Tester to Postal Service chief: Listen to Montanans

Senator highlights economic importance of post offices in rural, frontier communities

(BIG SANDY, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester is urging the head of the U.S. Postal Service to consider the input from hundreds of Montanans who voiced concerns this week about the economic impact of potential closures of mail processing centers in the Big Sky State.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe hosted public listening sessions this week with Montanans in Butte, Helena, Havre and Miles City—towns in which the Postal Service is considering closing or consolidating area mail processing centers.

In a letter today to Donohue, Tester highlighted the concerns expressed by Montanans, including the “the importance of a reliable and efficient postal system for doing business and making ends meet in our frontier state.”

“Montanans generally rely upon the U.S. Postal Service for more services than most Americans,” Tester wrote.  “Farmers rely on postal service for timely delivery of replacement parts for equipment when a single day delay during planting or harvest impacts their bottom line.  Veterans and elderly citizens rely on the USPS for delivery of life-saving medications.  Many folks depend on postal service for payments that keep food on their table, gas in their tanks, and heat in their homes.”

Tester—a member of the Government Affairs and Homeland Security Committee which has jurisdiction over the Postal Service—also cited important differences in the role post offices play in rural communities and urban cities.

“The bottom line is that Montana doesn’t fit well into consolidation modeling,” Tester added.  “No rural state does, especially ones with challenging road conditions and long distances between communities.  Your staff heard that message dozens of times from Montanans this week.  I strongly urge you to listen to them.”

Tester’s letter follows his earlier request for an explanation from Donahoe on decisions to consolidate two regional postal districts.  Tester is pushing the agency for data used in those decisions, as well as a detailed plan to avoid any economic harm to Montana communities. 

Tester’s latest letter to Donahoe is available on his website, HERE.