By Pat Jenkins
Washington’s U.S. senators are applying some pressure to get Eatonville’s post office renamed in honor of a slain Mount Rainier National Park ranger.
Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell sent a letter last Wednesday to the chairman of a Senate committee, urging him to move legislation out of the committee so it can be voted on by the full Senate.
Naming the post office after Margaret Anderson “will honor her dedication to public service, and the dedication of all those who put their lives on the line daily to protect the public,” Murray and Cantwell said in the letter, which their offices made public.
Their appeal comes two years after the original proposal was made by U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, whose district includes the Eatonville area. Legislation introduced by Reichert in mid-2012 was passed in the House of Representatives that December and was sent to the Senate, which must give its approval before the name can be changed.
Anderson, 34, was shot and killed Jan. 1, 2012 while establishing a roadblock to stop a motorist who drove through a mandatory checkpoint in the park for vehicle tire chains without stopping. The driver shot Anderson, a law enforcement ranger, before fleeing on foot. Armed searchers found him dead the next day, the victim of drowning and exposure.
Anderson lived in Eatonville with her husband, who also was a park ranger at the mountain, and their two children.
Reichert, who represents the Eighth District, has noted that his renaming legislation (House Resolution 5788) has the backing and co-sponsorship of the entire Washington congressional delegation. That level of support is one of the federal requirements for renaming a post office for someone.
That and other criteria, including an explanation of the reasons for proposing the new name, are required by an oversight committee before name changes are considered. Such requests are considered by Congress only every two or three months. Reichert introduced his bill May 17, 2012 during National Police Week, a period honoring law enforcement officers. Reichert is a former King County sheriff.
The post office honor for Anderson also is supported by Randy King, superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park.
In their letter to Sen. Tom Carper, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Murray and Cantwell said, “It is our sincere hope that you will report this bill out of the (committee) and bring it to the Senate floor for final passage.”
Carper is from Delaware.