February 29, 2024

Ricketts, Smith Lead Nebraska Delegation Effort to Rename Lexington Postal Service Building After Representative Bill Barrett

February 29, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE) and Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE-3) introduced legislation to rename the Postal Service building in Lexington, NE as the “Bill Barrett Post Office Building” to honor the former Third District Congressman. The bill is also supported by Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Representatives Mike Flood (R-NE-1) and Don Bacon (R-NE-2).

William E. Barrett represented Nebraska’s Third Congressional District for 10 years from 1991-2001. The Lexington Postal Service Building is located at 203 E. 6th St. in Lexington, Nebraska.

“During his service in the Legislature and later in Congress, Bill Barrett always put Nebraskans first,”said Senator Ricketts. “He was also a friend and advisor to me and so many other leaders. His legacy should be honored. Through this legislation, I hope to see the Lexington Post Office renamed in commemoration of his years of public service to Nebraska and our country.” 

“Known for his ability to cultivate consensus and connect with anyone, Bill Barrett’s legacy is put best in his own words ‘Service to others is the best work of life,’” said Representative Smith. “Today, the Third District leads the nation in agriculture production, owing no small thanks to his work on issues important to Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers. He set a lasting standard of statesmanship for all who look to his example, and I thank my fellow delegation members for joining me in this effort to memorialize his impact on our state.”

“Whether serving as a member of the U.S. Navy, Speaker of the Unicameral, or a U.S. Congressman, Representative Barrett dedicated his life to helping others — a relentless fighter for his district and for Nebraska. I’m proud to co-lead this legislation to honor his legacy of public service,” said Senator Fischer

“From the Navy to the Unicameral to the halls of Congress, Bill Barrett’s life was devoted to public service. As former Speakers of the Nebraska Unicameral, he and I shared a special bond,” said Representative Flood. “During Barrett’s decade in the House, he was an advocate for Nebraska agriculture who helped author the Farm Bill. Naming the Lexington post office after him is one small way we can honor his legacy, and I’m grateful to Congressman Smith for leading the charge to get this done.”

“Bill Barrett faithfully served the Great State of Nebraska first in the Unicameral where he rose to be Speaker of the Legislature and then as a Member of Congress,” said Representative Bacon. “As a Member of the Agriculture Committee, he helped to write the Freedom to Farm Act of 1996, which revised and simplified direct payment programs for crops and eliminated milk price supports through direct government purchases. He also served our great nation in the Navy. I am honored to support the naming of a post office in his honor.”

Bill text can be found here.


William E. Barrett was born on February 9, 1929 in Lexington, Nebraska. He earned a B.A. from Hastings College in 1951 and served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.

After his service in the Navy, Barrett returned to his college alma mater where he recruited students and was vice president for student admissions. He later served on the College Board of Trustees for 32 years.

In 1978, Barrett was elected to the Nebraska Legislature, where he served for 12 years before his election to Congress. During his time in Congress, he served on the House Agriculture Committee, where he coauthored the Freedom to Farm Act and eventually became vice chairman and served on the Education and the Workforce Committee.

Barrett was also a member of his family’s general insurance, real estate brokerage, and appraising firm, Barrett-Housel & Associates.

Barrett retired from Congress in 2000 and resided in Lexington before his passing in 2016.