Does the Delta Grassroots Caucus carry weight statewide?
By Matt Mershon
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - It's a caucus that focuses on fixing the problems of the Delta. But this year's Delta Grassroots Caucus that took place at the Clinton Library, is focusing more on what this year's political candidates have to say about fixing one of the nation's poorest regions. "These are going to be decades-long solutions to problems," commented Roby Brock of Talk Business & Politics. "The question is are they making progress based on the blueprint that they're working off of now - or are they moving in the wrong direction, and again according to your political persuasion you're probably going to have different viewpoints on that." Both gubernatorial candidates, Mike Ross and Asa Hutchinson, didn't differ much on their responses to questions posed by the caucus - it was the polarized senate race that caught the eye of many in attendance. "One of the things in the race that's very clear is the sharp contract between my opponent and me," said Sen. Mark Pryor, the democrat running for reelection to his current senate position. "I don't think there's any one bill that demonstrates it clearer than the Farm Bill." In regard to the Farm Bill, Pryor voted for it while Cotton did not. "I don't think the Farm Bill is properly titled," said Cotton addressing the audience via Skype. "It should be called the food stamp bill. It's 80 percent food stamp and nutrition spending and that's over $300 billion of new deficit finance spending." Cotton's lack of support for the Farm Bill, but more importantly his vote against the Delta Regional Authority, didn't sit well with caucus organizers - condemning his comments on Friday. "We were just disturbed that the defended his vote to abolish the DRA and was very critical of the regional commissions," said Lee Powell, Delta Grassroots Caucus organizer. But does a slowly shrinking part of the state really matter to these politicians? Brock said he doesn't believe these politicians are just giving lip service to residents of the Delta, but rather they should all be concerned about the agriculture rich part of the state. "It's important, I think, for politicians of all persuasions to want to see the Delta succeed," said Brock. "They just have competing views on how that should happen."Brock said those competing views clearly pander to either side of the aisle, which resonates with respective parties. A very divided race easily seen at this year's caucus.
KATV ABC 7 in Little Rock, Arkansas covers news, sports, weather and the local community in the city and the surrounding area, including Hot Springs, Conway, Pine Bluff, Jacksonville, Sherwood, Stuttgart, Benton, Bauxite, East End, Scott, Pinnacle, Maumelle, Gibson, Landmark and Hensley.