Sen. Franken Applauds Decision to Keep Bemidji Mail Processing Center Open
Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) lauded Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe’s decision to remove Bemidji's mail processing center from the list of proposed postal closures. Sen. Franken spent the last several months working on the Senate’s postal reform bill to prevent the closure of the processing center.
“I’ve been fighting to save Bemidji's processing center since I heard it was on the chopping block last winter,” said Sen. Franken. “I’m relieved to announce that it will remain open for the foreseeable future and that the people employed there won’t lose their jobs. I'm thankful that the Postmaster General decided to listen to the concerns of folks in northern Minnesota and keep this center open. It's still vitally important that we pass meaningful postal reform legislation to preserve postal facility jobs, restore financial stability, and make sure reliable postal service remains available to all Minnesotans.”
Last week, following the Senate's passage of postal reform legislation, the Postmaster General announced that he would abandon a cost-cutting plan to close thousands of post offices across the country in favor of a plan that would give rural communities much greater say in what should happen to their local post offices, ensuring that communities have the option to keep them open at reduced hours.
In late April, Sen. Franken voted to pass the postal reform bill that he had been working to improve for several months. The final bill included his amendment that would give the Postal Regulatory Commission the power to overturn scheduled post office and processing center closures when communities or individuals make a compelling case to keep the facility open.
Sen. Franken has been working to prevent the closure of rural post offices in Minnesota since he learned that 117 post offices across the state were scheduled to be closed. In December, he joined a small group of his colleagues to successfully urge the Postmaster General to hold off on future closings until Congress could pass a postal reform plan. After a meeting with Sen. Franken and his colleagues, the Postmaster General agreed to place a moratorium on closings until May 15th. Sen. Franken and his colleagues worked diligently with the committee responsible for postal reform to protect local post offices and maintain mail delivery standards.