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.

Draft Agenda for Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2018 Greater Delta Region Conference in Little Rock

Posted on October 16, 2018 at 03:51 PM

Below is the draft of the agenda for the nonpartisan Greater Delta Region conference in Little Rock, Oct. 31-Nov. 1.

Schedule: Opening session is Wednesday evening, Oct. 31, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Arkansas Capitol Rotunda, and Clinton Library session is Thursday, Nov. 1, 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Quick reminder–Deadline for early registration fees and group hotel reservations is tomorrow, Wednesday, close of business, Oct. 18.

Registration fees: 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.” Early registration fees are usually $100, but there are group discounts or in some cases it is pro-rated in special situations like state legislators who cannot make both sessions.

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

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

Late fees go up to $150 after Oct. 18.

Group hotel: to get the group discount rate for Wednesday evening Oct. 31, please call the Holiday Inn Presidential at 501-375-2100 and tell them you are with the Delta Caucus group

Dedication of Conference to the Late, Great Carol Willis

We would like to dedicate this conference to the legacy of the late, great Carol Willis, Senior Adviser to President Bill Clinton, a true champion for his native Greater Delta Region and social, racial and economic justice everywhere.

Information Tables

Sikeston, Missouri Economic Development Foundation and Supporters of Interstate 57 from Sikeston, Missouri to Little Rock, Arkansas

Heifer International

Society of St. Andrew Fresh Produce Project for Nutrition, Limited Resource Farmers, and Rural Economic Development—Johnny Pettis

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families

Dumas, Arkansas Chamber of Commerce

Opening Session, Wednesday Evening, Oct. 31, 4:30 p.m.–7 p.m., Rotunda of the Arkansas State Capitol

“Best Practices in Community and Economic Development”

4:30 p.m. to 5:40 p.m.

Lee Powell, Introduction

Millie Atkins, Co-Chair of Economic Equality Caucus and Delta Caucus; Community Leader, Monroe, Louisiana

Nathan Pittman, Southern Bancorp, Senior Vice President for Policy and Communications

Ginny Blankenship, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families

Alan Gumbel, Greater Memphis Alliance for Workforce Development, Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor Sheldon Day, Thomasville, Alabama

“Interstate 57 from Sikeston, Missouri to Little Rock, Arkansas”

5:40 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.

Mike Marshall, CEO, Sikeston, Missouri Chamber

“A Tribute to the Legacy of Carol Willis”

5:50 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Bob Nash, community and economic development expert, USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development and Director of White House Presidential Personnel

“Jobs, Infrastructure, Small to Mid-Sized Towns and Rural Economic Development”

6 p.m. to 6:40 p.m.

Ben Burkett, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Jackson, Mississippi

Mayor Errick Simmons, Greenville, Mississippi

Mayor Shirley Washington, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Mayor Diane Delaware, Yazoo City, Mississippi

“The Great Potential of Opportunity Zones for the Delta”

6:40 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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

Lisa C. Ferrell, CEO, North Bluffs Development, Founding Partner of Southern Capital Opportunity Zone Fund, Attorney, Little Rock

Thursday, Nov. 1, 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Library

8:15 a.m.—Lee Powell, Introduction

8:30 a.m. First speaker–Rep. Reginald Murdock, Marianna, Arkansas—on Arkansas Works health insurance program

8:40 a.m. to 8:50 a.m.—Judith Goodson, state legislature candidate

8:50 a.m. to 9 a.m.—Andrew Collins, state legislature candidate

Forum for Candidates in the Second Congressional District Election

Questioners for candidates are Caucus Director Lee Powell and Bud Cummins, distinguished lawyer and former US Attorney

9:10 a.m. to 9:35 a.m.—State Rep. Clarke Tucker, Second Congressional District Democratic nominee

9:35 a.m. to 10 a.m.—Congressman French Hill, Second Congressional District

Forum for Candidates for Governor of Arkansas

10 a.m. to 10:25 a.m.—Jared Henderson, Democratic nominee for Governor of Arkansas

10:25 a.m. to 10:50 a.m.—Governor Asa Hutchinson

Forum for Candidates for First Congressional District of Arkansas

10:50 a.m. to 11:05 a.m.—Chintan Desai, Democratic nominee for First Congressional District of Arkansas

11:05: a.m to 11:20 a.m..—Congressman Rick Crawford, First District of Arkansas

“Issues Regarding the Most Vulnerable Populations—Health Care, Nutrition, Immigration”

11;20 a.m. to 11:30 .M.–Bo Ryall, Arkansas Hospitals Association, on the Arkansas Works health insurance program

11:38 a.m. to 11:46 a.m, Joey Keys, Southeast Missouri Food Bank, on hunger and nutrition in the southeast Missouri Delta

11:46 to 11:55 a.m.—Maria Meneses, Arkansas United Coalition COMMUNITY Organizer and Pre-Med Student, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, on Hispanics and Dreamers Issues in Arkansas

11:55 to 12:03—Will Staley, nonprofit THRIVE, based in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas

Luncheon

INVITED–Presentation from Clinton Foundation Executive—Chelsea Clinton, Stephanie Streett or Lena Moore

“Womens’ Issues and Education”

Professor Tracey Barnett, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, on her research regarding the impact of proposed cuts in the SNAP program in Arkansas

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

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

Rupa Dash, CEO, World Woman Foundation

Sponsors for Delta Grassroots Caucus, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2018

Arkansas State Capitol and Clinton Library Great Hall, Little Rock, Arkansas

Lead Sponsor

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

Major Co-Sponsor

Sikeston, Missouri Regional Chamber

Heifer International

Sponsors

Municipal League of Illinois

Harvey Joe Sanner, President, the American Agriculture Movement of Arkansas

Millie Atkins, Co-Chair, Economic Equality Caucus, Community Leader based in Monroe, Louisiana

Municipal League of Arkansas

Delta Grassroots 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 $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.

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 ended😃!

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:

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Please Register for Delta Caucus in Little Rock Before Deadlines--Event Is Only 6 Weeks Away

Posted on September 14, 2018 at 11:23 AM

Please RSVP ASAP and register for the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Greater Delta Region conference in Little Rock. We are only six weeks away. While we expect to have enough places, space is limited.

You register by paying the early registration fees on or before Oct. 15. Registration information is below in this email.

You can reserve a place now by replying by email to LeePowell@delta.comcastbiz.net or by phone at (202) 360-6347; or by paying the registration fees on the website at mdgc.us by going to the PayPal link that says “Donate.”

The opening session is Wednesday evening Oct. 31, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda; then Thursday, Nov. 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Clinton Library.

We will have grassroots leaders from all 8 states in a dialogue with state, local and federal powers that be to urge them to do more for the region’s community and economic development.

Among the highlights are nonpartisan forums in major elections: Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Democratic nominee Jared Henderson; Congressman French Hill and state Rep. Clarke Tucker in the nationally watched 2nd Congressional District race; and Congressman Rick Crawford and Chintan Desai in the First District—the heart of the Arkansas Delta. These are Arkansas races but have issues basically similar to the entire region.

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

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.

As always, we are inviting President Bill Clinton to give a live call-in presentation about the Clinton Foundation’s great work on domestic policy initiatives like improving nutrition for 40,000 schools nationwide in collaboration with the American Heart Association, renewable energy/energy efficiency, fighting the opioid crisis by expanding access to naloxone, early childhood initiatives led by Chelsea Clinton, and other philanthropic activities in the Delta and across the USA.

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, 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.

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

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.

(There is an informal, optional socializing dinner after the opening session ends at the Camp David restaurant at the group hotel Holiday Inn Presidential, which can be useful for networking and sharing information in a relaxed setting.)

Clinton Library session–Thursday, Nov. 1 at the Great Hall of the Clinton Library from 8:30 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 ended😃!

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;

· 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;

· 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;

· 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;

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Tribute to the Legacy of Carol Willis: A True Champion for the Delta

Posted on September 07, 2018 at 12:08 PM

The Delta lost one of its greatest and most forceful leaders this week with the passing of Carol Willis. We would like to pay tribute to his tremendous dedication to racial, social, political and economic justice.

Carol Willis was one of President Clinton’s closest advisers. They first met in the 1970s when Carol was a law student in then Professor Bill Clinton’s classes at the University of Arkansas Law School. Carol played a key role in Bill Clinton’s rise to state, regional and then national leadership.

Lee Powell and many other Delta Caucus partners worked with Carol Willis on the Delta regional initiative and related good causes during the Clinton administration, and he also came to many Delta Caucus activities after the Clinton Presidency. He was quite a presence at all of our meetings, and we always admired his leadership and courage.

Janis Kearney, White House diarist and senior aide to President Clinton, author, and founding publisher of WOW Publishing in Little Rock, said: “Carol Willis was a friend whose friendship I greatly valued. He was truthful even when it hurt. He saw everyone on the same plane no matter how much or little one owned. He kept us all grounded and forever reminded us what the struggle was about.”

“There will never be another Carol Willis,” Janis Kearney continued, “and the space he’s left inside my heart will never be filled by anyone else, but by 30 years of memories; wonderful memories.”

Kevin Smith of Helena, long-time Delta regional advocate, said “I am deeply saddened. He was a Delta hero.”

Harvey Joe Sanner of Des Arc, president of the American Agriculture Movement of Arkansas, said “The Delta has lost a great friend and champion.”

Carol Willis was a tremendously valiant, assertive and knowledgeable leader for the Mississippi Delta region, in addition to his many other services to our state and nation. He was not afraid to get on the case of powers that be, regardless of which party they were from or how powerful they were.

When we advocate to the state and federal powers that be about the ongoing problems of poverty, racism and injustice in our region, we should honor the legacy of Carol Willis by telling truth to power even when it is difficult or even painful to do so.

He grew up in the heartland Delta community of McGehee, Arkansas, and no one knew better than Carol Willis how far our region has to go to join fully in the American dream of equality and opportunity for all.

President Clinton wrote the most moving tribute to his old friend. We would like to do our part to honor his legacy.

The one comment that resonates most with many of us in the Delta Caucus from President Clinton’s poignant tribute to Carol Willis is the following comment about his dear friend’s courage in being candid about painfully difficult issues:

“He was also a good, loyal friend who was never afraid to speak hard truths if I needed to hear them.”

Some people just can’t be replaced. We believe Carol Willis was one of them.

Never forget the courageous example of Carol Willis: stand up and be counted, speak truth to power about the dilemma of poverty and injustice in the Greater Delta Region and across our country.

President Clinton’s tribute is below. We send out our thoughts to his wife Joyce and family at this sad time:


Public Statement from President Bill Clinton on the Passing of Carol Willis

I loved Carol Willis. We met more than 40 years ago when he was a student at the University of Arkansas Law School and I was teaching there. At a time when African-Americans were just beginning to attend the school in substantial numbers, he was a voice for inclusion and was an important part of my efforts to help more African-American students earn law degrees there.

From the time I entered state politics until I left the White House, he was one of my most effective and trusted campaign aides and advisors.

He was a brilliant political organizer who really cared about people and making sure that their voices were heard. He was also a good, loyal friend who was never afraid to speak hard truths if I needed to hear them.

He always had my back, in victory and defeat. In the toughest times, he could always make me laugh. The harder the fight, the better he did.

And no matter how busy he was, he was always willing to be a mentor to younger people, especially African-Americans, looking to get involved in politics and make a difference. His legacy will live on in his beloved Arkansas and across the country through the many people he inspired and whose lives he touched.

Indispensable in campaigns, full of down-home wisdom, a real friend. That was Carol Willis.

Carol lived a good, full life, and Hillary and I will always be grateful to have shared so much of it with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joyce and their family.

Leaders from 8 Delta States, Nationally Watched Congressional Race & Governor's Race at Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Little Rock Event

Posted on August 03, 2018 at 01:43 PM

The Oct. 31-Nov. 1 Greater Delta Region conference in Little Rock will feature forums for the candidates in the nationally watched Second Congressional District campaign and the governor’s race in Arkansas, as well as grassroots leaders from all eight states of the region from southern Illinois and Missouri to New Orleans.

We have confirmed Rep. French Hill and the Democratic nominee, state Rep. Clarke Tucker in the nationally watched Second Congressional District election in Arkansas, as well as Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Democratic nominee Jared Henderson speaking on Nov. 1 at the Clinton Library.

We have invited Congressman Rick Crawford and the Democratic nominee Chintan Desai from the First Congressional District.

The Delta Caucus will not endorse any candidate, but we want to hear from both sides in a bipartisan setting.

Key issues will include job creation and economic development, health care, nutrition and other major safety net programs, education, workforce development, transportation, broadband access, housing and other infrastructure improvements, Delta heritage tourism, and equal economic opportunity for all, including women, minorities, and people in rural areas who have been too often left behind.

We will invite President Bill Clinton to speak about the vital work of the Clinton Foundation in nutrition, health care, energy policy, and other initiatives in the USA and across the globe, by a live call-in.

Please RSVP by replying to this email or calling Lee Powell at (202) 360-6347. You register by paying the registration fees and that info is below in this message.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. Basic Schedule

B. Registration information

C. Group Hotel

D. Preliminary list of regional leaders confirmed on the program thus far

A. SCHEDULE

OPENING SESSION: Wednesday evening, Oct. 31, 4:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., Arkansas State Capitol Rotunda

(Informal, optional socializing/networking dinner at the group hotel restaurant, after the opening session ends, beginning about 7 p.m., Camp David Restaurant at the Holiday Inn Presidential. This gives an opportunity for people to have a dialogue in a relaxed setting, unlike the time-pressured conference sessions.)

CLINTON LIBRARY SESSION: Thursday, Nov. 1, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Great Hall of the Clinton Presidential Library

B. REGISTRATION

You register by sending in the early registration fees, which are $125 for those who have paid annual dues and $100 for those who have paid annual dues.

For those who can get together a group of five or more people from your network, we will give a further group discount and knock the registration fees down to $60 each.

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

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

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 ended😃!

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. Preliminary list of regional leaders confirmed thus far

In addition to Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Democratic nominee for governor Jared Henderson, Rep. French Hill, and Democratic nominee for the Second Congressional District, State Rep. Clarke Tucker, we have confirmed the following grassroots leaders from the Greater Delta Region:

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

–Shelley Ritter, Executive Director, Delta Blues Museum, Clarksdale, Mississippi;

· Brad Cole, Executive Director, Illinois Municipal League (originally from Carbondale in southern Illinois)

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

· Mike Marshall, CEO, Sikeston Missouri Regional Chamber of Commerce and Area Economic Development Corp.’

· Bob Nash, former USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development, President Clinton’s White House Director of Presidential Personnel;

· Tracey Barnett, professor of the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville School of Social Work, leader of a research initiative on the impact of SNAP nutrition program in Arkansas;

· Alan Gumbel, Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce, Memphis, Tennessee;

· State Rep. Chris Richey, Director of Phillips County, Arkansas Chamber of Commerce, Helena-West Helena, Arkansas;

· Kyle Miller, Director, Delta Cultural Center, Helena-West Helena, AR;

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

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

· Cornelius Blanding, Executive Director, Federation of Southern Cooperative, East Point, Georgia—this organization is active all across the South;

· Heifer International will have an information table, with Perry Jones of their USA domestic programs;

· Johnny Pettis, Society of St. Andrew in Arkansas, with an information table on their innovative project for increasing fruit and vegetable production In the region;

· Bud Cummins, distinguished lawyer, former US Attorney, one of the two nonpartisan questioners for the gubernatorial and Congressional candidates.