Area residents held brightly colored signs and banners outside the Damariscotta post office Tuesday, June 23 to show their support for the U.S. Postal Service.
The Lincoln County chapter of the progressive advocacy group Indivisible organized the event, which drew around 25 participants.
The rally followed an April 2020 announcement by the Postal Service that the agency will run out of money in September unless it receives a bailout from the federal government. President Donald Trump and Republican members of Congress have vowed to oppose any bailout measures aimed at saving the agency.
At an April 24 press conference, Trump called the Postal Service “a joke.” The Washington Post reported that he plans to veto any legislation that includes bailout money for the agency.
According to Lincoln County Indivisible member Ru Monsell, the Postal Service is especially important as some state governments encourage mail-in voting to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at polling places.
From Monsell’s perspective, the rally, which occurred from 11 a.m. to noon, was a success.
“Considering the short notice we gave people, this is a very good turnout,” she said.
Many passing motorists honked and waved in solidarity with the group.
Damariscotta Postmaster Thomas Hutchins declined comment on the rally, but acknowledged protesters’ right to congregate on the sidewalk when Indivisible member Mike Herz asked him for permission to assemble in front of the office.
“He doesn’t generally encourage people to jam up outside his office, but this time he’s alright with it,” Herz said.
The rally attracted a handful of locals, like Jayne Gordon, who are unaffiliated with Indivisible but heard about the rally and decided to show up and support the cause.
“These offices serve as gathering places for communities, just like the library,” Gordon said. “They’re so important, especially for rural communities.”
Lydia Crafts, of Newcastle, a candidate for the Democratic nomination in Maine House District 90, stopped by with her daughter, Kestrel, to chat with participants and show her support for the Postal Service.
Rally organizers distributed signs designed by the Artists’ Rapid Response Team, a collective dedicated to creating posters, banners, and signs for Maine nonprofits. Participants handed out flyers to pedestrians urging them to express their support for the Postal Service to Maine’s U.S. senators and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree.
“This is apolitical,” said Betsy Butler. “We have to keep the U.S. Postal Service no matter what. It’s so important, for everybody.”