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Congressman Castro: Postal Service Has Been Politicized By The President

Congressman Joaquin Castro spoke about local concerns at the post office and postal processing center on Perrin Beitel Road Aug. 18, 2020.
Jolene Almendarez | Texas Public Radio
Congressman Joaquin Castro spoke about local concerns at the post office and postal processing center on Perrin Beitel Road Wednesday afternoon.

The delivery of medicine, packages, bills and letters has been delayed across the country as a result of new controversial changes issued by the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

Congressman Joaquin Castro said his mother, activist Rosie Castro, has diabetes and saw a delay in the delivery of her medicine recently. Constituents have reported similar problems.

Castro spoke about local concerns at the post office and postal processing center on Perrin Beitel Road Wednesday afternoon.

“The president has said very explicitly — and he’s politicized the post office, unfortunately —  that he’s trying to affect somebody’s ability to send in a mail ballot. This is a threat to our democracy and the act of a dictator and authoritarian, not a president who’s elected in a democratic nation,” he said.

Mail-in votes are expected to more than double this year as a result of the ongoing pandemic and social distancing guidelines.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in a statement Tuesday that the changes are an effort to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Postal Service and predate his employment at the service in June. But he said the changes will now take place at a later date.

“To avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail, I am suspending these initiatives until after the election is concluded,” he said.

That means retail hours, equipment and collection boxes will remain the same and no processing facilities will be closed. Overtime for employees will also continue being approved.

DeJoy is a major political donor who has given $1.2 million dollars to President Donald Trump’s campaign and $1.3 million to the Republican Party since 2016.    

His political involvement has prompted lawmakers like Castro to question the motives behind the changes. But Castro said even if the changes were made for financial reasons or in the name of upgrades, the timing is still not appropriate because of the upcoming election.

It’s unclear if removed collection boxes and other equipment throughout the country will be restored.

In San Antonio, six letter-sorting machines are now out of commission as a result of the changes pushed by DeJoy. Castro said he was told that no mail collection boxes were removed in the city.

He said he’s voting on Saturday for the Delivering for America Act, which would delay DeJoy’s changes until after the pandemic is over and provide $25 billion to the postal service.
 

Jolene Almendarez can be reached at JoleneAlmendarez@gmail.com and on Twitter at @jalmendarez57.

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