In the summer of 2011, Roselle Park residents received a notice that the Roselle Park Post Office was on a list of those to potentially be closed. A petition drive was started which, to date, has over 1,200 signatures. There was a rally in Roselle Park on December 8, 2011 which was followed by a meeting at the Elizabeth Main Post Office on December 13th.
At that meeting, over a hundred residents attended and asked questions and offered comments to U.S Postal Service representatives Allen Tanko, Thomas Amendola, and Michael Diegnan. The message was loud and clear from Roselle Park . . . As one resident put it, “We are a determined group and we are going to fight for our post office. We want answers. We want our post office!”
On March 21, 2012, a small group of Roselle Park residents which included Rashad Qersdyn, Mayor Joseph Accardi, Councilman Andrew Casais, Councilwoman Tanya Torres, Saul Qersdyn, and myself went to Washington, D.C. We left Metropark station in Iselin, NJ on Amtrak at about 6:45 a.m. and arrived in our nation’s capital three (3) hours later.
Our first stop was the Postal Museum which was followed by a meeting with U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg who stated he understood our problem with the potential closing of our post office and offered his support to the fight.
We then met with U.S. Senator Robert Menendez who took a few moments to excuse himself from an on-going Senate vote to talk with us about our efforts to keep our post office open. We also spoke, at length, with his Legislative Assistant Jason Tuber as well as his Legislative Correspondent Ashley McCabe. They discussed in detail the Senator’s efforts to address the whole issue related to the U.S. Postal Service as well as keeping in mind the personal impact on communities such as ours.
In between our next meeting we had some time to sit and have some lunch and do some sightseeing inside the Capitol Building.
Next was a meeting with 7th District U.S. Representative Leonard Lance. At the time, he was on the floor of the House of Representatives which was in session so we were graciously accompanied by his staff through the actual tunnels traveled by members of Congress everyday to get from their offices to the House floor; this route is not open to the public. We reached the doors of the House floor and met with U.S. Representative Lance where he asked for an update on the issue and even gave a brief private tour of Statuary Hall, also known as the Whispering Room.
After he excused himself to return to the House floor, we were given another private tour through the Capitol Crypt by Sarah Armstrong, Congressman Lance’s Legislative Assistant. We even stood on the star in the center of the Capitol floor which denotes the point from which the streets in Washington are laid out and numbered – in other words, we were in the center, or heart, of Washington, D.C.
We were then fortunate enough to be allowed to take a picture with our “Save Our Post Office” banner in front of the Capitol Building and even had the loud vocal support and photo op with a large group of students on a school field trip.
On our trip home, there was an opportunity to reflect on our day. We were able to meet with members of our government and present them with copies of signed petitions as well as a business proposal to keep our post office open. We all were together, crisscrossing Washington – walking the streets and going underground, to document and support a cause which will affect all of Roselle Park. It felt important. More than that, it was important because Roselle Park, and our post office, are important.
An accompanying photo essay is available for viewing at [In Focus], Roselle Park News’ photo site (link).