After making the switch from the Iowa Statehouse to the Story County Administration Building in June, Story County Supervisor and former nine-term House legislator will kick-off her re-election campaign at a fundraiser event in Ames on Nov. 9.
The fundraiser will be held at the Octagon Center for the Arts at 4.p.m., and Heddens confirmed that J.D. Scholten, Democratic nominee for the Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, and former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey will be in attendance.
Heddens, who was appointed to the board on June 15, is currently serving the unexpired four-year term of former Supervisors Rick Sanders, who left his post to accept the Iowa State University Research Park president’s position.
Since she’s filling the term via appointment, Heddens is up for re-election in 2020, and if elected, will be up for election in 2022.
“It’s important to have this fundraiser to, meet my constituents and connect with them through the lens of a Supervisor, since they’ve known me as legislator,” Heddens said. “But its also important to let them know about my term status and how the process for elections will go, since I was appointed to fill an unexpired term.”
Heddens said she is looking forward to her first county budget process, and identified mental health funding, infrastructure and economic development as her main priorities for the county.
“A lot of my first months involved going out to our towns in Story County, talking and listening to what those communities see as their strengths and hear what they need from the Board,” Heddens said. “When I applied, I wanted to ensure that we have healthy economic development, good infrastructure referring to our county roads and bridges, and ensuring that all of our communities in the county are getting the services they need.”
Due to her profound background in the mental health field, Heddens said she’s excited to workshop the components in the children’s mental health bill into the county’s future plans t
In March, Iowa passed a children’s mental health bill that establishes a system just for children, lays out what core services must be provided, and creates a state board to oversee it. The bill seeks to create a system by 2020 to serve children up to age 18 who have serious emotional disturbances.
Outlining potential challenges ahead, Heddens said potential limitations are the revenue cap for county services, as well as finding support services for residents who are not Medicaid or Medicare eligible.
“The legislators put down some core services for both adult and children services to have in place so that falls on the county,” Heddens said. “With children, a number of them may be eligible under Medicaid or private insurance, but there will some that won’t be covered by either, and it’ll be up to the county to find the avenues to support them.”
Heddens said that she hopes to have mental health access points countywide by the end of 2021. State legislation calls for mental health access centers or points, varying on region, to be in place by 2022.
“It’s going to involve evaluating how we can best serve our county residents, through available funds, outreach opportunities and assessment,” Heddens said. “One of our goals should be providing services that are not only available, but good services that are working for our residents when they need it.”