2024 Day on the Hill Summary

IMHCA and ACA of Iowa had a very successful Day on the Hill on Tuesday February 20! Nearly 50 people participated in the day including members of both organizations and students from at least 4 of Iowa’s Master’s in Mental Health Counseling Programs! Thank you to everyone who joined us on the day and helped make your voices heard!

We started the day with a legislator breakfast where attendees were able to visit with 14 legislators! During this event Senator Sarah Tron Garriott offered to introduce our members to the Senate. At 9 am members made their way to the Senate balcony, watched the Senate gavel in for session, and had the honor of being introduced to the floor by Senator Trone Garriott who urged her colleagues to speak with us about the importance of mental healthcare in Iowa. Thank you Senator Trone Garriot and all the other legislators who joined us for breakfast!

IMHCA and ACA members then went down the street to the Historical Society where we were able to virtually attend NAMI’s trainings from across town and hear their stories of how mental health and access to mental healthcare has impacted them and their communities. We are grateful for this collaboration! We continued working together throughout the day when Ellyn, IMHCA’s Legislative and Public Policy Chair, spoke with NAMI attendees at the Capitol about one of the bills that IMHCA is watching and concerned about. IMHCA and ACA are excited about the opportunity to work with NAMI and hope to strengthen this collaboration even more moving forward!

IMHCA’s lobbyist Emily Piper gave members an overview of IMHCA’s bill watch list, main priorities and talking points for the day, and an introduction to the lobbying process. We then broke into groups and headed up to the Capitol for our afternoon of advocacy.

During the afternoon members had the privilege to speak with 23 legislators! Between breakfast and lobbying in the afternoon we connected with a total of 30 different legislators throughout the day! The full list of contacts made throughout the day is below. Members spoke with these legislators about increasing funding for the mental health provider student loan repayment program, our concerns about the combination of the boards and commissions including the proposed combination of the Board of Behavioral Sciences, the Board of Social Work, and the Board of Psychology, as well as our concerns around the redesign of the mental health and substance abuse regions. Legislators were extremely receptive to our input and expressed support for many of our suggestions. Thank you to those legislators who were able and willing to meet with us and hear our concerns!

This year’s Day on the Hill marks one of the biggest in IMHCA’s history and we are excited to build off this momentum from here. We are already in talks with ACA of Iowa and NAMI about working together again next year!

Breakfast Contacts Afternoon Contacts
Rep Art Staed Rep Ako Abdul-Samad
Rep Dr. Steven Bradley Rep Bill Gustoff
Rep Elinor Levin Rep Bobby Kaufmann
Rep Elizabeth Wilson Rep David Jacoby
Rep Jon Dunwell Rep Dr. Steven Bradley
Rep Michael Bergan Rep Eddie Andrews
Rep Thomas Jeneary Rep Elinor Levin
Sen David Rowley Rep Elizabeth Wilson
Sen Jeff Edler Rep Hans Wilz
Sen Molly Donahue Rep J.D. Scholten
Sen Nate Boulton Rep Josh Turek
Sen Sarah Trone Garriott Rep Mary Madison
Sen Tim Kraayenbrink Rep Megan Jones
Sen Tony Bisignano Sen Brad Zaun
Sen Chris Cournoyer
Sen Izaah Knox
Sen Jeff Edler
Sen Jeff Taylor
Sen Lynn Evans
Sen Molly Donahue
Sen Nate Boulton
Sen Sarah Trone Garriott
Sen Todd Taylor

Find a list of all senators here: Iowa Legislature – Senators

Find a list of all representatives here: Iowa Legislature – Representatives

Above: Legislative Breakfast.

Below: Observing the Senate before the training.


We were able to share in NAMI programming from 9-11:15am. Ryan Crane, Executive Director of NAMI Iowa started with a welcome. At 9:10 am we had a Panel Discussion: Solutions to Support a Thriving Mental Health Workforce — James Hayes, Executive Director, Mind & Spirit Counseling Center; Kellee McCrory, Program Manager, Iowa Peer Workforce Collaborative; Jason Haglund, Founding Member and Senior Consultant, Rural Policy Partners

Above Leftt: Ripples of Hope: Community, Connection, and Change for Iowa Mental Health — Kalie VanBaale, author, professor, and mental healthcare advocate; and Leslie Carpenter, Legislative Advocacy Manager for the Treatment Advocacy Center, co-founder of Iowa Mental Health Advocacy, and NAMI Iowa Board member.

Above Right: Kenneth Cameron, LMHC shares his passion for advocacy. He serves on the NAMI Board as well as the American Counseling Association (ACA) legislative chair.


Above left: The best group picture we got of the day, but not everyone was present. There were people still talking with legislators in the Rotunda. We had a record turn out.