Federal Co-Chair of the Delta Regional Authority: Who Is Chris Caldwell?

Friday, October 06, 2017
Chris Caldwell

Christopher Caldwell, a seventh-generation Arkansan, was nominated September 12, 2017, to head the Delta Regional Authority (DRA). Founded in 2000, the DRA is a federal/state partnership designed to stimulate economic development in the Delta Region and increase the area’s self-sufficiency. The region covers 252 counties and parishes in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. In March 2017, President Donald Trump presented a budget that would eliminate the Delta Regional Authority, but apparently he has had a change of heart.


The man Caldwell will replace, Democrat Chris Masingill, praised Caldwell. “We go to church together,” he said. “I know him and his family. He is good people.”


Caldwell grew up on a cattle ranch in central Arkansas, but attended high school at Pulaski Academy, a private school in Little Rock from which he graduated in 1997. His father, Rick Caldwell, was the college roommate of Mike Huckabee, who went on to become governor of Arkansas, and managed Huckabee’s gubernatorial campaign in 1998. Chris Caldwell earned a B.A. in communications from the University of Arkansas in 2001.


Caldwell jumped right into Republican politics after graduation, working on the unsuccessful 2002 re-election campaign of Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R), who lost to Democrat Mark Pryor. Caldwell worked on other GOP campaigns, including Mike Huckabee’s presidential bid in 2007-2008, before he landed with Sen. John Boozman (R-Arkansas). Caldwell served as Boozman’s political director in his 2010 campaign and managed his 2016 race. Caldwell served as Boozman’s director of special projects after the election. It was Boozman who recommended Caldwell for the $172,100-a-year job of DRA co-chair.


Caldwell and his wife, Ashley (Younger), have two children.

-Steve Straehley, David Wallechinsky


To Learn More:

Caldwell Favored for Delta Position; Boozman Touts Aide for his Passion for Assisting People, Sense of Duty (by Frank E. Lockwood, Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

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