Today, as a temporary ban on post office closings expires, local officials in northeast Missouri are speaking out about the successful fight waged by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill to save 14 local postal facilities from closure-and what McCaskill's effort means for families and businesses in the region.
"Senator McCaskill gets what the post office means to these communities," said State Representative Tom Shively of Shelbyville. "This is an important issue in this region, and a lot of people rely on these services-services that can't easily be replaced."
"Rural post offices are the lifeblood of our small communities," said State Representative Paul Quinn of Monroe City. "I fully support and applaud Senator McCaskill's efforts to keep these post offices open and operating to meet the needs of our rural communities."
The U.S. Postal Service announced plans last year to shutter thousands of post offices across the country-most from rural communities-as part of a larger cost-savings package. Fourteen post offices in northeast Missouri were slated for closure.
McCaskill waged a year-long battle against the closures, arguing that shutting down rural post offices would not help the Postal Service achieve substantial cost-savings, but would deal significant blows to communities across rural America. McCaskill helped win a temporary moratorium on closures, and then successfully passed an amendment to the Senate's postal reform legislation that protected rural communities from losing their post offices while implementing major cost-saving reforms like addressing the Postal Service's pre-funding requirement for retiree benefits.
As a result of McCaskill's efforts, the U.S. Postal Service reversed course last week and announced that it no longer intends to close down rural post offices.
"I waged this fight because, as a daughter of rural Missouri, I know exactly what these post offices mean for the small towns they serve," said McCaskill, who was born in Rolla, Mo. "I've fought alongside folks on the ground in Missouri to send a message that our post offices are more than just brick and mortar-they're the lifeblood of rural America. And that message has been heard loud and clear. That we were able to save these post offices means that seniors will still have access to life-saving prescription drugs, that area businesses won't have to contend with losing their shipping location, and that hard-hit small towns won't have to lose good-paying jobs. But I'm not going to rest on our accomplishment. I plan to keep working hard in the weeks and months ahead to ensure that families and businesses in northeast Missouri can continue relying on their local post offices."
McCaskill also again called for action by the U.S. House of Representatives, which has so far failed to move on postal reform legislation. Unless the House acts to pass legislation addressing its finances, the Postal Service will likely be forced to make drastic cuts to service resulting in slower mail delivery, an end to Saturday delivery, and the shuttering of mail processing facilities in Missouri-changes that would hurt rural businesses and families in small towns across Missouri.
What McCaskill's Fight Means for Northeast Missouri
Fourteen post offices saved in northeast Missouri
Missourians in northeast Missouri who can keep relying on their post offices:
o More than 13,000 seniors
o More than 6,000 veterans