WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a member of the Senate committee overseeing the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), today launched a new Fix My Mail survey to gather feedback from North Dakotans about challenges with their mail delivery and service.
Heitkamp’s survey builds on her Fix My Mail initiative which she started in January 2014 by collecting more than 200 stories from North Dakotans across the state about problems they encounter every day with delayed mail delivery and poor service from the U.S. Postal Service. Those stories prompted the U.S. Postal Service to take action in North Dakota at Heitkamp’s request, and the USPS Inspector General issued a report confirming the problems Heitkamp heard about. The stories from North Dakotans also helped inform a bill Heitkamp introduced to improve mail delivery and service in rural communities. Because many North Dakota communities still face problems with mail delivery, Heitkamp’s Fix My Mail survey continues these efforts by gathering feedback from North Dakotans to identify where additional improvement is needed.
Rural communities rely heavily on the U.S. Postal Service, and have been disproportionately impacted by poor service and delivery – a point echoed in a separate USPS Inspector General report on mail volume. Over the past few years, communities in rural America have faced increased delivery times, reduced service standards, and a distressed U.S. Postal Service workforce.
“North Dakotans have experienced mail delivery and service challenges for years – that’s why I’m working to keep the U.S. Postal Service accountable for continued improvements. But North Dakotans can and do make a difference by speaking up,” said Heitkamp. “It’s because hundreds of North Dakotans shared stories about their challenges with delayed mail delivery or poor service through my original Fix My Mail initiative that we were able to get the attention of the U.S. Postal Service. And it’s because South Fargo residents – who had to form a Facebook group just to sort out each other’s mail – came to me that I was able to help resolve the situation with their mail carrier. But we aren’t done. Every North Dakotan should be able to get their mail, packages, and medicine on time. With this new Fix My Mail survey, I hope North Dakotans provide more feedback to help prevent mail delivery in rural America from being left behind.”
Heitkamp’s new Fix My Mail initiative seeks to maintain and grow momentum for the work she has already done with North Dakotans in rural communities and across the state to improve their mail service issues, including:
- Resolving chronic mail issues in South Fargo: Last month, Heitkamp pressed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan on the severe mail delivery issues in South Fargo – the very next day, USPS terminated the contract with the area mail carrier and hired an interim mail carrier with 30 years of experience.
- Shedding light on longstanding mail delivery and service issues across North Dakota: As part of her Fix My Mail initiative in 2014, Heitkamp requested a formal review of North Dakota’s mail delivery service challenges, which prompted a Postal Service Office of Inspector General formal report on North Dakota’s longstanding severe mail service problems.
- Addressing mail delivery concerns in rural communities across North Dakota: Based on feedback from her Fix My Mail initiative, Heitkamp introduced her Rural Postal Act in July which included reforms specifically aimed at addressing mail delivery concerns and challenges in rural communities which she heard about from North Dakotans.
- Delivering legislative fixes to alleviate mail delivery service challenges: In September, key pieces and themes from Heitkamp’s bill were included in new, comprehensive postal reform legislation introduced by Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), including provisions to protect rural post offices and processing facilities, make sure USPS reaches performance improvement goals, and improve postal employee morale.
Bringing the impact of faltering rural mail service standards to the forefront: In May, Heitkamp brought together the first bipartisan meeting of solely rural-state Senators to meet with U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan about the impacts of mail processing facility closures and service standard reductions, and secured a commitment from the Postal Service to work to better to meet the needs of rural America. And last month at a Senate hearing, Heitkamp secured a commitment from Brennan to specifically consider the geographical needs of rural America.