This editorial ran in the Salina Journal on May 26, 2020.
The familiar sight of a U.S. Postal Service truck making its deliveries is part of daily life on Kansas’ farms, ranches, businesses and in suburban neighborhoods. Even as the nation fights against the COVID-19 pandemic and normal life has changed, the services provided by the Postal Service remain steady.
Postal Service employees have maintained delivery routes, bringing essential medicines, groceries, and vital supplies to doorsteps, and they deserve our gratitude for remaining on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Postal Service has long been an essential piece of American communication and commerce, but it’s deteriorating financial condition, made worse by the economic impacts of COVID-19, threatens its future. Kansas’ rural communities, where broadband access and nearby stores are limited or nonexistent, heavily rely on the services of the Postal Service as the means of staying connected and competitive.
Unique in its ability to reach nearly every address in America, the Postal Service is an indispensable piece of infrastructure. In a time when our older citizens remain increasingly isolated for their safety, the Postal Service serves as an avenue of stability, allowing communication and products to flow through a familiar method. COVID-19 has already limited their freedom and losing postal deliveries would pose an undeserved challenge for them and their families.
For rural Kansas and older residents, the Postal Service is the glue that keeps them connected to the rest of the country.
Since my earliest years representing Kansans in Washington, D.C., I have advocated for the preservation of rural post offices and common-sense reforms that ensure the Postal Service’s stability. When a post office closes, it creates problems for businesses and the community and can cause significant harm to the local economy.
Several years ago, when the Postal Service began looking into closing their rural locations, I introduced legislation to give Kansans more influence over the presence of a post office in their communities. As the Postal Service considers ways to cut costs, I am committed to ensuring rural communities are not unfairly impacted.
In order to provide certainty to Kansans and protect taxpayers, Congress must craft prudent reforms to the Postal Service, helping it meet the needs of our nation now and in the future. I have worked closely with my colleagues in the House of Representatives and the Senate to do just that by introducing a postal reform bill during the past three sessions of Congress.
I am working closely with Senator Tom Carper, D-Del., to introduce a modernized postal reform bill that will include comprehensive reforms to put the Postal Service on firmer financial footing, stabilize and improve service performance, allow for the development of new products and enhance transparency.
As the nation begins recovering from COVID-19, we cannot risk losing the Postal Service.
President Trump recently appointed Louis DeJoy as the new postmaster general. Now is the time for Congress to work with the new postmaster general and the Trump administration to enact reforms that will put the Postal Service back on a financially sound path and save a critical American institution that serves Kansans each day.
Jerry Moran is a U.S. senator for Kansas.