Press Release – May 5, 2016
Senator Has Heard from Nearly 500 North Dakotans who Filled Out Survey; Senator Invited Brennan to ND to Hear About Challenges Firsthand
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today announced that the U.S. Postal Service, inspired by Heitkamp’s Fix My Mail initiative and survey, is launching a new customer service program aimed at improving mail delivery and service. The program will initially pilot in North Dakota with the goal of resolving mail service problems in individual and rural communities before potentially expanding to more states.
The U.S. Postal Service’s new ‘Your Mail Matters’ program is encouraging North Dakotans to share their individual mail service challenges with the U.S. Postal Service via email, YourMailMatters@usps.gov, and a service line, 605-333-2648, which will be managed and operated using existing resources from North Dakota’s U.S. Postal Service District Office in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The U.S. Postal Service modeled the program after Heitkamp’s Fix My Mail survey, which has garnered nearly 500 responses from North Dakotans about the persistent issues with mail delivery North Dakotans have experienced.
Heitkamp will be closely monitoring ‘Your Mail Matters’ to make sure the U.S. Postal Service follows through on its efforts, remains accountable to North Dakotans, and works to resolve customer issues in a timely manner.
“For too many North Dakotans, the U.S. Postal Service is a lifeline for medication, important tax information, and keeping business and family ties strong – but for too long, that service has continued to decline,” said Heitkamp. “While today’s U.S. Postal Service initiative is aimed at rejuvenating the agency’s relationship with North Dakotans, they’ve got a lot of ties to mend, and I’ll be working to make sure this effort works effectively. Like my Fix My Mail initiative, where hundreds of North Dakotans shared their concerns with me about chronic service and mail delivery problems, responsive action to customer concerns is key. Last week I shared North Dakotans’ challenges directly with U.S. Postmaster General Brennan, and received a commitment to respond to their concerns in short order, and to visit with them about these issues in the state. It’s my hope that the U.S. Postal Service uses its ‘Your Mail Matters’ program as an opportunity to build on my Fix My Mail initiative and achieve real results for our communities.”
Just last week, Heitkamp met with U.S. Postmaster Megan Brennan, who committed to addressing issues relayed to Heitkamp in the survey – from chronically delayed or mixed up mail delivery, to difficulty accessing quality service at post offices – and accepted Heitkamp’s invitation to visit the state to hear firsthand about the issues North Dakotans are experiencing.
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 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. 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.