Senator Danielson defends mental health voting record - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Senator Danielson defends mental health voting record

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(KWWL) -

 A local senator is getting some attention for his criticism of Governor Branstad's mental health care decisions. Some are pointing at his own voting record, and he says he stands by his votes. 

Earlier this month, Senator Danielson criticized Governor Branstad's decisions to close two mental health institutes. 

When looking at Danielson's own voting record, it shows he voted for bills which ultimately closed those facilities.

"I didn't vote to close them," said Danielson. "What the hypocrites for hire, otherwise known as super PACs are leaving out is those are after Governor Branstad has unilaterally closed them."

Danielson says criticism of him comes from forces who hope to defeat the Senator in November.

"The irony is every one of those votes, added resources back after the Governor had vetoed or unilaterally made a decision to cut them," said Danielson. "So I'll defend that record all day long."

He says opponents and super PACs often use pieces of specific legislation which are parts of much larger budget issues.

"This ain't my first rodeo," said Danielson. "This is a very serious issue, and to play politics with this during a campaign, is beyond the pale for me."

Danielson says he's more focused on fighting for mental health resources. 

"Mental health in Iowa is now becoming a public safety issue," said Danielson. "When we don't provide those networks of support, a continuum of care, the professionals who understand what that person needs, and can provide it 24/7, guess what happens? The 911 call comes in and it now becomes, a police, fire, EMS issue."

Danielson says he's been working with the United Way to bring more mental health resources in this community.

For the first time, Danielson says United Way will help with early child screenings and crisis moments for adults suffering with mental health issues. 

Rankings of mental health care in Iowa vary.

Mental Health America ranked Iowa very good at 8th highest in the country for overall care.

The Treatment Advocacy Center  ranked Iowa 2nd worst in the country for available mental health services in its recent study. 

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