Public meeting on Gov. Branstad’s push to close Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute

Written by Theresa Rose on February 3, 2015

Community members and the news media are invited to take part in a public forum on Governor Branstad’s effort to close the Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute. The event will take place this Saturday, February 7 from noon to 2 PM at the Mount Pleasant Public Library, 307 East Monroe Street, Mount Pleasant, IA 52641.

State Senator Rich Taylor of Mount Pleasant is hosting event with the help of Representative Dave Heaton of Mount Pleasant. Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids, the chair of the Iowa Senate’s Government Oversight Committee and a key advocate for better mental health services, will attend. The legislators will tour the MHI from 10 AM to 11:30 with Interim Superintendent Gail Huckins.

“The Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute provides an essential service to all Iowa families” Senator Taylor said, “Our job is to educate legislators from both parties about the real costs of caring for severely mentally ill people. That way they will understand why Mount Pleasant is a smart investment for Iowa taxpayers.”

The legislators disagree that Governor Branstad has the legal right to close the facility. They also argue that closing the Mount Pleasant MHI would generate new public costs elsewhere, especially for local property taxpayers, as multiple communities attempt to replicate the specialized services offered at Mount Pleasant.

“I look forward to Senator Hogg’s visit to the Mount Pleasant institution,” Representative Heaton said. “He will see firsthand the help troubled Iowans receive there and, at the public forum, the Senator will hear directly about the concerns of the employees.”

If you are unable to attend the forum, but would like to express any questions, concerns, or suggestions to Senator Taylor, you can reach him at his legislative email address Rich.Taylor@legis.iowa.gov or through his cell phone (319) 931-1568.