Following is Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s entire press release on this letter to the Postmaster General:
Governor Sarah Palin [on March 3, 2009] urged the postmaster general not to increase parcel post and bypass mail rates. In a letter to Postmaster General John Potter, Governor Palin outlined her concerns regarding the rate increases that are to be enacted on May 11 (Postmaster, 2009, Â¶1).
“Alaska has more than 258 airports serving as the primary mode of transportation, and the only means of access for more than 160 remote and isolated communities. Our rural residents have been besieged by a poor subsistence harvest and high energy prices compounded by an exceptionally cold winter. Although it may not be the intent, the new 4th class mail rate structure will raise the already high cost of living further and effectively cripple the already fragile bypass mail system (Postmaster, 2009, Â¶2).
“Residents of the most remote parts of our state are struggling with high fuel prices and the ability to provide food for their families. This postal rate increase has an exponentially greater impact on Alaskans than those in other states due to the reliance of Alaskans on the bypass mail system for food and supplies. Please take this into account before making any final decision on increasing parcel post rates that are utilized under the essential bypass mail system” (Postmaster, 2009, Â¶3)
Governor Palin’s letter discusses the bypass mail system in greater detail:
Congress found that few of Alaska’s communities were connected by roads and that the federal government’s ownership of two thirds of Alaska’s landmass made it difficult for the state to build new roads connecting its isolated communities. The parcel post rates enabled residents to receive the majority of their supplies affordably by air via bypass mail system (Postmaster Letter, 2009, p. 1). While my administration is working on improving the state’s transportation infrastructure, large projects, like the road to Nome, will be costlier to build and take a longer amount of time due to federal ownership of large tracts of land and permitting requirements. Congress found that as long as the current Alaska community access situation exists, it was in the best interests of the USPS, Alaska, andÂ the United States to continue the bypass mail program. Continuing the program is only meaningful if the rates are low enough to be used by a large number of the persons intended to be served (Postmaster Letter, 2009, p. 2).
Governor Palin Â goes on to ask the Postmaster General to work with her and the Alaska Congressional Delegation in resolving this matter; and offered as a possible solution handing bypass mail at the 70-pound rate. Though this is still an increased cost for Alaskans who rely on bypass mail, it is much less onerous than the increases being proposed and is a pre-existing administrative solution. Governor Palin closes with yet another solution, “This, coupled with adoption and implementation of other recommendations that could be developed by a joint United States Postal Service and shippers work group, should identify options to provide necessary relief for the impacts of any postal rate increase your agency feels it must impose” (Postmaster Letter, 2009, p. 2).
On the surface, this appears to be a routine, mundane matter — nothing “worth writing home about” — so why this entry? Because, a more in-depth examination reveals once again Governor Palin’s executive skills and the amount of work she does for the people who hired her. To make this really simple, the more remote areas of Alaska rely on what is called the bypass mail system to send and receive their mail at lower rates. The proposed rate increases of Fourth Class/Parcel Post mail would present an onerous financial burden to the residents of these areas — some of whom Governor Palin airlifted food and supplies to on a cooperative state/Samaritan’s Purse humanitarian mission nearly two weeks ago.
Governor Palin did not just slap-dash a letter and fire it off. In this letter, she built her case and offered multiple solutions using her knowledge of both her state and the Postal system. And for those of us who bother to read it — she taught us something new.
Prior entries have documented Governor Palin’s successes from her letters — securing an agreement from Obama to discuss her Alaska/Canada gas pipeline with the Canadian Prime Minister; and securing an immediate temporary reinstatement of retirement benefits for Alaskan Territorial Guard veterans.
Governor Palin’s letters on these matters may appear routine and mundane; however, are anything but. This letter to the Postmaster General puts her executive skills on display and shows that she is hauling the mail for her state.
Palin concerned with postal rate increases; Sends letter to Postmaster General Potter. (2009, March 3). State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved March 4, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/news.php?id=1684
Palin, S. L. H. (2009, March 2). Letter to Postmaster General John E. Potter regarding mail rates. State of Alaska, Governor. Retrieved March 4, 2009 from: http://www.gov.state.ak.us/pdf/Potter-MailIncrease_Mar3-2009.pdf