RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — On Friday, May 26, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D) sent a letter to the United States Postal Service (USPS) urging the agency to address ongoing problems with the mail system impacting Virginia.
When homes across Virginia started having increasing trouble reliably sending and receiving their mail in 2020, Kaine said those concerns were met with one consistent response from USPS.
“I was hearing, you know, ‘COVID is bad,'” Kaine said.
USPS blamed the continued trouble on pandemic-era staffing shortages. However, three years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — and nearly a month after U.S. President Joe Biden declared the end of the national health crisis — Kaine noticed Virginians’ mail issues seem to be worse than ever.
“The post office should not be able to continue to just say, ‘oh you know, COVID has been tough,’ as the all-purpose explanation for why they’re not performing,” Kaine said.
8News spoke with Central Virginians earlier this week who agreed that their mail service has been unpredictable for months. In his letter to USPS, the senator cited an outpouring of problems from places like Henrico and Arlington, all the way to Marion and Roanoke.
“If it was just a magazine or, you know, an ad, okay, maybe that’s not so bad,” Kaine acknowledged. “But this is medications. This is veterans benefit checks. These are mail items that people really depend on.”
Regional postal representatives denied 8News’ request for comment. They explained that they would address this topic directly with the senator. But Kaine shared today that he still has not received any response.
“And more importantly, I don’t have a good answer about what are we going to do to fix it,” Kaine said.
In 2022, Congress passed the “Postal Service Reform Act” which worked to eliminate financial burdens on USPS, increase transparency to aid in streamlining operational reports and also to crack down on obligations like delivering six days a week. Kaine said this bipartisan-backed legislation appeared to minimize complaints to some degree, but just temporarily.
“The fact that we did things to be of assistance to them and we’re still seeing slipshod performance,” Kaine said. “I’ve written to the post office. I don’t have an answer back yet. I’m going to stay on until I do get an answer.”
As 8News and the senator continue to await a formal response from the postal system, those experiencing their own share of mail concerns are encouraged to contact their local postal representative or government officials.