As this community is well aware, the U.S. Postal Service is facing budgetary challenges that have endangered rural post offices. Potential closures rightly concern local residents who depend on their post offices to receive paychecks, bills, medications and voting ballots. While the Postal Service must adapt to the 21st century, I believe it can be done in a more thoughtful way that does not compromise service standards and takes the voices of rural Coloradans into consideration.
The recently passed Postal Reform Bill is a good step in that direction. For starters, every community awaiting news on the fate of its post office would have an advocate in the decision-making process. That provision, which I introduced with Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, was a response to concerns of constituents who told me they felt voiceless in a process with broad implications for local residents and businesses. Additionally, in making closure decisions, the Postal Service would be required to consider factors such as access to broadband and internet service, demographics and transportation challenges a key factor here in rural Colorado.
The bill would also institute a one-year moratorium on closures to ensure no decision is made hastily. The Postal Service can and should modernize, but our rural communities should be key players in that process. The Postal Reform Bill ensures they are.
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet
Editors note: Sen. Bennets Four Corners office is at 835 East 2nd Avenue, Suite 206, in Durango. the phone number is (970) 259-1710