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Bennet, Hickenlooper Urge DeJoy To Address Mail Service Issues Across the State

On Thursday, Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper invited U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Postmaster Louis DeJoy to join them on a tour of a USPS facility in Colorado to see firsthand the ongoing service and delivery challenges that Coloradans face. There is no word on whether DeJoy has accepted their invitation, but at least this is another step in getting the man who is supposed to  be paying attention to do so.

Colorado’s U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet have worked together addressing Colorado’s issues. Here pictured when they joined together with the Southeast Colorado Water Conservation Board to announce major funding from the National Infrastructure Bill for the project. Photo by Greg Felt.

Some of Chaffee County’s post offices have been at the forefront of the problems faced by the USPS; with mail delayed not just days, but weeks. Buena Vista (BV) and Nathrop post offices have been short-staffed — leading to long waits for service, early shutdowns, and delays in the delivery of everything from critical medicines to ballots and disability checks.

In the case of Nathrop, the post office went not just weeks, but months without tech needs being addressed: missing a computer modem so that it couldn’t process credit cards or track packages; quite literally sending it back to the 19th century. Often staff in Nathrop would be pulled over to the BV USPS service desk, leaving Nathrop customers confronting closure notes on the doors to wonder what on earth was going on.

“Our office has worked closely with the Colorado-Wyoming USPS district office on these issues, and it is clear that the district is strapped for resources and attention from Washington. We’re hopeful Postmaster DeJoy and USPS leadership will come to Colorado to see the challenges their staff and our communities face firsthand,” said Bennet.

In their letter, Bennet and Hickenlooper highlight numerous ongoing issues that local communities and USPS staff identified as obstacles to USPS’ ability to deliver quality mail service in Colorado. The senators urge DeJoy to address USPS staffing shortages by streamlining their hiring process, to partner with communities to identify affordable housing for USPS staff, and to invest in the physical infrastructure of USPS facilities to accommodate greater package volumes.

The senators also asked that USPS provide regular updates to the Congressional delegation so offices can jointly hear the comprehensive steps USPS leadership are taking to address constituent and community concerns.

“For over two years, our offices have received a sharp rise in complaints from Coloradans about longer delays in mail delivery and gaps in other USPS services,” said the senators in the letter. “These communities report that Post Offices in Colorado have had limited hours; hour-long lines to pick up mail and packages; and poor facility maintenance.”

“Colorado and the country rely on USPS’ universal service mandate to receive essential documents and services,” concluded the senators. “Poor and inconsistent USPS service not only falls short of community expectations; it violates their trust in USPS.”

Bennet and Hickenlooper have said they understand that Coloradans rely on USPS to receive vital benefits and prescriptions, stay connected to family, and cast their ballots, and remain committed to improving the reliability and service of the USPS.

Last February, Bennet urged U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to bring the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act to the floor as soon as possible, and after the bill passed the Senate, Bennet applauded its potential to provide USPS with the financial stability to support more reliable delivery and service. In October, Bennet urged USPS officials to seize the opportunity provided by cost savings from the bill to improve on-time deliveries, service, and operations in Colorado.