Delta Regional Authority Brings Community Leaders to D.C.

June 14, 2016
Contact: Spencer Lucker
(202) 434-4842,


Delta Leadership meet with federal, congressional officials to discuss economic opportunities in Delta communities

DRA brings community leaders to D.C.


WASHINGTON — Members of the Delta Leadership Institute’s Executive Academy, selected by Governor Bryant and Delta Regional Authority federal co-chairman Chris Masingill, met last week with their congressional delegation and federal officials in Washington, DC, to talk about issues affecting the Mississippi River Delta region, including creating good-paying jobs, growing small businesses and entrepreneurs, and training a skilled workforce.

“Our cities and towns are important laboratories for policy development and economic growth in our region. To support smart, effective decision-making in our local communities, the Delta Leadership Institute is training and connecting our region’s leaders with the tools, network, and skills to improve the economic realities of their communities,” Chairman Masingill said. “This session in Washington, DC, provides them access to each of these and empower them to share their experiences back home and throughout the region.”

Executive Academy fellows were in Washington for the fifth session of the DLI Executive Academy, a year-long program for community leaders across the Delta that teaches leadership skills and prepares fellows to collaborate across state and local borders to address the most-pressing challenges of the region. This is the eleventh class of the DLI Executive Academy.

Among the participants was MMBA’s own.  Shellie Michael, CEO of the Mississippi Minority Business Alliance, Inc.

Those attending were:

  • Amanda Allen | Clarksdale, MS
  • Tracy Ausberry | Clarksdale, MS
  • Joshua Bower | Jackson, MS
  • Rolando Herts | Cleveland, MS
  • Shellie Michael | Clinton, MS
  • Lane Riley | Shaw, MS
  • Jessie Whitley | Greenville, MS



The meetings also allow these Delta leaders to interact directly with their congressional representation and discuss the policies and resources that they see as being most important to the region’s economic success, such as workforce development, access to healthcare, entrepreneurship, disaster recovery and resilience, and geotourism.

“I commend the Delta Regional Authority for fostering new leadership to promote economic growth and health care improvement throughout the Delta.  It was a pleasure to meet the members of the Delta Leadership Institute, who will use the leadership skills they’re learning to aid their communities,” U.S. Senator Thad Cochran said.


“I enjoyed my conversation with this group of new leaders. This and other leadership programs are vital to the future success of our state,” U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson (MS-2) said. “I tried to stress the importance of strong, competent individuals taking up the mantle of leadership in the Mississippi Delta to continue getting things done for the people they serve.”


About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership that is congressionally mandated to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives in 252 counties and parishes in the eight states of the Delta region. Through the Rural Communities Advancement Program, the DRA has provided leadership development to more than 400 community leaders over ten years and strengthened regional collaboration with its Delta Leadership Institute.