The Delta Grassroots Caucus, a powerful and influential group of political leaders across the 8-state Mississippi Delta, has leveled harsh criticism regarding comments made by three Arkansas Republicans calling on one to resign.

“The Delta Caucus partners believe that we have made great progress in race relations in the past half century, and we must repudiate the few remaining extremists who want to turn the clock back to the racist past,” the DGC said in a statement issued Friday (Oct. 12).

The statement was in response to positions written and published by Rep. Jon Hubbard (R-Jonesboro), Rep. Loy Mauch (R-Bismarck) and GOP legislative candidate Charlie Fuqua (R-Batesville), who have come under fire for their controversial writings involving race and religion.

Hubbard has written and defended that slavery was a “blessing in disguise” for African-Americans. He has also said that blacks today lack ambition and discipline and need to “appreciate the value of a good education.”

Mauch has written that slavery was not condemned by Jesus in the Bible and that Pres. Abraham Lincoln was a “war criminal.” Fuqua has advocated for the expulsion of all Muslims from the U.S. and suggested the need for a law to allow for the execution of rebellious children.

“Mr. Hubbard is an embarrassment to the state of Arkansas. He should apologize and resign from the Arkansas legislature. We cannot have state legislators who make ignorant comments that could damage our reputation, discourage businesses from investing in our region, and offend the great majority of our people,” Caucus director Lee Powell said.

Powell, is the son of former Arkansas Gazette editor James Powell and was a child in Little Rock during the 1957 integration crisis.

“I recall getting bullied when I was a kid because my father was one of the few prominent white leaders who publicly opposed Faubus, and the great majority of the other kids thought Faubus was a hero,” Powell said.

The Caucus offered praise for several Arkansas Republicans and Democrats in response to the writings and comments of Hubbard, Mauch and Fuqua.

“The Delta Caucus praises leaders of both parties, such as Gov. Beebe, Attorney General McDaniel, Republican Congressmen Tim Griffin and Rick Crawford, who sharply criticized these comments. This has nothing to do with partisanship, and is only the product of the bigotry of a few extremists,” Powell said.

You can read the full statement from the DGC at this link.

The Caucus will be holding a regional conference on Oct. 23-24 at Mid-South Community College in West Memphis. Beverly Robertson, President of the National Civil Rights Museum is expected to be in attendance.

The Delta Grassroots Caucus traces its roots in the mid-1990s to three major bipartisan initiatives dedicated to promoting economic development in the eight-state Delta region, according to its web site.

First, the Mississippi Delta Regional Initiative of the Clinton administration, which included all federal departments and agencies with domestic policy jurisdiction. Secondly, two grassroots coalitions of local leaders: one called the Delta Caucus that was founded in the mid-1990s, and another called the Southern EZ/EC Forum, including all Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities in the Delta region.

Other notable Arkansans who are members of the Delta Grassroots Caucus are:

  • Vice President of the Delta Caucus: Desha County Judge Mark McElroy (D-Arkansas City). McElroy is a State Representative-elect in the Arkansas General Assembly.
  • Barrett Harrison, Blytheville, Arkansas; Mayor of Blytheville through 2010; director of Blytheville-Gosnell Regional Airport Authority
  • Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, now a partner with Patton & Boggs, Washington, D.C.
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