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.

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.

Delta Caucus Pays Tribute to Legacy of Ralph Paige, a Great American, this July 4

Posted on July 04, 2018 at 01:33 PM

As we celebrate America’s Independence this July 4, the Delta Grassroots Caucus would like to pay tribute to a great American champion of social, economic and racial justice, Ralph Paige, who led the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund for 30 years.

Ralph Paige passed away on June 28, 2018 after a life-time of service for low-income people in the South, African American and other minority farmers, and organizing 70 cooperatives and 18 community development credit unions over a broad range of rural America.

Among his many achievements, Mr. Paige spearheaded efforts starting in the mid-1990s and continuing for two decades to bring justice to many African American and other minority farmers who were discriminated against at USDA in credit, conservation and rural development.

These efforts culminated in the Pigford I and Pigford II class action cases, becoming the largest successful discrimination lawsuit against the US federal government, bringing payments of $2.5 billion in payments to thousands of black farm families.

Mr. Paige also supported discrimination settlements for Hispanic, Native American and women farmers who were discriminated against by USDA.

Bob Nash, Under Secretary for USDA Rural Development and later Director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel for President Clinton, praised Ralph Paige by saying he “literally saved farms and lives all across the South. Ralph will be remembered by thousands across the South who still have their land because of him.”

Bob Nash’s wife, Janis Kearney, White House diarist for President Clinton and founding publisher of Writing Our World Press in Little Rock, said “Ralph Paige was a passionate and strong advocate for all those who lived in rural areas.”

Delta Caucus partners remember the great work of Ralph Paige–Delta Caucus director Lee Powell and long-time family farmer advocate Harvey Joe Sanner of Arkansas worked with Mr. Paige over the decades. Powell recalls working with Ralph Paige when Powell was a Presidential appointee at USDA in the Clinton administration, as President Clinton was supporting efforts to redress the sad history of USDA’s discrimination against African Americans and other minorities.

Powell recalls that senior USDA officials in the Clinton administration clearly saw it was time for the Department to change its climate toward minorities, including aiding limited resource farmers. This led–among many other initiatives–to an expansion of the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program and later to farmers’ market programs for seniors, greater use of food stamps at farmers’ markets, and other efforts to promote smaller-scale farmers. It was a difficult struggle and we still have a ways to go, but Ralph Paige’s leadership in working with grassroots, state and federal levels led to substantial progress over the many years of his leadership.

To cite just one smaller-scale but interesting anecdote, Secretary Dan Glickman decided that USDA national headquarters needed to practice what it preached and instructed Powell to use the senior executives’ parking lot on the Mall for a farmers’ market for produce farmers in the mid-Atlantic region. After some dismissive comments from some of the executives who didn’t like the inconvenience and predicted that the USDA Farmers Market would fade away soon, with the support of Ralph Paige the first USDA Farmers Market was held in 1996 before a big crowd at the national headquarters.

Ralph Paige brought up a group of farmers all the way from Georgia to support the effort (and also sell a lot of their produce to the throng at USDA)—and they had to get up very early in the morning to make it there on time for the opening of the market.

Contrary to the nay-sayers, that USDA market on the national Mall still exists today. This was a minor example (well, okay, it wasn’t minor if you were one of the small farmers from Virginia, Maryland and Georgia who made some income from it) of Ralph’s dedication, but it shows that he was always ready to help projects large and small.

The larger-scale WIC Farmers’ market, EBT use for SNAP, senior farmers’ market programs, and the farm-to-school efforts that Paige began promoting in the late twentieth century in cooperation with many other nutrition and small farmer advocates provided significant new markets for many smaller-scale farmers across the country, while increasing access to fresh, nutritious produce for many low-income Americans.

Of course the monumental Pigford litigation was just beginning in the 1990s, but thanks to the network of leaders Ralph Paige worked with, they persevered and the gains became much larger over time.

The Federation’s creation of so many cooperatives and credit unions across the South were a victory for all lower-income people in the rural South, and not just minorities.

Harvey Joe Sanner, Delta Caucus senior ag adviser. president of the American Agriculture Movement of Arkansas, and a long-time advocate for family farmers, recalls working with Ralph Paige and lobbying for a variety of initiatives to help farmers over many years.

Sanner lobbied President Clinton for Ralph Paige and Jim DuPree, an Arkansas farmer who is very knowledgeable about agriculture policy, to serve on the 21st Century Commission on Production Agriculture, founded by President Clinton and continued in the Bush administration. On that commission, Paige, DuPree and others recommended that the family farm system was the best for our country, that farm safety net programs for farmers were essential in downturns such as declines in prices, and it was not wise to concentrate all land-ownership into corporate agriculture’s big business.

We all know that corporate agriculture has continued to grow in recent years—just as corporations and wealthier Americans have fared very well across all sectors of the US economy with our unfortunately increasing economic inequalty—and the Commission’s recommendations were not followed anywhere near as much as farm advocates like Paige, DuPree and Sanner would have liked; Nonetheless there is still a safety net for some funding to farmers when prices decline and other vicissitudes, and positive programs such as crop insurance.

Sanner emphasized that “Ralph Paige was greatly respected and liked by family farmers and rural development advocates all across the South.”

The Federation of Southern Cooperatives is currently led by Executive Director Cornelius Blanding. Ralph Paige worked out a succession before he retired in 2015 so that his work could go on after him. We know the Federation will continue the great work of Mr. Paige.

We would like to pass along extended excerpts from the Federation’s eulogy for Ralph Paige, who will truly be sorely missed.

Ralph Paige, former Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, dies at 74

It is with the saddest regret that we announce that Ralph Paige, former Executive Director of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, died Thursday, June 28th. Mr. Paige served as Executive Director for 30 years from 1985 to 2015. He began working for the Federation in 1969 and served the organization for 46 years.

During his thirty years as Executive Director, he built the Federation into the premier organization representing Black farmers and low-income rural people in the South. He helped to organize 70 cooperatives and 18 community development credit unions during his tenure as Executive Director. He supported the development of the Federation’s unique Rural Training and Research Center in Epes, Alabama, including an agro-forestry component and forestry demonstrations.

He spearheaded efforts from the mid-1990’s forward to file suit against USDA for discrimination in credit, conservation and rural development. These efforts led to the historic Pigford I and Pigford II class action cases, which became the largest successful discrimination lawsuits against the U. S. Federal government and yielded $2.5 billion in payments to thousands of Black farm families. He also supported discrimination settlements for Native American, Hispanic and Women farmers who were also subjected to discrimination by USDA.

He worked on legislation to reform farm and rural policies to allow for the formation of the National Co-op Bank, creation of the Section 2501 Outreach and Technical Assistance Program for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, expansion of farm credit to include Micro-loans, appropriate to family-size farming operations; and the creation of the Rural Cooperative Development Program to support cooperative development and training centers, like the Federation’s at Epes.

His greatest legacy is that the Federation has continued and flourished, celebrating its 50th anniversary in August 2017. A succession plan that he initiated has replaced the ‘founding generation of core staff’ with a new generation of capable leadership to guide the organization for the next generation and into the future.

He received numerous awards including induction in to the Cooperative Hall of Fame in 2004, Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from SCLC, George Washington Carver Hall of Fame at Tuskegee, Congressional Black Caucus Leadership Award, NCBA Co-op Month Leadership Award and many others.

Ralph leaves to cherish his memory, a wife of 51 years, Bernice, two children, Bernard and Kenyatta, five grand children and many relatives and friends.

**The wake for Ralph Paige: Thursday, July 5, 2018: The wake will be held at the Warren Temple United Methodist Church (416 E Depot St, LaGrange, GA 30241) from 6:00-8:00 pm(EST)**

Sen. Boozman, Broad Bipartisan Coalition in Senate Preserve SNAP & Ag Programs in Farm Bill

Posted on June 29, 2018 at 01:19 PM

The Delta Caucus praised Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), and a bipartisan coalition in the Senate for passing a Farm Bill that preserves vital SNAP nutrition programs as well as agriculture and conservation programs. The margin was an overwhelming 86-11.

Caucus Director Lee Powell, a senior USDA official as a Presidential appointee in the Clinton administration, said “Sen. Boozman as an Ag Committee member and co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus, and Sen. Roberts, Ag Committee chair, worked with many Democrats to preserve the basic SNAP nutrition program that is the vital safety net against hunger in America, as well as vital agriculture provisions that are crucial for our farmers across the Delta.”

The Senate version of the Farm Bill protects Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit levels and eligibility for children, seniors, people with disabilities, lower income working families, veterans and those seeking work.

In addition to the SNAP provision, the bill renews vital farm programs for crop insurance and land conservation at a time when farmers are facing low prices and the possibility of a trade war that could depress commodity prices even more.

Harvey Joe Sanner, senior Ag adviser to the Delta Caucus and a leader of the Tractorcade farm protests in the 1970s, said “The House Bill is totally unacceptable on many levels. The SNAP program is a great program that consumes a good portion of the farm products grown in the U.S. It also supports families and children who deserve our compassion and support.”

Sanner said “On the political side, a coalition of producers, exporters, processors, conservationists and those focused on the nutrition programs are necessary to pass farm legislation. The Senate Bill does a far better job of addressing all of these diverse, vital views and concerns.

“The Senate version of the bill is vastly superior to the House version, which cuts SNAP benefits, eligibility, and would cause many children in SNAP households to lose their direct connection to free school meals. We also commend the 68 senators who defeated a detrimental amendment that would have made hunger worse by inflicting harsh work rules on struggling families and would require food retailers to check photo identification for SNAP EBT (electronic benefit transfer) card customers,” Powell said.

“We would like to thank Joel Berg of Hunger Free America, all our colleagues at the Food Research and Action Center, Feeding America, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, and the many partners who made calls and other contacts to their Members of Congress across the country and in the eight-state Greater Delta region in supporting passage of the Senate version of this legislation. This is one of the most, if not the most important bill for the Delta region,” Powell said.

“The Delta Caucus urges all our partners to work for the Senate version of the bill to prevail as the House and Senate work to reconcile the two versions,” Sanner said.

Addendum–USDA Food Insecurity Data for Delta region:

Delta states unfortunately had five of the six worst food insecurity levels in America in the USDA 2016 data. Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama were the three worst, with Arkansas and Kentucky respectively fourth and fifth. The only state outside of our region in the worst six states was New Mexico.

Food insecurity in 2016 data from the USDA Economic Research Service (states with worst food insecurity):

Mississippi: 18.7%

Louisiana: 18.3%

Alabama: 18.1%

New Mexico: 17.6%

Arkansas: 17.5%

Kentucky: 17.3%

Urge Your US Senators to Vote For Senate Ag Committee Version of Farm Bill--Week of June 25-29

Posted on June 25, 2018 at 01:59 PM

The Delta Caucus and Economic Equality Caucus ask all our colleagues across the country to join large numbers of mainstream nutrition, agriculture and public policy organizations in urging your US Senators to vote for the Senate Agriculture Committee version of the Farm Bill (S. 3042), and to vote “No” on any and all harmful amendments that would cut or weaken the vital SNAP hunger and nutrition safety net.

We are conveying information from the Food Research and Action Center, Feeding America, and Hunger Free America in this newsletter. These three great organizations were among the key participants at our policy seminar on Capitol Hill with several key Members of Congress in late May, and we commend their great leadership on nutrition issues in America.

The Farm Bill is absolutely essential for the eight-state Greater Delta Region, in the agriculture programs, rural development, and nutrition—which is crucial for our region because we unfortunately rank last among America’s major regions in food security.

Major agriculture organizations are weighing in for this bill and we welcome an alliance of supporters of farmers and nutrition programs.

We are conveying the following Alert from Food Research and Action Center and Feeding America—

Take these steps to protect SNAP in the Senate Farm Bill:

1) On Tuesday, June 26, call 1-888-398-8702 and enter your zip code to be connected to your Senators. (Toll-free number courtesy of Feeding America.)

2) Urge your Senators to vote to protect and strengthen SNAP, to vote “Yes” on the Senate Agriculture Committee version of the Farm Bill (S. 3042), and to vote “No” on any and all harmful amendments that would cut or weaken SNAP.

3) Senate Ag Cmte #FarmBill protects SNAP & keeps food on the table for children, working families, seniors, veterans, ppl with disabilities, among others. We join @fractweets in urging @SenateFloor to vote NO on any amendments that would weaken #SNAP

Background

S. 3042 (pdf) passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on June 13. It is expected to be taken up by the Senate this week, with a vote likely on Thursday, June 28. Unlike the House Farm Bill (H.R. 2), the Senate bill protects SNAP benefit levels and eligibility, and keeps food on the table for struggling low-income people.

A Quick Friendly Reminder—Please send in your Annual Membership dues to the Delta Caucus ASAP

Annual dues at a minimum of $25 for individuals, or $50 or $100 for medium or larger organizations or those who just wish to donate a larger amount. These help enable us to do our advocacy work.

The easiest way to pay annual membership dues for 2018 is to go to the website at mdgc.us and go to the PayPal link that says “Donate.”

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

Examples of Mainstream Organizations Supporting SNAP

There are huge numbers of agriculture, nutrition, and public policy organizations in the Delta and across the country supporting the Senate Ag committee version of the Farm Bill. Here are just a few examples:

· AARP opposes H.R. 2 in its current form because it adds new barriers in the SNAP program … that will result in greater food insecurity and older Americans losing the nutritional assistance they need and depend on.”

· The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights urges Congress to “combat hunger and food insecurity by protecting and strengthening SNAP in a bipartisan farm bill.”

· 167 National women’s groups sent a letter to House Members stating that the House version of the Farm Bill’s “proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) threaten the economic security of women and families by proposing restrictions on categorical eligibility, mandatory participation in the federal child support enforcement program, harsh expansions of work requirements, and increased paperwork for families and states.”

· Agriculture/conservation/food and nutrition groups urge Congress not to make budget cuts to the agriculture and nutrition programs.

· U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution: Urging the Passage of a Farm Bill That Supports Healthy Food Access and Sustainable Food Systems.

· The Council of State Governments resolution urges Congress to enact a 2018 Farm Bill reauthorization that includes a strong domestic hunger and nutrition safety net, noting the importance of SNAP in rural areas, for military families and farmers, and in response to disasters.

· The National Grocers Association letter to Members of Congress, signed by nearly 900 grocers from all 50 states, notes Congress’s “decades-long recognition that supermarkets remain an indispensable private sector partner in the successful public-private partnership of the SNAP program”—and strongly opposes replacing household SNAP benefits with a government-run direct food distribution service.

· The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda’s letter opposing H.R. 2 states that the bill’s provisions related to SNAP would be detrimental to Latino and other communities across the United States.

FACTS: There is still far too much hunger in the Delta and many other areas of America:

While the Delta Caucus strongly supports the Senate committee version as vastly superior to the House version, we would also echo the comments of Joel Berg, CEO of the national nonprofit Hunger Free America, that we still have a long way to go in fighting hunger in America.

41 million Americans still struggle against hunger. The average SNAP benefit is now only $1.36 per meal, and that is far below what it takes to buy a full, nutritious meal. Next year we must do better, but for now it is essential to pass the far superior Senate Ag committee version of the farm bill.

Delta states unfortunately had five of the six worst food insecurity levels in America in the USDA 2016 data. Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama were the three worst, with Arkansas and Kentucky respectively fourth and fifth. The only state outside of our region in the worst six states was New Mexico.

Food insecurity in 2016 data from the USDA Economic Research Service:

  1. Mississippi: 18.7%
  2. Louisiana: 18.3%
  3. Alabama: 18.1%
  4. New Mexico: 17.6%
  5. Arkansas: 17.5%
  6. Kentucky: 17.3%

The Great Majority of SNAP Recipients Work in Low-Paying Jobs, Are Children, Seniors or Disabled

FACTS ABOUT SNAP Recipients:

· Almost 70% of SNAP participants are in families with children;

· 43% of SNAP participants live in a household receiving earnings from work;

· Nearly one third of SNAP recipients are in households with seniors or the disabled;

· In 2015 the SNAP program lifted 4.6 million Americans above the poverty line.

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

Posted on June 08, 2018 at 01:25 PM

The Greater Delta Region annual conference is set for Wednesday evening, Oct. 31, and Thursday morning and lunch on Nov. 1, 2018 in Little Rock. Please save the dates.

We will hear from grassroots leaders from all eight states in nonpartisan presentations on community and economic development, and we are inviting the candidates for governor and two Congressional races to a bipartisan forum in this vital election year. We will not endorse any candidate but want to hear from them all.

Key issues will include economic progress and equality, job creation at good wages, transportation, broadband and other infrastructure improvements, education, support for health care, SNAP and major nutrition safety net programs, Delta heritage tourism, and equal opportunity for women, minorities, and smaller-town/rural people who have often been left behind in America’s prosperity.

Annual dues and registration fees: Please send in annual membership dues if you have not already done so. For those who have paid the minimum $25 annual dues, registration fees are $100 for the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 conference. They are $125 for those who have not paid the annual dues.

While we place great emphasis on the request that partners stay for the entire two sessions for a conference that we only do once a year and that is relatively brief, for people in Little Rock such as state legislators or others who have inescapable obligations regarding their jobs, we understand that they may not be able to attend all of both sessions and we will pro-rate registration fees accordingly. For everyone else who is traveling to the event we ask that they stay for both of the full sessions.

We have greatly condensed this conference to an evening session, and then the morning and lunch sessions the next day, and have eliminated the afternoon session. That removes any reason for people to leave early.

With such a shortened time span, we ask you to stay for both sessions and NOT leave early for any of them, because this creates the very awkward situation where the last few speakers are addressing a small group of people. We emphasized that request for last year’s conference in Little Rock and the vast majority of our partners stayed until both of the sessions ended.

OPENING SESSION, late Wednesday afternoon and early evening, Oct. 31, 4:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., Rotunda of the Arkansas State Capitol

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

Annual dues: If you cannot attend the conference due to travel, budget, and/or time constraints, you can still support our grassroots advocacy activities by sending in the annual membership dues, which are a minimum of $25, or $50 for medium-sized organizations, or $100 for larger institutions or those who wish to make a larger contributions.

Registration fees for Oct. 31-Nov. 1 conference: If you can make the Oct. 31-Nov. 1, again registration fees are $100 for those who have paid their annual membership dues and $125 for those who have not.

EASIEST WAY TO PAY REGISTRATION FEES AND/OR DUES is on the PayPal link of the website at mdgc.us Go to the website at mdgc.us and go to the PayPal Link at the top of the website that says “DONATE.”

The PayPal process creates a written record of the transaction, but we can also send an invoice if you wish.

Again, registration fees are $100 if you have paid annual dues, and $125 if you have not.

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

MAY 23-24 Economic Equality Caucus meetings in Washington, DC area: Thanks to all who took part in the Economic Equality Caucus meetings in the DC area in May, which had a broad geographical scope and included participants from California, the Midwest, the Greater Delta Region, Appalachia, New York, Massachusetts, and the Virginia/Washington, DC/Maryland region.

We have long benefited from the support of many partners in Virginia, and at the May 23 opening session in McLean, Virginia at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, we heard from major nonprofit organizations based in Virginia as well as candidates from both parties in the nationally watched, hotly contested 10th Congressional District election in northern Virginia.

We were honored to have former Arkansas Congressman Bill Alexander (who represented the First District for many years and was in the national leadership as Chief Deputy Majority Whip), and his wife Debi Alexander, now Director of Development at the major nonprofit Phillips Programs for Children and Families. Rep. Alexander and Debi Alexander now live in McLean.

On May 24 we held policy seminars on Capitol Hill with major policy organizations on hunger and nutrition, rural economic development, Hispanic, African American and Native American leaders, organizations involved in urban job creation programs, Members of Congress and some executive branch officials.

We had a dialogue with Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), Co-Chair of the US House Hunger Caucus and chair of the House agriculture nutrition subcommittee, Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Co-Chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus, Rep. French Hill and Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), about our coalition’s support for SNAP and other major nutrition programs, USDA Rural Development and agriculture programs, infrastructure improvements, and job creation at good wages.

USDA Food and Nutrition Service Deputy Administrator Rich Lucas spoke about the SNAP program from the standpoint of the agency that administers it, and Betty-Ann Bryce, Senior Policy Advisor for USDA Rural Development, spoke about her agency’s efforts to combat the opioids epidemic in rural America.

To see the list of all the speakers, the full agenda is on this website–Go to the “Caucus Articles” link and pull up the article for May 3, 2018 on “Jobs/Economy and other Key Issues for May 23-24 Washington, DC Meetings.”