Pride of place

A painting of Benjamin Franklin — the nation’s first Postmaster General — has a place of prominence in President Joe Biden’s White House.

The 1785 portrait by Joseph Siffred Duplessis hangs in the Oval Office, just to the left of the Resolute Desk.

The Franklin painting, along with a nearby moon rock, are intended to represent Biden’s interest in science, White House aides told The Washington Post last week.

In addition to setting up a postal service for the Second Continental Congress in 1775, Franklin was known as a polymath, scientist and inventor. He is credited with inventing the lightning rod, bifocal glasses and a type of stove that bears his name, among other items.

Franklin also helped write the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the U.S. Constitution in 1787, and he negotiated and signed the Treaty of Paris with the United Kingdom in 1783, which ended the Revolutionary War and established the nation’s independence.

The image of Franklin used on the $100 bill is based on the Duplessis portrait.

The National Portrait Gallery loaned the painting to the White House in 2018.

It was displayed in the Oval Office for part of President Donald Trump’s term, but in a different location.

Portraits and busts of Franklin have long been prominently displayed at the White House, according to the White House Historical Association:

• A circa 1778-1828 bronze bust of Franklin by Jean Antoine Houdon was displayed in the Oval Office during the presidencies of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

• President Gerald Ford displayed a Franklin portrait by Charles Wilson Peale in the Oval Office.

• A portrait of Franklin by David Martin was hung in the White House’s Green Room after renovations during John F. Kennedy’s administration. The painting, which is part of the White House’s collection, no longer hangs in that room, but the room now has a bust of Franklin made by the National Porcelain Manufactory of Sevres, France.

• Another Franklin portrait, by Benjamin Wilson, was displayed in the Roosevelt Room during the Kennedy administration.

• President George W. Bush displayed Wilson’s Franklin portrait in the Treaty Room.

Franklin was born in 1706 and died in 1790 at age 84. He was Postmaster General from July 26, 1775, until Nov. 7, 1776. Previously, he spent 16 years as Postmaster of Philadelphia, then 21 years as joint Postmaster General for the British Crown in North America.

Share your feedback at Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.

Mail Handlers

The USPS Small Business Sales team will promote the Mail Handlers employee lead program throughout February.

USPS districts will focus on the program with new time clock fliers and short stand-up talks on three of the month’s four Mondays.

The Mail Handlers program allows postal mail handlers to submit information about businesses they think could benefit from USPS products and services.

The program, which is supported by the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, has generated more than $31 million in new estimated revenue since its inception in 2013.

This includes $11.4 million during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 — the largest annual amount in the program’s history — and more than $3 million during the first quarter of 2021.

“With the busy holiday shipping season and election season in the first quarter, we want to acknowledge the mail handlers’ efforts and thank them,” said Mary Anderson, small-business engagement director at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC. “And we also encourage our mail handlers to continue to look for new revenue opportunities now that the holiday rush is subsiding.”

Sales generated from Mail Handlers leads count toward the USPS Power of One campaign to raise revenue through sales leads from employees.

The Small Business and Lead Generation Programs Blue page is tracking participation in Mail Handlers and other employee lead programs: Clerks Care, Customer Connect, Business Connect, Rural Reach and Submit a Lead.

The Postal Service is encouraging as many employees as possible to submit at least one lead through any of its six lead programs by Sept. 30.

Missed the deadline?

If you filled out a Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) pledge form but were unable to submit it before the Jan. 15 deadline, you still have time.

Although the campaign has concluded, due to extraordinary circumstances stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, CFC organizers will continue to count paper pledge forms that are mailed now through mid-February.

You can give your filled-out paper pledge form to a CFC keyworker in your workplace or mail it to: CFC Processing Center, PO Box 7820, Madison, WI 53707-7820. While the deadline has not been set for these forms, you should mail yours as soon as possible.

Be sure to include an email address or phone number so the CFC Processing Center can contact you if they have questions about your form. Your contact information will not be shared and will help ensure your pledge is counted.

The CFC, the federal government’s annual workplace charity drive, allows federal employees, retirees, and contractors to contribute to more than 6,000 charitable organizations.

Be heart smart

February is American Heart Month, a time to learn more about heart disease, the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States.

The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which affects blood flow to the heart.

Heart attacks occur when the heart muscle doesn’t receive enough blood. The more time that passes without restoring blood flow, the higher the chance for heart damage.

The USPS Health and Wellness team encourages you to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, which include chest pain or discomfort; feeling weak, light-headed, unusually tired or faint; pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back; shortness of breath; and nausea or vomiting.

If you have these symptoms, call 911 immediately. The sooner medical treatment can be administered, the better the chances of surviving a heart attack.

The three most common risk factors for heart disease are high cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking. Half of all Americans have at least one of these risk factors, which are often asymptomatic, so it’s important to talk to your physician and know your levels.

To live a heart-healthy lifestyle, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests six strategies:

• Know your risks and family history.

• Make healthy food choices.

• Move more by getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week.

• If you smoke, quit.

• Take medications as directed by your healthcare provider.

• Rethink your drinks and substitute water for sugary drinks and alcohol.

The CDC and USPS February Wellness Toolkit websites have more information.