Iowa Wesleyan nursing students deliver more than 7,000 names on petition to Governor Branstad to keep MHI open

Written by Theresa Rose on February 19, 2015

(Des Moines) On Wednesday, Iowa Wesleyan College Professor of Nursing Lisa Kongable led a group of 18 students to the Iowa Statehouse to urge lawmakers and Governor Branstad to stop plans to close the Mental Health Institutes in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda.

After rising early Wednesday morning, the group was met at the Iowa Statehouse by State Senator Rich Taylor of Mount Pleasant. After a brief discussion, they were introduced to the entire Iowa Senate in an address by Taylor when the legislative session began.

In his remarks, Taylor said, “This ill-thought plan, in their opinion not only undermines the much needed mental health care of Iowa’s most vulnerable citizens, but also robs students of an invaluable resource for education in this field.”

Taylor’s remarks can be viewed at http://youtu.be/AOoCEPhNw5k.

When the Senate adjourned, Senator Taylor escorted the group to Governor Terry Branstad’s office. Late last year, Governor Branstad abruptly announced his intention to close the Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute, a decision which has been widely criticized by those familiar with the mental health needs of Iowa communities.

Although the Governor was on the road, the group presented his office with more than 7,000 signatures collected via an on-line petition (http://chn.ge/1CKFyU8) . A video of their presentation at the Governor’s office can be viewed at: http://youtu.be/HezUywkyvaA.

The group from Iowa Wesleyan College spent the rest of the day talking with members of the Iowa House and the Iowa Senate about the need to keep the institutes open.