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.

Delta Caucus Supports Legislation Improving Veterans Benefits and Services Sponsored by Sen. Boozman (AR)

Posted on May 25, 2022 at 12:05 PM

The Greater Delta Region has a large number of veterans throughout our eight states, so we support constructive legislation on veterans issues sponsored by Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) and endorsed by many other Members of Congress in the region.

The legislation includes a broad range of provisions to modernize Veterans Affairs (VA) services and expend benefits to those who have given such vital service to our nation.

Boozman is a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. His father was a Master Sergeant in the US Army and his longstanding, diligent work on veterans issues is commendable.

Recently Congress advanced several bills sponsored by Boozman that are expected to be signed into law:

The Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas Supporting Expanded Review for Veterans in Combat Environments (SERVICE) Act that will require the VA to conduct mammograms for all women who served in areas associated with burn pits and other toxic exposures regardless of age, symptoms or family history.

The Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options (MAMMO) for Veterans Act, which will require the VA to develop a strategic plan to improve breast imaging services, create a tele-mammography pilot program for veterans in areas where the VA does not offer in-house mammography and expand veterans’ access to clinical trials through partnerships with the National Cancer Institute. The legislation would also require the VA to upgrade all in-house breast imaging to 3D mammography, which is considered the gold standard of imaging technology.

The Strengthening Oversight for Veterans Act of 2021, a measure to provide the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) with the authority to subpoena testimony from former VA employees who have left federal service, former contractor personnel who performed work for the department, or other potentially relevant individuals during its inspections, reviews and investigations.

Thanks very much. Lee Powell, Delta Caucus (202) 360-6347

New Dates for Delta Caucus Conference Set for Oct. 20-21, 2022

Posted on March 23, 2022 at 10:44 AM

Delta Regional Conference Moved to Oct. 20-21, 2022 in Little Rock

We have postponed the Delta Caucus conference to Oct. 20-21, 2022 at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.

We have reserved the Great Hall of the Clinton Library for Oct. 21, 2022 Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

We have requested the Choctaw Commons area of the Clinton School of Public Service for Thursday evening, Oct. 21, 2022 from about 5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., although they cannot confirm that location this far in advance. We will keep you posted.

Due to some illnesses and other complications, the conference was moved from the late spring on June 2-3 to the fall on Oct. 20-21.

We will address community and economic development issues in the Greater Delta Region from southern Illinois and Missouri to New Orleans and eastward to the Alabama Black Belt.

Among the key issues we will include job creation, infrastructure, health care, hunger and nutrition, Delta Heritage tourism, civil rights and diversity, and related subjects.

We support the Delta Regional Authority and as always advocate for a much larger budget. Currently Congress is considering a major increase in the DRA budget to the $150 or greater level, which would be a historic expansion.

REGISTRATION

You register by paying the registration fees, which are $100 each until Oct. 5 and then late registration after that goes up to $130.

To pay the $100 registration fees, you can go to the website at www.mdgc.us and go to the PayPal link that says “Donate.”

NOTE: This is not a link so you will need to type in the “mdgc.us” to get to the website.

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

Delta Caucus 5030 Purslane Place Waldorf, MD 20601

We are working on getting a group hotel discount and will forward that information as soon as we have received it. Thanks–Delta Caucus; Phone is (202) 360-6347; email address is leepowell@delta.comcastbiz.net

Please RSVP for Delta Caucus Conference at Clinton Center in Little Rock, June 2-3. 2022

Posted on March 10, 2022 at 12:23 PM

Please RSVP for June 2-3, 2022 Delta Regional Conference at the Clinton Presidential Center

March 10, 2022

Please RSVP to Caucus Director Lee Powell by phone at (202) 360-6347 or by email at Leepowell@delta.comcastbiz.net and this email address is NOT a link so you will have to type it in.

Again, type in the email address and send an email to Lee Powell at leepowell#@delta.comcastbiz.net THIS IS NOT A LINK.

SCHEDULE

The schedule is:

June 2, 2022 Opening session:

4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Clinton School of Public Service, Choctaw Commons meeting area

June 3, 2022 session:

8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Clinton Library Great Hall

We hope you and others from your network can be there for the full two sessions, which don’t take up that much time–just a fairly brief session on the evening of June 2 and then morning and lunch the next day.

GROUP HOTEL (if needed)

To get the group discount at the Holiday Inn Presidential in Little Rock, please call the hotel at 501-375-2100 and tell them you are with the Delta Caucus group.

REGISTRATION

You register by paying the registration fees.

DISCOUNTS FOR REGISTRATIONS OF TWO OR MORE–For registration fees, we will offer substantial group discounts for a “group” of only two people from the $100 for one person down to $40 each for two, and $25 each for more than two, and even bigger discounts if you can get a larger group there.

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

KEY ISSUES

Infrastructure improvements, job creation, education and job training will be among the key issues.

Feedback about issues to address is welcome.

We will send further information as it gets closer to the June 2-3 Delta conference. Thanks–Lee Powell, Delta Caucus (202) 360-6347

Biden's Concern about Racial and Gender Diversity on Supreme Court is appropriate--February, 2022

Posted on February 04, 2022 at 02:00 PM

It is perfectly appropriate for President Biden to choose an African American woman for the Supreme Court and emphasize the need for the Court to look like America. We would respectfully disagree with those like Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) who have lambasted Biden’s position.

Civil rights and diversity are bedrock issues for the Greater Delta Region in general and the Delta Caucus in particular. One of the fundamental causes of the Delta’s higher poverty rate is the history of racial discrimination in our region.

The Delta Caucus supports gender and racial diversity on this and all other issues. It is beneficial for the justices to include a wide variety of professional and life experiences in their internal deliberations. White males have dominated the federal judiciary and it’s time for much more diversity.

It’s nonsense to say that this restricts the candidate pool to a limited number of qualified nominees. There are very large numbers of exemplary African American women lawyers and jurists in America today.

Those who decry the inclusion of “political” considerations (among a range of many other factors) into Presidents’ choices of Supreme Court nominees are either obtuse or hypocritical. In a democracy of course elected officials may consider inclusion of a diversity of political views. The realists in the field of jurisprudence long ago won the debate as to whether Presidents only consider pristine, immaculate judicial profundity with nary a thought to political philosophy or diversity. Let’s see if we can keep this discussion on planet Earth.

It is also perfectly fine to consider regional diversity. We would like to see a Southerner chosen for this position, although it is not mandatory. We naturally have great respect for two major institutions in our region–Tulane University and the Southern Poverty Law Center–and would note that one of the many qualified African American women is Nancy Abudu, a Tulane University Law School graduate who did important legal work for the Southern Poverty Law Center. There are many other excellent African American women who could serve very well in this post in addition to Ms. Abudu.

It would fill up a book if we recited all the cases of Presidents considering diversity, philosophy and politics. President Reagan pledged to nominate a woman and stuck to his pledge in nominating Sandra Day O’Connor, who was very well qualified to serve on the court. We don’t need to debate now the pluses and minuses of O’Connor’s record on the Court–we just recall this nomination to note that Presidents of both parties have traditionally considered philosophy, politics and diversity.

We can understand the deep concerns that some of our colleagues in the Delta have expressed about the attacks made on Biden’s choice by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS). We have generally known Sen. Wicker to be an amiable, fair-minded person but he made a mistake in this case.

The senator erroneously described affirmative action in general as “affirmative racial discrimination” and that nominating an African American woman would be “adding someone who is the beneficiary of this sort of quota.” Actually, affirmative action is intended to redress centuries of racial discrimination against African Americans, women and other minorities and provide them with their fair share of opportunities.

This is not a “quota” but rather a common sense effort to move toward a Supreme Court that looks like the country as a whole by nominating an exemplary African American woman jurist.

In Mississippi, House Minority Leader Robert Johnson III understandably expressed concerns about Sen. Wicker’s comments, saying “I don’t know him to be a racist and don’t think he is, but that was a racist statement.” This is a candid but reasonable criticism from Rep. Johnson, who served in the Mississippi Legislature with Wicker.

We understand that many people believe that Wicker was likely just appealing to his hard-core conservative base, but that does not excuse his erroneous comments.

We look forward to seeing Ms. Abudu or another highly qualified African American woman jurist elevated to the Supreme Court.

We have a number of people who have studied constitutional law issues as well as many who have practical experience in the civil rights movement in our coalition. We have carefully analyzed this situation and the majority of our senior partners agree with this conclusion. For anyone who disagrees, I am here to take the criticism if need be. Thank you.

Lee Powell, Executive Director, Delta Caucus; Juris Doctorate University of Virginia Law School, graduate degree in recent US history, U. Va. graduate school; Executive Editor of Delta Vision, Delta Voices: The Mississippi Delta Beyond 2000 (Clinton administration report on the Delta for the White House conference on the Delta, May, 2000); author, J. William Fulbright and His Time, biography of Sen. Fulbright that relates his accomplishments in foreign policy and education but sharply criticizes his deeply flawed civil rights record. (202) 360-6347

Delta Caucus Praises Selection of Corey Wiggins as Federal Co-Chair of Delta Regional Authority

Posted on January 11, 2022 at 12:47 PM

The Delta Caucus endorses President Biden’s choice of Corey Wiggins as Federal Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Authority.

Wiggins is an African American leader who has many years of distinguished service in federal, state, nonprofit and educational activities. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP.

This nomination requires confirmation by the US Senate. We urge senators to approve this wise choice.

“The Delta Caucus praises the selection of Corey Wiggins as Federal Co-Chair of the DRA. Wiggins has great credentials in a wide variety of key regional issues. He is the first African American to serve in one of the Presidential appointees for the DRA and we are always glad to support diversity and excellence in our region,” said Caucus Director Lee Powell.

Corey Wiggins grew up in rural Mississippi and has demonstrated a deep commitment to public service throughout his distinguished career. He is Executive Director of the Mississippi State Conference NAACP and previously served as Senior Vice President of Policy at Hope Enterprise Corporation and Hope Credit Union. He also served as Director of the Hope Policy Institute, where he focused on strengthening communities, building assets, and improving lives in economically distressed parts of the Mid-South.

Wiggins served as a public policy professional as a Barbara Jordan Health Policy Fellow in the United States Senate, and as a policy analyst for the Mississippi State Legislature. He was also Visiting Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at Jackson State University.

Wiggins completed his undergraduate studies at Alcorn State University. He received a Master of Science in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Policy and a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Additionally, he has a certificate of nonprofit leadership from Boston College and held fellowships with the Kaiser Family Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).