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Illinois Rep Apologizes For Wishing Legionnaires' On Republican

ACROSS ILLINOIS — A Democratic state representative is apologizing for saying she wanted to pump a lethal “broth of Legionella” bacteria into a Republican lawmaker’s family water system, Rep. Stephanie Kifowit took to social media Tuesday, saying her words were “twisted and misrepresented,” claiming she would never wish harm on her political opponent or his family.

Kifowit, a Marine veteran who represents the Oswego area, grew heated over remarks by outgoing House GOP floor leader and Republican State Rep. Peter Breen of Lombard regarding a bill aimed at helping families of the downstate Quincy veterans home residents who died of Legionnaires’ disease. Kifowit is a co-sponsor of the legislation, Senate Bill 2481.

During Kifowit’s push for the bill, she said, “I would like to make him a broth of Legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved ones, 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,” according to multiple outlets.

The bill would increase the limits of damages in some cases from $100,000 to $2 million, according to the Chicago Tribune, as victims’ families claim the state’s negligence led to Legionnaires’ deaths at the veterans’ home over the last few years.

Patch reported in December 2017 that families were suing the state, saying the fatal Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in 2015 and continued problems at the western Illinois veterans’ home were preventable.

During the House floor debate, Breen argued the state doesn’t know how much damage claims and payments will cost, and that personal injury lawyers will “make out like bandits” in the end, according to the Tribune. Gov. Bruce Rauner rewrote the proposal over the summer to reduce the cap on damages to $300,000, but lawmakers voted 71-36 Tuesday in favor of raising the cap.

Kifowit posted to her Twitter page just before noon Wednesday afternoon, apologizing for Tuesday’s remarks.

“I offer my sincere apology to Rep Peter Breen, his family, and all of my House colleagues for my poor choice of words during a serious discussion on our Veterans’ health and safety. I would never wish any harm or mortality on anyone’s family, including the Breen family.”

Kifowit was reelected earlier this month after running against Republican Patty Smith.

Related:

The families have been seeking changes to the state-run Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, where the outbreak two years ago killed 12 and sickened dozens more. Despite pledges from Gov. Bruce Rauner to fix the problem, there’s been about half a dozen new Legionnaires’ cases since then.

AP Photo/Seth Perlman

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