A debate over a bill aimed at helping the families impacted by the dozen or so deaths from a Legionnaires’ outbreak at Downstate Quincy veterans home led to some pretty nasty remarks by Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit toward her Republican colleague, state Rep. Peter Breen, hoping that his family would suffer and die. Kifowit said that she wanted to make him a "broth of Legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved one so that they can be infected.”
Breen merely wondered the cost of this bill. Gov. Bruce Rauner, who was defeated for re-election this year, capped the amount in damages that could be collected as a result of this outbreak (via Chicago Tribune) [emphasis mine]:
Republicans in the House today exploded in anger over the comments of @RepKifowit in which she spoke of Rep Peter Breen's family drinking a stew of Legionella bacteria. Kifowit said she was making a hypothetical comment, not actually wishing harm to Breen's family @ilgop SB-2481 pic.twitter.com/eF6bDOKYIs— IllinoisChannel (@IllinoisChannel) November 27, 2018
The bill would raise limits on damages in some state Court of Claims cases from $100,000 to $2 million, which could affect the victims’ families, who allege the state was negligent in the deaths that resulted from outbreaks at the veterans home over the past three years. Gov. Bruce Rauner rewrote the proposal over the summer to reduce such caps on damage awards to $300,000, but lawmakers voted Tuesday to override him.
During the House floor debate over the proposal, Republican state Rep. Peter Breen of Lombard questioned some of the plan’s details, contending the state doesn't know how much it will cost. Breen, the outgoing House GOP floor leader, noted that multiple tort claims could be paid out for the same incident.
“And, yes, we know the personal injury lawyers are going to make out like bandits, which they tend to do anytime they come to the General Assembly,” Breen said.
Minutes later, Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego, a co-sponsor of the legislation, stood up to attack Breen.
“I would like to make him a broth of Legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved one, so that they can be infected, they can be mistreated, they can sit and suffer by getting aspirin instead of being properly treated and ultimately die. And we are talking about our nation's heroes,” said Kifowit, a Marine veteran.
Well, that’s nice. Kifowit tried to backtrack on Twitter saying, “I stated ‘imagine if it was your family’ as a hypothetical because it did happen to families. I never stated anything to wish his family death.”
My words were twisted and misrepresented but keep in mind - he was angry at the thought. For the families of the Veterans who died and the individuals that were sickened - this is reality.— Stephanie Kifowit (@RepKifowit) November 27, 2018
In response to remarks against giving restitution by Rep Breen I stated “imagine if it was your family” as a hypothetical because it did happen to families. I never stated anything to wish his family death.— Stephanie Kifowit (@RepKifowit) November 27, 2018
She also said her words were being “twisted and misrepresented.” I don’t know; the video is quite clear. The Illinois GOP has called on her to resign. She won’t. She’s a Democrat in a deep blue state. She’s safe—and she can say whatever she wants because of that. It’s disgusting. If a Republican had said this, it would be pandemonium. Remember, folks. Democrats hate us. Perhaps it’s time we start hating them more.