas River flooding

6:29 p.m. to 6:35 p.m.—Glendscene Williams, Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi, on Delta State’s educational role in business and entrepreneurial research

6:35 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.—Peggy Bradford, J.D., Ed.D., former President of Shawnee Community College in the southern Illinois Delta, on her research on educational issues for the diverse, economically distressed southern Illinois area

7:15 p.m.—Informal, optional socializing/networking dinner at the group hotel restaurant, Holiday Inn Presidential Camp David restaurant. This is strictly optional but many people find it useful for making contacts and sharing information.

Friday, Nov. 8 Session, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Robinson Center Ballroom Overlooking the Arkansas River

Physical address of the Robinson Center is: 426 W. Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201.

“Transportation, Housing, Levee Improvements/Flood Control, and Tourism-Related Infrastructure”

8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.–Delta Heritage Tourism speakers

Louis Intres, Director, Sultana Steamboat Disaster Museum, Marion, Arkansas

Elizabeth Smith, Blytheville Area Chamber of Commerce, on the proposed National Cold War Museum in Blytheville, Arkansas

9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.–Speakers on Housing, Levee Improvements and Disaster Relief, Transportation and other Infrastructure Issues”

Kay Goss, Moderator and Speaker; Associate Director of FEMA for President Bill Clinton, nationally recognized expert on disaster relief issues

9 a.m. to 9:10 a.m.–Professor Kevin Fitzpatrick, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, on homelessness and related housing issues

9:10 to 9:18 a.m.–Desha County Judge Richard Tindall–on flooding in his area this year

9:18 a.m. to 9:28 a.m.–Mayor Shirley Washington of Pine Bluff on flooding issues and infrastructure issues in her city

9:28 a.m. to 9:36 a.m.—Harvey Joe Sanner, President, American Agriculture Movement of Arkansas, Des Arc, on the need for levee improvements and the impact of flooding on agriculture in the Delta

Brief question and answer on flooding

9:45 a.m. to 10 a.m.—Congressman French Hill, Second District of Arkansas, introduced by Rex Nelson, former Delta Regional Authority Alternate Federal Co-Chairman

10 a.m. to 10:10 a.m.—Lt. Governor Tim Griffin of the State of Arkansas, on infrastructure iniitiatives in transportation, broadband access and levee improvements, introduced by Sen. David Wallace

10:10 a.m. to 10:18 a.m.–Sen. David Wallace, Leachville, on disaster relief issues

10:18 a.m.to 10:26 a.m.–Theresa Jones, representing the City of Clarksdale, Mississippi

10:26 to 10:40–Kay Goss presentation on levee improvements and disaster relief

10:40 to Noon–Regional Infrastructure Issues:

10:40 to 10:48 a.m.–Mike Marshall, CEO, Sikeston, Missouri Regional Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corp., former Alternate Federal Co-Chair, Delta Regional Authority

10:48 a.m. to 11 a.m.–Leslie Durham, Louisiana Designee for the Delta Regional Authority for Gov. John Bel Edwards, St. Joseph, Louisiana

State Legislators Speaking on transportation and other infrastructure issues

11: a.m.–Rep. Chris Richey, Helena

11: to 11:10 a.m.–Rep. Reginald Murdock, Marianna

11:10 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.–Sen. Keith Ingram, West Memphis

Discussion and Question and Answer—11:30 to 11:40 a.m.

11:40 a.m..11:50 a.m.–Mireya Reith, Executive Director, Arkansas United, on housing issues for immigrants and related issues

LUNCHEON–11:50 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

11:50 a.m. to noon–Lee Powell, Caucus Director: Announcements from the Delta Caucus board

Noon to 12:10–Betty Dobson, Executive Director, Upper Town Heritage Foundation, Paducah, Kentucky

12:10 to 12:20–Rex Nelson, Senior Editor, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and former Alternate Federal Co-Chairman, Delta Regional Authority

12:20 to 12:30–Victor Jones, Southern Poverty Law Center’s Senior Supervising Attorney, New Orleans, Louisiana

12:30 to 12:40–Annette Dove, Executive Director, TOPPS nonprofit in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

12:40 to 1 p.m.—question and answer with luncheon speakers


Sponsors for the Greater Delta Region Conference, Nov. 7-8, 2019 Little Rock, Arkansas

LEAD SPONSOR

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

MAJOR CO-SPONSORS

J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Sikeston, Missouri Regional Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation

Municipal League of the State of Illinois

SPONSORS

American Agriculture Movement of Arkansas, Des Arc, Arkansas

HOPE (Hope Enterprise Corporation / Hope Credit Union)

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas

Phillips County AR Delta Partners

Delta Caucus 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.

Revised Agenda, Greater Delta Region Conference in Little Rock, Nov. 7-8, 2019

Posted on October 31, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Greater Delta Region Conference, Nov. 7-8, 2019 Little Rock, Arkansas

“Infrastructure, Education and Regional Collaboration”

Opening Session, Thursday evening Nov. 7, 4:45 p.m. –7:15 p.m., Arkansas Capitol Rotunda

Information Display Tables

National Cold War Museum, Blytheville, Arkansas

Sultana Steamboat Disaster Museum, Marion, Arkansas

Shawnee Community College research project, southern Illinois Delta

Note: At appropriate times during the conference, we will recognize grassroots leaders for comments and questions, and will be sure to include in this way the following:

–Annie Abrams, civil rights leader and educator in Little Rock from the desegregation of Central High in the late 1950s to the present

–Rep. Vivian Flowers of Pine Bluff

–Mayor Kevin Smith of Helena

4:45 p.m. to 5 p.m.—Greeting and networking for Delta Caucus colleagues

“Education, Diversity and the Delta/Little Rock Partnership”

5:05 p.m. to 5:12 Introduction: Lee Powell, Caucus Director: formation of the Delta/Little Rock Partnership for Progress to deepen advocacy and collaboration between central Arkansas and the east Arkansas Delta

5:12 to 5:17 p.m.—Millie Atkins, Delta Caucus board member, Co-Chair, National Economic Equality Caucus, Community Leader in Monroe, Louisiana—on the opportunities opened by Historically Black Colleges and Universities

5:17 p.m. to 5:25 p.m.—Alan Gumbel, Interim Executive Director, Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce, on education and workforce development in the region; Memphis, Tennessee

5:25 p.m. to 5:32 p.m.—Loretta Alexander, Health Care Policy Director, Executive Director, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, update on the Arkansas Works health insurance program

5:32 P.M. TO 5:37 P.M.—Rep. Monte Hodges, Blytheville, Arkansas—follow-up comments on the Arkansas Works program from the standpoint of a Delta legislator who has been a strong supporter of the program

5:37 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., Lance Whitney, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, SNAP Outreach Director, update on the SNAP program, including Disaster-SNAP funding for victims of flooding

5:45 p.m. to 5:55 p.m., Professor Tracey McElwee, Chair, Department of Social Work, Philander Smith College

5:55 to 6:02 p.m.—Jeramie Alexander, Philander Smith College student majoring in Social Work, the 2019 Carol Willis Scholar for the annual Delta conference in commemoration of the legacy of the late, great Carol Willis in working for positive social, political and economic change

6:02 p.m. to 6:12 p.m.—Professor Charity Smith, Philander Smith College, on the educational mission of Philander Smith for Arkansas; introduced by Randy Henderson, Nucor Yamato Steel and Nucor Steel of Arkansas, Blytheville, Arkansas

6:12 to 6:22 p.m.—Sen. Joyce Elliott of Little Rock—education, diversity and collaboration between central Arkansas and the adjacent east Arkansas Delta

6:22 p.m. to 6:29 p.m.—Rep. Andrew Collins—hunger and poverty comments, and flooding damage for his constituents from this year’s Arkansas River flooding

6:29 p.m. to 6:35 p.m.—Glendscene Williams, Delta State University, Cleveland, Mississippi, on Delta State’s educational role in business and entrepreneurial research

6:35 p.m. to 6:45 p.m.—Peggy Bradford, J.D., Ed.D., former President of Shawnee Community College in the southern Illinois Delta, on her research on educational issues for the diverse, economically distressed southern Illinois area

7:15 p.m.—Informal, optional socializing/networking dinner at the group hotel restaurant, Holiday Inn Presidential Camp David restaurant. This is strictly optional but many people find it useful for making contacts and sharing information.

**Friday, Nov. 8 Session, 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Robinson Center Ballroom Overlooking the Arkansas River

(Robinson Center physical address is 426 W, Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

“Transportation, Housing, Levee Improvements/Flood Control, and Tourism-Related Infrastructure”**

8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.–Delta Heritage Tourism speakers

Louis Intres, Director, Sultana Steamboat Disaster Museum, Marion, Arkansas

Elizabeth Smith, Blytheville Area Chamber of Commerce, on the proposed National Cold War Museum in Blytheville, Arkansas

9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.–Speakers on Housing, Levee Improvements and Disaster Relief, Transportation and other Infrastructure Issues

Kay Goss, Moderator and Speaker; Associate Director of FEMA for President Bill Clinton, nationally recognized expert on disaster relief issues

9 a.m. to 9:10 a.m.–Professor Kevin Fitzpatrick, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, on homelessness and related housing issues

9:10 to 9:18 a.m.–Desha County Judge Richard Tindall–on flooding in his area this year

9:18 a.m. to 9:28 a.m.–Mayor Shirley Washington of Pine Bluff on flooding issues and infrastructure issues in her city

9:28 a.m. to 9:36 a.m.—Harvey Joe Sanner, President, American Agriculture Movement of Arkansas, Des Arc, on the need for levee improvements and the impact of flooding on agriculture in the Delta

Brief question and answer on flooding

9:45 a.m. to 10 a.m.—Congressman French Hill, Second District of Arkansas, introduced by Rex Nelson, former Delta Regional Authority Alternate Federal Co-Chairman

10 a.m. to 10:10 a.m.—Lt. Governor Tim Griffin of the State of Arkansas, on infrastructure iniitiatives in transportation, broadband access and levee improvements, introduced by Sen. David Wallace

10:10 a.m. to 10:18 a.m.–Sen. David Wallace, Leachville, on disaster relief issues

10:18 a.m.to 10:26 a.m.–Theresa Jones, representing the City of Clarksdale, Mississippi

10:26 to 10:40–Kay Goss presentation on levee improvements and disaster relief

10:40 to Noon–Regional Infrastructure Issues

10:40 to 10:48 a.m.–Mike Marshall, CEO, Sikeston, Missouri Regional Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corp., former Alternate Federal Co-Chair, Delta Regional Authority

10:48 a.m. to 11 a.m.–Leslie Durham, Louisiana Designee for the Delta Regional Authority for Gov. John Bel Edwards, St. Joseph, Louisiana

State Legislators Speaking on transportation and other infrastructure issues

11: a.m.–Rep. Chris Richey, Helena

11: to 11:10 a.m.–Rep. Reginald Murdock, Marianna

11:10 a.m. to 11:20 a.m.–Sen. Keith Ingram, West Memphis

Discussion and Question and Answer—11:30 to 11:40 a.m.

11:40 a.m..11:50 a.m.–Mireya Reith, Executive Director, Arkansas United, on housing issues for immigrants and related issues

Discussion and question and answer

LUNCHEON–11:50 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

11:50 a.m. to noon–Lee Powell, Caucus Director: Announcements from the Delta Caucus board

Noon to 12:10–Betty Dobson, Executive Director, Upper Town Heritage Foundation, Paducah, Kentucky

12:10 to 12:20–Rex Nelson, Senior Editor, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and former Alternate Federal Co-Chairman, Delta Regional Authority

12:20 to 12:30–Victor Jones, Southern Poverty Law Center’s Senior Supervising Attorney, New Orleans, Louisiana

12:30 to 12:40–Annette Dove, Executive Director, TOPPS nonprofit in Pine Bluff, Arkansas

12:40 to 1 p.m.—question and answer with luncheon speakers  


Sponsors for the Greater Delta Region Conference, Nov. 7-8, 2019, Little Rock, Arkansas

LEAD SPONSOR

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

MAJOR CO-SPONSORS

J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Sikeston, Missouri Regional Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation

Municipal League of the State of Illinois

SPONSORS

American Agriculture Movement of Arkansas, Des Arc, Arkansas

HOPE (Hope Enterprise Corporation / Hope Credit Union)

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas

Phillips County AR Delta Partners

Delta Caucus 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.

Nov. 7-8 Agenda for Delta Regional Conference--Infrastructure, Education, Regional Collaboration

Posted on October 29, 2019 at 01:16 PM

Below is the latest draft of the agenda for the Nov. 7-8, 2019 Greater Delta Region Conference in Little Rock. There may be a few changes if speakers have unexpected adjustments to their schedules, but this conveys the basic structure of the program.

SCHEDULE: The opening session is Thursday evening, Nov. 7 from 4:45 p.m. to a little after 7 p.m. at the Arkansas Capitol Rotunda.

(Note: There is an informal, optional socializing/networking dinner on your own at the group hotel restaurant, Holiday Inn Presidential Camp David restaurant, right after the opening session ends a little after 7 p.m.)

The Friday Nov. 8 morning and lunch session is from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Robinson Center Ballroom overlooking the Arkansas River.

KEY ISSUES: Transportation, housing, broadband, levee improvements and other flood control infrastructure; education; health issues, and Delta heritage tourism. Civil rights/diversity is always important for our group.

America is lagging far behind in infrastructure improvements: We would like to focus on information regarding the need for improvements in infrastructure. The Budget Committee in the US House recently reported the following alarming facts:

· As a share of the overall economy, U.S. infrastructure spending is lower than it has been at any time since 1956;

· Current infrastructure gaps are anticipated to cost the United States $3.9 trillion in [gross domestic product] and 2.5 million jobs by 2025 due to lost productivity.

· We need a combination of federal, state and local levels to address this problem. As R. Richard Geddes, a Cornell University professor and director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy was recently quoted in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, “The main challenge the United States faces today is inadequate funding of infrastructure, which refers to the underlying dollars needing to pay for it. Declining revenue from the federal gas and diesel tax is devolving responsibility for funding to state and local governments by default.”

· Since 2010, China has spent roughly 8% of its GDP on infrastructure.

· European countries over that period, on average, dedicate roughly 5% of their GDP to infrastructure.

· In the U.S., the figure is roughly 2.4% of its GDP since 2010. This means that China has invested over three times as much on infrastructure since 2010 than the US, and Europe has spent twice as much on infrastructure as America has.

We must reverse this trend in a bipartisan way at federal, state and local levels. We plan to provide extensive information about key infrastructure issues at the conference.

TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS NEWSLETTER

  1. Registration
  2. Formation of Delta/Little Rock Partnership for Progress
  3. Draft of Agenda

1 REGISTRATION

You register by paying the registration fees.

Registration fees are $100 for those who have not paid their annual dues and $75 for those who have paid their dues.

There are group discounts for those who are organizing larger numbers of people to attend, down to $40 for four people and $25 for larger groups.

The fastest and easiest way to register is to go on the website at mdgc.us and go to the PayPal link that says “Donate.” This accepts all cards and makes a 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, Maryland 20601

2. FORMATION OF DELTA/LITTLE ROCK PARTNERSHIP FOR PROGRESS

We will be announcing the formation of the “Delta/Little Rock Area Partnership for Progress” to deepen the longstanding collaboration between central Arkansas and the adjacent east Arkansas Delta on issues like the Arkansas Works program, transportation improvements from Little Rock to northeast, east and southeast, levee improvements for the Arkansas, White, Mississippi and other river systems, Opportunity Zones across the region and related issues.

We all know that Little Rock is urban and the Delta heartland is mostly small towns and rural areas, and most of Little Rock is relatively more affluent than most of the Delta. But there are diverse, economically distressed regions in Little Rock such as Sen. Joyce Elliott’s district that have a lot in common with the Delta. It makes no sense to say that once we get three feet inside the Pulaski County line our region and our collaboration should suddenly stop.

Supporters of the nonpartisan, informational Delta/Little Rock Area Partnership thus far include:

–Sen. Joyce Elliott, Little Rock;

–Rep. Andrew Collins, Little Rock;

–Mike Marshall, CEO, Sikeston, Missouri Regional Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corp., advocate for the Interstate 57 project between Little Rock and Sikeston, Missouri–one of the clearcut examples where Little Rock/Delta collaboration obviously makes a lot of sense;

–Rep. Reginald Murdock, Marianna;

–Rep. Monte Hodges, Blytheville;

–Rep. Chris Richey, Helena;

–Mayor Kevin Smith, Helena;

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

–Professor Tracey McElwee, Chair, Dept. of Social Work, Philander Smith College;

–Kay Goss, former Associate Director of FEMA and nationally recognized expert on flooding and other disaster issues;

–Mayor Shirley Washington, Pine Bluff;

–Lee Powell, Delta Caucus Director;

–Former State Sen. Charlie Cole Chaffin.

3. LATEST DRAFT OF THE AGENDA

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Delta Conference in Little Rock Only a Month Away--Please Register If You Have Not Already Done So

Posted on October 03, 2019 at 11:39 AM

The Greater Delta Region conference in Little Rock is only a month away on Nov. 7-8, 2019, so please register if you have not already done so. You register by paying the registration fees and that information is below.

The opening session is Thursday evening Nov. 7 at the Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda from 4:45 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. The Friday morning and lunch session is Nov. 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Robinson Center Ballroom overlooking the Arkansas River.

This conference will focus on transportation, housing, broadband access, levee improvements/flood control infrastructure, education, job creation, nutrition and related issues.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Nov. 23 Presidential Candidates Forum on Poverty in South Carolina—Brief Summary

II. REGISTRATION FOR NOV. 7-8 DELTA CONFERENCE IN LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS

III. NOV. 7-8 LITTLE ROCK SPEAKERS ON INFRASTRUCTURE, JOBS, EDUCATION AND RELATED ISSUES

IV. STATEMENT FROM HUNGER FREE AMERICA & ORGANIZERS OF NOV. 23 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES’ FORUM ON POVERTY IN SOUTH CAROLINA

NOTE–We do not expect people to read the entire in-depth newsletter–people typically look at the table of contents and scroll down to parts of interest to them.

I. Nov. 23 Presidential Candidates Forum on Poverty

The Delta Caucus and other regional and national organizations across the country are supporting the Presidential Candidate Action for Opportunity Forum to be held in rural South Carolina—in the diverse, economically distressed town of Manning SC that is very similar to many Delta communities on Nov. 23.

Caucus Director Lee Powell, Delta senior partner Wilson Golden will be there, and one of the questioners is Annette Dove, Executive Director of the great TOPPS, Inc. in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

We know that South Carolina is far from the Delta and most people from our region will not be able to attend, but we wanted you to know of our support for what will be a unique event aimed at getting poverty and economic opportunity on the radar screen of the Presidential candidates. As the key organizer Joel Berg, CEO of the national anti-poverty and hunger organization Hunger Free America has shown, in 50 Presidential debates from 2008 to the present not one question focused on hunger, poverty and homelessness. This event will change that glaring omission.

If anyone would like to attend the unique South Carolina event, please get in touch with Lee Powell at 202-360-6347 or Leepowell@delta.comcastbiz.net

We should emphasize that in the next recession many middle class people will inevitably fall into lower income categories. Poverty is a concern for middle class people and everybody—the higher health care costs, substance abuse, crime, and lost productivity from poverty harm all populations in our society.

II. REGISTRATION FOR NOV. 7-8 DELTA CONFERENCE IN LITTLE ROCK

You register by paying the registration fees. These are $100 for those who have not paid annual membership dues, $75 for those who have paid their 2019 dues, and there are also groups who receive discounts for getting a group of people together to go to the event.

If you have any questions about registration, please contact Lee Powell at (202) 360-6347 or Leepowell@delta.comcastbiz.net

The easiest and fastest way to pay the registration fees is to go on the website at mdgc.us 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

GROUP HOTEL

The group hotel is Holiday Inn Presidential in the Little Rock River Market area. We have the group discount for $89, which is a relatively low rate for a good hotel in that area.

To get the discount rate for the night of Thursday November 7, please call the hotel at (501) 375-2100 and tell them you are with the Delta Caucus group.

III. SPEAKERS ON INFRASTRUCTURE, JOBS, EDUCATION AND OTHER DELTA REGIONAL ISSUES

Below is a tentative list of speakers who have indicated they will be able to participate at the Nov. 7-8, 2019 Delta conference in Little Rock:

We are inviting federal, state and regional leaders but they confirm usually much later in the process, often only a few weeks beforehand due to their hectic schedules.

We are inviting other speakers so this is a preliminary list.

In honor of the late great Carol Willis, champion of the Delta and one of the most trusted senior advisers to President Bill Clinton, we are recognizing a promising young leader who will follow in Carol Willis’ footsteps in working for positive change through the democratic political process through our annual Carol Willis Scholarship.

This year we plan to recognize Jeramie Alexander, a brilliant student at Philander Smith College in Little Rock who was elected Mr. Philander Smith College by jhis fellow students as exemplifying the best traditions of the college. He is involved in an organization that empowers young African American males, is majoring in social work and plans to pursue a law degree and master’s in social work upon graduating from Philander Smith.

Mr. Alexander is a student of Professor Tracey McElwee, Chair of the Philander Smith College Dept. of Social Work. Professor McElwee will be among our speakers at this event.

Carol Willis was one of most famous alumni of Philander Smith College.

We are announcing the formation of the “Little Rock/Delta Partnership for Progress” to deepen and make explicit the longstanding collaboration between Little Rock and the east Arkansas Delta in promoting community and economic progress in Arkansas and the rest of our region. Philander Smith College and other Little Rock institutions and leaders will have a prominent role at this conference and we will be sending out further information about this partnership.

Kay Goss, former Associate Director of FEMA (native Arkansan now based in the Washington, DC area) and nationally recognized expert on disaster relief issues. She emphasizes the need to take a pro-active, long-term approach to levee improvements and other responses to the flooding that has been getting more severe in recent years and likely will become even more serious in the future.

We want to include all the major rivers in the region—the Arkansas, White, Mississippi, Ohio and others.

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Please Register for Delta Conference in Little Rock on Nov. 7-8: Infrastructure, Jobs, Education

Posted on September 13, 2019 at 11:58 AM

Please register for the annual Greater Delta Region conference in Little Rock on Nov. 7-8, 2019. We are only seven weeks away now. Registration information is below.

We will focus on a broad range of infrastructure issues including transportation, levee improvements and flood control, housing, water programs, and broadband access expansion, to create jobs and improve our infrastructure. We always include education, health and nutrition, Delta Heritage tourism and related issues as well.

We will be announcing the formation of the Delta/Little Rock Partnership for Progress: although we all know that Little Rock is much more urban and much of it is more affluent than the Delta. Yet it is adjacent to the Delta, certainly has some diverse, economically distressed neighborhoods that have a lot in common with our region, and there are key issues we can work on collaboratively in transportation infrastructure from Little Rock to Sikeston, Missouri, Little Rock to Memphis, Little Rock to southeast Arkansas and beyond in the region, the Arkansas Works health insurance program, diversity, levee improvements on the White, Arkansas, Mississippi and other regional rivers, and many other regional initiatives.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. REGISTRATION

II. SCHEDULE

III. GROUP HOTEL

IV. SPEAKERS ON INFRASTRUCTURE, JOBS, EDUCATION AND OTHER ISSUES

V. CRUCIAL IMPORTANCE OF UNIFYING, INCLUSIVE REGIONAL APPROACH

VI. FORMATION OF DELTA/LITTLE ROCK PARTNERSHIP FOR PROGRESS

I. REGISTRATION

You register by paying the registration fees, which are $75 for those who paid their annual membership dues and/or attended the West Memphis Delta conference this spring, and $100 for those who have not paid annual dues for calendar year 2019.

GROUP DISCOUNTS: If you can organize a group of four or more people, we will reduce the discounts further to $40 each.

The easiest and fastest way to register is to go on the website at mdgc.us 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

II. SCHEDULE

OPENING SESSION–Thursday evening, Nov. 7, from 4:45 to 7:15 p.m. at the Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda

(Note: There is an informal socializing/networking dinner at the group hotel Holiday Inn Presidential Camp David restaurant right after the opening session ends a little after 7 p.m.)

FRIDAY MORNING AND LUNCH–Friday, Nov. 8, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Robinson Center Ballroom overlooking the Arkansas River

III. GROUP HOTEL

The group hotel is Holiday Inn Presidential in the Little Rock River Market area. We have the group discount for $89, which is a relatively low rate for a good hotel in that area.

To get the discount rate for the night of Thursday November 7, please call the hotel at (501) 375-2100 and tell them you are with the Delta Caucus group.

IV. SPEAKERS ON INFRASTRUCTURE, JOBS, EDUCATION AND OTHER DELTA REGIONAL ISSUES

Below is a tentative list of speakers who have indicated they will be able to participate at the Nov. 7-8, 2019 Delta conference in Little Rock:

We are inviting federal, state and regional leaders but they confirm usually much later in the process, often only a few weeks beforehand due to their hectic schedules.

We are inviting other speakers so this is a preliminary list.

Kay Goss, former Associate Director of FEMA (native Arkansan now based in the Washington, DC area) and nationally recognized expert on disaster relief issues. She emphasizes the need to take a pro-active, long-term approach to levee improvements and other responses to the flooding that has been getting more severe in recent years and likely will become even more serious in the future.

We want to include all the major rivers in the region—the Arkansas, White, Mississippi, Ohio and others.

Mayor Shirley Washington of Pine Bluff, Arkansas—her city had some of the worst flooding earlier this year, and they are working on a series of initiatives to repair the damage and prepare for future flooding. We are asking Mayor Washington to address flood control as well as other infrastructure issues and downtown revitalization in Pine Bluff, the largest of the heartland Arkansas Delta communities. Mayor Washington is a member of the state levee review task force appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Mike Marshall, CEO, Sikeston, Missouri Regional Chamber of Commerce and economic development corporation, formerly Alternate Federal Co-Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority: Mike Marshall will address a range of infrastructure issues, including the Interstate 57 project between Sikeston, Missouri and Little Rock—one of the examples of the logic for Little Rock/Delta collaboration in advocating for completion of this transportation artery across a significant part of our region.

Peggy Bradford, Shawnee Community College in southern Illinois—Ms. Bradford was formerly President of Shawnee Community College and is now engaged in a research project regarding economic development, education and related issues in the southern Illinois Delta.

Victor Jones, Southern Poverty Law Center, New Orleans, Louisiana—he is an attorney working on cases for education and help for the youth of our region, based in the historic city of New Orleans. The Southern Poverty Law Center is a major institution working for justice across our region.

Alan Gumbel, Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce, Memphis, Tennessee: Alan Gumbel is a long-time Delta regional advocates and does vital work on the vital issue of promoting a well-trained and competitive workforce.

Leslie Durham, DRA Designee for Gov. John Bel Edwards, based in the heartland Delta community of St. Joseph, Louisiana; the DRA is a federal-state agency and does a wide variety of constructive projects on job creation, workforce development, health care, infrastructure and other key issues for the region’s community and economic development.

Millie Atkins, Delta Caucus board member, long-time Delta regional advocate and community leader in Monroe, Louisiana: Ms. Atkins will address a number of infrastructure issues from the standpoint of Louisiana, including flooding that has become so much worse in our region in recent years.

Desha County Judge Richard Tyndall, southeast Arkansas–who will address the serious flooding damage in some areas of his county and how flood control is inter-related across the region. If a levee breaks in one place it of course has an impact on communities downstream. When the Arkansas River was flooding this year, the fact that the Mississippi River was also at a high level meant that the Arkansas levels could not go down as rapidly.

Rep. Chris Richey, based in Helena, represents a state legislative district in the heart of the Delta—Rep. Richey will address the range of infrastructure issues from his standpoint as a state legislator in Arkansas. We are happy to report that the state government is engaged in a variety of constructive activities in the Arkansas Works health insurance program that has brought health coverage to over a quarter of a million Arkansans, education and workforce development, broadband access expansion, transportation improvements with increases in funding for highways, and other bipartisan initiatives. We are frankly getting a lot more done at the state and local than at the federal level nowadays.

National Cold War Museum project in Blytheville, Arkansas at the old Blytheville Air Force Base—this project is a great example of the potential for Delta Heritage tourism to promote economic development by bringing in tourist dollars, while educating people about our region’s legacy. Blytheville Air Force Base was a major facility during the Cold War, and we will have a speaker from the city’s supporters (we understand it will be Elizabeth Smith of the Blytheville Area Chamber of Commerce) of this great proposal.

Tomiko Townley, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance Director of Advocacy—Ms. Townley will give us an update on the state of hunger and nutrition in Arkansas, including efforts to help victims of the Arkansas River’s flooding this year through the disaster program of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Arkansas Rice Growers Association speaker—Arkansas is by far the leading rice producer in America, growing approximately half of America’s rice each year, and Mississippi, Louisiana and Missouri are also among the highest ranking rice producers. We will have a speaker from the Arkansas Rice Growers Association to give us an update on the rice industry, including the impact of flooding on this year’s rice crop.

Rep. Andrew Collins, Little Rock: Rep. Collins’ district in Little Rock suffered significant flooding from the Arkansas River this year and he is integrally involved in improving the flood control infrastructure. Rep. Collins is supportive of our efforts to continue and expand the collaboration and partnership between Little Rock and the adjacent east Arkansas Delta heartland.

International visitors—we always are glad to welcome groups of international visitors arranged by Toni Carr, Executive Director of the Global Ties Arkansas organization that brings leaders from across the globe to Arkansas to learn about our state, region and country. This year we understand we will have visitors from the Phillippines, Cambodia, Russia, and Georgia (the Georgia in Asia, not the one around Atlanta).

We are working on many other speakers and the program will be put together in early October.

V. CRUCIAL NEED FOR A UNIFYING, INCLUSIVE REGIONAL APPROACH IN THE DELTA

We would like to appeal once again—as we have throughout our history going back to the 1990s–for unity and finding common ground to speak as much as possible for a broad consensus of many voices all across the region.

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