Since the United States Postal Service announced in late July that it’s reviewing 85 post offices in Montana for possible closure, the state’s three federal lawmakers have expressed worries over the effect the closures would have in rural communities. Beacon intern Justin Franz wrote two stories in August – “More Than Just Mail” and “Lingering Vacancies in Small Towns” – exploring the nature of the relationship between small towns and their post offices.
Reading Franz’s stories, it would appear our lawmakers’ worries aren’t unfounded. One Olney resident said: “We’re dependent on the post office and we’re dependent on it for more than just mail.”
Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus, as well as Rep. Denny Rehberg, are asking for Montanans’ input as they try to make the case in Washington D.C. that any restructuring of the postal service shouldn’t place undue burden on rural communities that rely on post offices.
Rehberg has launched an initiative asking people to mail him letters “from their threatened post offices” detailing how a “proposed closure will affect their families and communities,” according to a release. Tester started a website, http://tester.senate.gov/Legislation/postal.cfm, seeking comment. Baucus is hosting an online “resource guide” at http://baucus.senate.gov/?p=general&id=82 with information pertaining to the closures.
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