LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ major-party candidates for governor and the 1st District congressional seat are among the speakers scheduled to address the Delta Grassroots Caucus’ fall regional conference in Helena-West Helena this week, the caucus said Wednesday.

LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas’ major-party candidates for governor and the 1st District congressional seat are among the speakers scheduled to address the Delta Grassroots Caucus’ fall regional conference in Helena-West Helena this week, the caucus said Wednesday.


"The conference will give major candidates a final opportunity to make their case on job creation and the economy, the private option health care plan, women’s issues, the minimum wage, the farm bill and other key subjects for east Arkansas at the height of the election season," said Lee Powell, caucus director.


Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson, his Democratic opponent, Mike Ross, U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, and his Democratic challenger, Heber Springs Mayor Jackie McPherson, will speak Friday at the conference at Beth El Heritage Hall, Powell said.


The two-day conference will begin Thursday. U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is scheduled to speak via Skype on Thursday and in person on Friday. His re-election opponent, U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, has told the caucus he has a scheduling conflict but will send the conference a letter discussing his views.


U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-Ark., who is not up for re-election this year, is scheduled to speak Thursday.


Other scheduled speakers include Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi; Democratic U.S. Rep. Travis Childers of Mississippi; Rodney Slater, who served as U.S. secretary of transportation under President Bill Clinton; Bo Ryall, CEO of the Arkansas Hospital Association; and Lynnette Watts, executive director of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas.


Also on the agenda to speak are Dr. Roland Irwin, clinical director of Mid-South Health Systems; Bob Nash, senior White House aide to President Clinton; Kay Goss, associate director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Clinton; Helena-West Helena Mayor Arnell Willis; and Kevin Smith, Helena businessman and Delta Caucus senior adviser.


More than 100 grassroots leaders from the Mississippi Delta region are expected to attend, with every state in the region represented but most of the crowd being from eastern Arkansas, Powell said.