WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Barack Obama appointed Ruth Goldway chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission last week. The former Santa Monica mayor, who succeeded Republican Dan Blair, said she has a lot of goals for her time in office.

“I hope to emphasize the needs of the average citizen mailer as opposed to the business mailers, who the postal service often considers its customers,” she said Tuesday in an interview with the Daily Press.

Because nationwide delivery volume is down 20 percent, and revenue has dropped 10 to 15 percent, Goldway said, improvements will have to be made. She emphasized accountability — in delivery and customer service.

“Given the rise of digital correspondence, the old traditional communication networks are under threat,” she said. “I want to preserve the postal service as a very important part of the communication and community network of the country.”

Goldway was elected to the Santa Monica City Council in 1979 and served as mayor from 1981 to 1983, during which time she advocated for rent control and renters’ rights. She said her time in Santa Monica taught her a thing or two about transparency — which is coming in handy now.

“I’m trying to organize field hearings and to convince the other commissioners that it’s OK to allow the public to come and speak informally, rather than setting up presentations ahead of time or admitting invited members only,” she said. “I found the Santa Monica format in which anyone can stand up and speak for two minutes very valuable.”

With the postal service facing a roughly $7 billion deficit this year, Goldway knows she’s likely to face political and financial challenges during her term.

“While the economy may be improving, I think it’s not likely that the postal service will be able to rebound quickly,” she said.

In the face of tough decisions — such as whether or not to cut service to five days a week, for example — she plans to emphasize ongoing achievements — mail delivery’s importance to absentee voting during elections — and potential improvements — converting to fuel efficient delivery vehicles and partnering with other government agencies more efficiently.

“A lot of innovative ideas are going to have to be developed,” she said.

As a commissioner, Goldway was instrumental in the development and implementation of forever stamps. Forever stamps can be used to mail a one-ounce letter regardless of when the stamps are purchased or used and no matter how prices may change in the future.

Goldway has served on the commission since 1998.

“I want to do what I can to make sure the service survives and continues to thrive and to be as useful to the country as it always has been,” she said. “I’m counting on Santa Monicans to let me know what they think about the mail.”

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