In two recent posts, Rex Nelson explores aspects of the Delta in his Southern Fried blog.
Rex shares some of his experiences at the Delta Regional Authority in outlining barriers to the impoverished area’s economic turnaround. For starters, the region needs more initiative and planning, he contends.
Too often during my four years as one of the two presidential appointees to the Delta Regional Authority, I attended meetings where people simply had their hands out for government grants. They had no concrete action steps for doing the heavy lifting at the community level. There was no local investment of dollars and no buy in on the part of area residents. They simply wanted someone else — state government, the federal government, a big charitable foundation — to ride in and save the day.
That’s rarely going to happen.
The post, which you can read here, is not just criticism. Rex also highlights many small, but positive, steps being taken in the Delta and predicts that thousands more of these instances will be the ultimate savior of a region searching for salvation.
Rex also focuses on Arkansas City, at one time a critical hub on the Mississippi River before the great flood of 1927.
The incoming Speaker of the House, Rep. Robert Moore, is a resident of Arkansas City. His mother, who passed away several years ago, Dorothy Moore, was a familiar face at the capitol for decades. She greeted visitors in the Governor’s office during legislative sessions.
Rex also notes that because of Robert Moore’s new position, he expects the Delta to have yet another ally at the state capitol during the next session. Remember, Senate President-elect Paul Bookout of Jonesboro and Gov. Mike Beebe – whose Delta roots are plentiful – will all have influence that could positively impact the region.
As a lover of Arkansas history, I think it’s nice to have a speaker from Arkansas City. It seems more like something that would have happened in 1910 rather than 2010 when the economic and political power in this state has moved far to the north and west of that historic community.
Having Moore as the speaker will be good for the entire Delta. He will help make sure that east Arkansas isn’t forgotten at the state Capitol.
You can read this post here.