WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp met with U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to discuss the urgent need to address the concerns voiced by almost 500 North Dakotans who have completed her Fix My Mail survey. During their discussion, Heitkamp invited Brennan to visit the state – which Brennan agreed to do – to hear firsthand about the challenges North Dakotans are experiencing with their mail delivery and service.
Heitkamp also successfully secured a commitment from Brennan to quickly work to find solutions to improve mail service for North Dakotans, and restore their confidence in the U.S. Postal Service. Underscoring persistent issues with mail delivery expressed by North Dakotans in her Fix My Mail survey – including chronically delayed or mixed up mail delivery, as well as difficulty accessing quality service at post offices due to limited or inconvenient hours – Heitkamp reinforced to Brennan how critical it is to improve mail delivery in rural America.
Today’s meeting and commitments came after Heitkamp pressed the Postmaster General on the specific U.S. Postal Service challenges she heard about from the hundreds of North Dakotans who provided feedback in her Fix My Mail survey, which she launched just two months ago.
“Meeting face-to-face with U.S. Postmaster General Brennan was an opportunity to not only continue to hold the Postal Service’s feet to the fire on the chronic mail challenges North Dakotans have been experiencing, but also to secure a firm commitment to tackle those specific challenges for rural communities across our state,” said Heitkamp. “It’s because hundreds of North Dakotans have continued to provide feedback through my Fix My Mail initiative about their specific mail delivery issues that we have been able to push the Postal Service to make needed changes. North Dakotans’ voices make a difference. It’s also encouraging that Postmaster General Brennan agreed to visit North Dakota to hear firsthand about these issues so we can fix our mail and North Dakotans can feel more confident about sending or receiving medication, bills, or sensitive tax information.”
Heitkamp’s Fix My Mail survey builds on her original Fix My Mail initiative which she started in January 2014, when she heard from more than 200 North Dakotans about their frequent poor mail delivery. Those stories prompted the Postal Service to take action in North Dakota, and at Heitkamp’s request, the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General issued a report confirming the problems North Dakotans had shared with Heitkamp. The accounts 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 new feedback from North Dakotans to identify where additional improvements are needed.
Those living and working in rural communities rely heavily on U.S. Postal Services for their businesses to function and to connect with family, and are disproportionately impacted by poor customer service and delivery – a point echoed in a U.S. Postal Service 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.
Heitkamp’s Fix My Mail initiative seeks to build momentum for the work she has already done for North Dakotans in rural communities and across the state to improve their mail service issues, including:
- Resolving chronic mail issues in South Fargo. In January, Heitkamp pressed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan on the severe mail delivery issues in South Fargo – the very next day, the Postal Service terminatedthe 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. Key pieces and themes from Heitkamp’s bill were included in new, comprehensive postal reform legislation.
- Gathering feedback from North Dakotans to hold the U.S. Postal Service accountable and achieve results. Since Heitkamp launched her Fix My Mail survey in February, she received nearly 500 responses from North Dakotans about their specific mail delivery challenges – the vast majority of which contained personal stories about the issues they had experienced. Heitkamp relayed these challenges to U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan and requested a prompt response to improve mail service.