Speaker: Act Locally on Postal Reform

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WHITE PLAINS, NY -- Local direct marketers have more power to turn their congressmen into advocates for postal reform than do large corporations and lobbyists, according to a speaker here yesterday at Direct Media's Mailer Conference and Co-Op.

And it isn't even a lot of work, said Jim O'Brien, director of distribution and postal affairs at the Time Inc. division of AOL Time Warner, which he said is the U.S. Postal Service's largest customer.

After going over the grim situation at the USPS and the ray of hope presented by proposed postal reform legislation, O'Brien stressed the need for all DMers to get involved before it was too late.

"We need to move now," he said.

Though drafting letters to Congress when asked to do so by the Direct Marketing Association and other organizations is all well and good, it's not enough, he said.

O'Brien, who has 24 years in the industry and deals frequently with Washington, said the best way to get the attention of Congress is by starting a local grassroots lobbying campaign. He gave a simplified, step-by-step format:

· Get your local direct marketing peers together.

· Set up a meeting with your local member of Congress.

· Present the data on how postal rates affect your businesses, including how many local jobs may be lost without reform.

In New England, O'Brien said, such grassroots postal reform movements are under way in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. He urged attendees to follow suit in the states where they operate.

O'Brien announced that Direct Media chief marketing officer Rosemarie Montroy had pledged to start a movement in Connecticut, where the firm is based.

"Success begins on a local level," he stressed.

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