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Guest column/It’s time to reconsider postal service legislation

July 22, 2012
By LOU GENTILE , The Herald-Star

Americans, and those of us in Eastern Ohio, have grown accustomed to the many services provided by the United States Postal Service in our local communities.

For many decades our citizens have become reliant upon hardworking men and women who run our post offices and deliver our mail on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the future of those services and the jobs of many of our local citizens who deliver these services have become very uncertain.

Congress is currently considering legislation that has the potential to weaken our local post offices and put even more jobs at risk. H.R. 2309, or the Postal Service Reform Act, could result in the closure of even more hometown post offices and could even end Saturday mail service.

I am deeply concerned about the possible effects this legislation could have in our communities, particularly the impact it might have on our seniors and those who live in rural areas.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a retirement celebration honoring Anita Petrella, Steubenville's first woman postmaster.

At that gathering I spoke with many hardworking men and women who have dedicated their careers to serving the public and ensuring that our mail is delivered on time. This experience served as a reminder to me of the critical role that our postal workers play in our communities. These dedicated workers are, in a very real sense, ingrained in our communities, they work in our cities, villages and townships; they know their customers and provide quality and professional services. In this fragile economy, we cannot afford to shed any more jobs. Postal workers contribute to our local economy; they spend money at local stores and small businesses - they are an important part of our middle class.

The postal service and its employees represent hard-working men and women and middleclass households all across our region who have come to rely on the very important services that these dedicated public servants provide. I hope that when Congress is debating this legislation members will consider the impact it will have on the people who depend on the services provided by the postal service as well as the workers who are committed to serving the public and ensuring our mail is delivered on time.

Because of many of the concerns I have with H.R. 2309 and its potential effects on jobs and services in the 30th Senate District, I would urge Congress to reconsider or defeat this legislation.

(Gentile, D-Steubenville, represents the 30th Ohio Senate District.)

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