By Christopher Nichols
Posted Feb 08, 2012 @ 11:44 PM
The Dighton Board of Selectmen voted to draft a letter in opposition to the closure of Taunton State Hospital at Wednesday’s meeting.
Prior to the vote, the selectmen read a letter from state Sen. Mark Pacheco, D-Taunton, asking the selectmen to support the effort to keep the facility open.
Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration recently announced a proposal to close Taunton State Hospital and move all its patients to facilities in Tewksbury and Worcester, citing the need to ensure the Department of Mental Health stays within its budget.
Pacheco has spearheaded the opposition to the proposal, which includes many local and state officials such as Rep. Patricia Haddad, D-Somerset; Rep. Keiko Orrall, R-Lakeville; Rep. Shaunna O’Connell, R-Taunton; and Mayor Thomas Hoye Jr.
“In addition to placing further stress on the statewide system, this proposal will leave the South Shore, Cape Cod and Islands region in an extremely dangerous position,” wrote Pacheco in his letter.
Pacheco also held a meeting in opposition to the governor’s proposal at the First Parish Church in Taunton on Jan. 29, where more than 100 officials, workers and concerned citizens crowded into the tightly packed room.
On Wednesday, the Dighton selectmen unanimously voted to add their voice to the opposition.
“It would be in our best interest to write to the governor and tell him we’re opposed to the closing of Taunton State,” said Selectmen Chair Bud Whalon.
Whalon also said a number of Dighton residents work at the hospital and the inpatient beds are needed for the region.
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