Past Press Releases
Delta Leaders Announce Compact Ceremony
Monday, July 26, 1999: A group of Eastern Arkansas legislators, mayors, county judges and others calling themselves the “Delta Caucus” announced today that they are holding a regional press conference and signing ceremony on the banks of the Mississippi River. The event will be held on Monday, August 2, 1999 at 10:30am at the West Memphis Port, followed by a Noon Catfish Luncheon at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis. The public is invited to attend.
The Delta Caucus was organized to declare regional solidarity and plans to ” March on Washington” this Fall in an effort to attract more Federal dollars for the Delta.
State Senator Kevin Smith (D-Stuttgart) and Rep. Joe Harris (D-Osceola), Co-Chairmen of the Caucus, and State Representative Steve Jones (D-Marion), who is hosting the meeting, all said the group hopes recent publicity generated by President Bill Clinton’s visit will help. “We are organizing this grassroots coalition to go to Washington and let them know that we must have help if the millions of people in the Delta Region are to ever participate in our Nation’s economy,” said Rep. Joe Harris.
The Delta Caucus held its first press conference last month at the Governor’s Conference Room in the State Capitol. Representatives of the Arkansas Municipal League, the Arkansas Association of Counties, and other organizations were present to announce the formation of this alliance to work on the Delta’s problems.
“Of the four blighted areas of this country that the President visited this month, the only area that doesn’t enjoy targeted Federal economic assistance is the Delta, which also happens to be the poorest region as well,” said State Sen. Kevin Smith ( D – Stuttgart). “We aim to correct that shameful oversight.”
In addition to legislators, organizers expect county judges, mayors, chamber representatives, church leaders and others from nearly every Arkansas Delta county to be present at the ceremony.
At Monday’s event, local officials are going to unveil plans to march on Washington this Fall, including an agenda to testify before Congress and meet with the President. In addition, the Delta Caucus meeting will include a signing ceremony when all the officials and citizen’s present will come forward and sign what is being called “the Delta Covenant”, a petition appealing to Congress for support.
The group also strongly encourages members of the public to attend the event. “We are asking everyone who reads or hears about this to grab some folks from their community, come to the ceremony on Monday and make a public commitment by signing this covenant,” Smith added.
A map with directions to the press conference is attached. For more information please contact Kevin Smith or Joe Harris at 870-673-2132.