Nebraskans are some of the most thoughtful and patriotic Americans you can find. We're always ready, willing, and able to do our part for the country, but that doesn't mean we're not watchful for proposals that would impact life in rural America. Proposals put forth by the U.S. Postal Service to close rural post offices and end Saturday mail delivery would do just that.
Those who live in cities don't always appreciate driving distances in agriculture country and what rural folks have to deal with when it comes to post offices in a state this large. For instance, a business owner in Lisco, in Nebraska's Panhandle, wrote to me saying if the Lisco office is closed, as is proposed, he'll have to drive to Oshkosh just to get his mail. That's about 15 miles one way or a round trip of 30 miles which would amount to 150 miles for a five day work week. That's a lot of inconvenience and added expense especially with gas prices what they are today.
The U.S. Postal Service has proposed closing many mail processing centers and 3,700 mainly rural post offices across the country, including 90 in Nebraska. Congress is currently working on comprehensive postal reform legislation to protect rural post offices from closure and I've supported these efforts.
I know local post offices and regular mail delivery are very important to communities across Nebraska. Keeping Saturday delivery shows one example.
Without Saturday delivery, rural Nebraskans might not see their local newspaper they get now in the mail on Friday or Saturday until the following Tuesday. People won't be able to keep up on local news. Daily papers will become like weeklies. Delivery of weekly papers could slide too.
This hurts the right of citizens to be informed, which has been an important principle since America was founded.
If Congress doesn't pass a postal reform bill soon, there's nothing to stop the U.S. Postmaster General from going ahead with a draconian cost-savings plan that would change small town life in Nebraska and across the country.
Rural post offices, the services they provide, and the people who provide them, have great value to communities across Nebraska. Everyone understands that the Postal Service is in the midst of a financial crisis that has to be addressed. This problem can be solved without substantially slowing down the delivery of mail or harming rural America.
But we can't do that if some in Congress continue with tactics that only delays postal reform from moving forward and obstructing Congress with more job killing gridlock. Meanwhile, time is running out and the D.C. bureaucrats still don't get it when it comes to rural living.