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Oregon Lawmakers Decry Trump Appointee's Changes to USPS

Brian Bull

President Trump has disrupted the U.S. Postal Service to boost his re-election chances, argued Oregon Democrats at a news conference today.

Outside Eugene’s downtown post office, Congressman Peter DeFazio blasted Louis DeJoy, Trump’s Postmaster General.  DeFazio said delays in delivery are from DeJoy’s policies, which have hurt workers already affected by automation.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden outside the downtown Eugene U.S. Post Office.

“They brought in the machines, they displaced tens of thousands of mail handlers to make it more efficient," said DeFazio.

"Now he wants to take out the machines, but he’s not gonna hire mail handlers.  What happened? The mail piles up!”

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden argued that delivery lags threaten the well-being of citizens who get their medication by mail.

“A public service that is not allowed to meet its obligation will threaten the health of our people, in addition to threatening our democracy.”

DeJoy says his changes are about cost-savings. After recent outcry, he announced a halt to most changes to the postal service until after Election Day.

Military Personnel and Absentee Ballots

Recent changes to the U.S. Postal Service disenfranchises military personnel overseas.  That from Oregon state senator James Manning, an Army veteran who was also a postmaster while stationed in South Korea.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Oregon state senator James Manning.

Manning said whether it’s voting or just wanting to remain in contact with friends and family, soldiers need the USPS to be fully funded and staffed.

"It impacts morale of the troops that’s over there," Manning told KLCC. 

"And I voted for years, absentee ballots. My ballots came over, I filled it out and mailed it back through USPS which is a sustainable, trackable system that works.”

President Trump’s handpicked postmaster and mega-donor, Louis DeJoy, has come under fire for recent changes to the postal service. DeJoy has assured critics that Election Day services won’t be affected by cuts and staffing changes already made.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.