Straight Talk with Sam: Saving Saturday mail delivery

There was a time in America when one of the only methods of communication was by mail. Since 1912, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has served as a lifeline for Americans, specifically in rural areas. 

With the advent of the internet, things have changed. We can communicate wherever we are with the click of a button. Some say that means the Postal Service should reduce services like six-day delivery.

I disagree.

While we may not depend on mail delivery to communicate like we used to, we depend on it for other things. Imagine the issues that could arise if the mail wasn’t delivered six days a week. 

Let’s say you’ve ordered a package and expect to receive it in two days but, because there is no Saturday mail delivery, you won’t get it until Monday. Unless Monday is a holiday, in which case you won’t get it until Tuesday. That two-day delivery just became four. Most people I know, myself included, get frustrated if a package isn’t delivered right away.

Or, maybe you have prescription medication that has been mailed to you – waiting an additional day or two just isn’t going to cut it. Many folks who need that medication are unable to travel long distances; delivering it to their door at an affordable cost as soon as possible is critical.

This affects small businesses, too. Many of the most successful businesses in rural areas depend on the Postal Service to deliver the items they’ve ordered, or ship the products they’ve made, in a timely fashion. 

In North Missouri, Saturday mail delivery is still critical to our success and necessary for our way of life.

Last week, I helped introduce bipartisan legislation to express the sentiment of the House of Representatives that six-day mail delivery must be preserved. I introduced a similar bipartisan bill in 2017 with 258 co-sponsors. Not much is bipartisan in Washington anymore, but keeping six-day mail delivery certainly has broad support.

There is no doubt that the Postal Service needs to make some major reforms to remain a viable service. It’s not good government to maintain the status quo if it is leading to major financial issues. However, there are plenty of ways to reform the USPS without eliminating Saturday mail delivery. That won’t fix the problem; it will only make it worse. 

It’s important that the USPS right their financial ship. However, doing so at the expense of rural America should not be an option. The USPS needs to take all necessary measures to make sure that we still see mail delivery on Saturdays in North Missouri.

 Sam Graves is the Mo. Sixth District U.S. Representative.