Rural newspapers keep us all connected

By U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg

About the time the first Montana settlers cleared their fields and built homes and barns there was someone there with a paper and pencil who wanted to write about it. Rural roots run deep in this state, and those roots are often most evident in our appreciation for our small town newspapers.

Rural life can be hard at times. From time to time, you’d need a hand, and in Montana you hardly even had to ask for help before a neighbor came knocking at your door.
That’s because in Montana, we look out for each other, and I think that’s one of the reasons our rural newspapers are such a treasure. They help us keep in touch, and often times tell us where all the fun could be had in Ennis on a Saturday night. But they are much more than that. The news and service our local newspapers provide literally helps shape our communities.

That’s why I’m fighting so hard against the recent proposal by the U.S. Postal Service to close some of our rural post offices and processing centers. Timely news and announcements, and the latest sale at the local hardware store, are important to a community’s vitality, and the closures put a costly hardship on the local newspapers. As a life-long Montana, I know this, and as your representative in Washington, it’s my job to make sure the Postmaster General knows that, too.

Along with the thousands of comments Montanan’s have had me deliver to the Post Office on these closures, I also told Postmaster Donahoe about the impact they may have on your local newspaper, and the businesses and organizations that depend on it. Rural communities shouldn’t have to shoulder the majority of the burden in getting the post office back in the black.

I’ll continue to work in Congress to find ways to help keep the local postal service running, so your hometown news can be delivered on time, no matter how far from home you may now live. In the mean time, why not drop The Madisonian a line and tell them how much you appreciate what they do.

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