NM congressional leaders call for restored postal service in Chimayó

WASHINGTON, D.C. — New Mexico’s U.S. senators and U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez wrote a letter urging the USPS to restore postal service in Chimayó.

In February, a fire destroyed the post office in Chimayó. Since then, the USPS has routed mail to the Santa Cruz Post Office, around six miles away.

According to the 2020 U.S. Census, Chimayó is home to 3,077 residents.

The lawmakers are urging USPS Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to develop an action plan to restore service to the town.

Lawmakers say the roundtrip can be as much as 12-20 miles. In their letter, they expressed concerns about the distance cutting off mail access for seniors, people with disabilities and/or a lack of transportation.

In March, Fernández penned a letter to DeJoy, calling out USPS’s shortcomings with the situation.

Below is her letter and the May 31 letter co-written by Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján.

May 31 Letter

Dear Postmaster General DeJoy,

We write today to request a call to discuss a plan of action for restoring postal service to the community of Chimayó, New Mexico.

On February 14, 2023, the building that the United States Postal Service (USPS) leased for the Post Office in Chimayó, New Mexico burned to the ground. Thanks to quick action taken by USPS, mail delivery was immediately rerouted to the Santa Cruz Post Office 6 miles further to the west near the city of Espanola, New Mexico.

While we thank USPS for addressing the immediate need to reroute mail, the distance residents must now travel to access mail service has created a very real barrier to service for many in the region. Currently, residents formerly served by the Chimayó Post Office must travel distances as far as 20 miles roundtrip to pick up mail at the Santa Cruz post office–a distance that puts mail service out of reach for some.

The United States Postal Service provides a vital service to communities across the country. Letters and packages delivered by the USPS allow Americans to receive paychecks, manage finances, access prescription medications and essential supplies, communicate with the government, and vote. In rural communities such as Chimayó, New Mexico, the importance of these services is amplified, connecting residents with the vital services they need in the absence of reliable broadband internet. For seniors, those living with disabilities, and rural residents lacking reliable transportation, there is simply no substitute.

During our conversation, we hope to be provided with responses to the following outstanding questions regarding the restoration of postal service to the community of Chimayó:

  • On May 5, 2023, Rod Spurgeon, Strategic Communications Specialist at USPS, emailed the following statement to Robert Nott, a reporter with the Santa Fe New Mexican: “We’ll continue to have a permanent presence in Chimayo and reoccupy the building when it’s complete.” However, in our correspondence with the government affairs team at USPS, we have not yet received a commitment to re-open a permanent post office in Chimayó, New Mexico. Will USPS make a public commitment to re-open a permanent post office in Chimayó, whether it’s at the old location or a new one?
  • What is the timeline for lease negotiations with the current landlord?
  • If these lease negotiations fall through, what is the timeline for evaluating alternative locations?
  • It is our understanding that Acting AZ/NM District Manager Tina Sweeney is working on gathering information from postal officials about the possibility of mobile units. What is the timeline for having an answer on the feasibility of installing mobile units in Chimayó?

We look forward to working with you to resolve this issue and ensure that postal service is restored to the community of Chimayó.