‘Governor Branstad ignored the will of Iowans again’

Written by Theresa Rose on July 3, 2015

Senator: Veto of MHI funding shows Governor’s ‘my way or the highway approach’

MOUNT PLEASANT — Governor Branstad ignored the will of Iowans again by vetoing a bipartisan compromise to keep open the Mental Health Institute in Mount Pleasant, a key State Senator said today.

“Southeast Iowans rallied to demonstrate that there is widespread community and statewide support for the Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute (MHI). Governor Branstad ignored our pleas to maintain critical services in Mount Pleasant for Iowa families,” said Senator Rich Taylor of rural Mount Pleasant. “We had hoped that the Governor would have seen the light by signing legislation to keep this institution open and to allow the skilled, caring people who work here to provide help to people who have nowhere else to turn.”

Taylor said the Governor’s veto was particularly upsetting because:

1. Health service providers, public safety officers, religious leaders and advocates for Iowans suffering from mental illnesses all opposed the Governor’s plan to shut down the MHI in Mount Pleasant.

2. Republican and Democratic legislators — including State Rep. Dave Heaton, a Mount Pleasant Republican — came together to forge a compromise plan after Governor Branstad promised during a news conference on February 10, 2015, to work with legislators on a plan for funding the MHIs in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda. “Obviously, the Legislature through the appropriations process will make the decision as to what the level of funding should be and how these services can best be delivered,” Branstad told reporters.

“In the end, the Governor ignored the will of a majority of Iowans and once again took the ‘my way or the highway’ approach to getting things done,” Taylor said.

Taylor thanked the hundreds of MHI employees for their service, and he praised Mount Pleasant community leaders as well as Republican and Democratic legislators from across the state for supporting efforts to keep the Mount Pleasant MHI open.