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Castro urges the governor and his administration to take charge

Published: Wednesday, February 07, 2018 04:24 PM

castro 020718SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) continues to look for answers from state officials regarding a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that caused 13 deaths in the last three years at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

“I want to be part of a solution,” Castro said. “But that requires the Rauner administration – the people who are supposed to run state government – to come clean, be honest and actually put forth a plan to solve the problem.”

At the Wednesday Veterans Affairs Committee meeting, Castro focused on a 2016 engineering report that the Rauner administration commissioned to try to solve the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Quincy home.

The plan included replacing the plumbing in select facilities, including those that house the veterans most susceptible to infection. That 2016 report was never acted upon by the Rauner administration. Its existence was not made public until the evening prior to the committee hearing.

Castro was stunned to learn of its existence and the administration’s failure to do anything with it even as the public health epidemic continued at the Quincy facility.

“Why did the Rauner administration sit on this report and do nothing?” Castro asked. “The governor and his administration failed our veterans and now they’re trying to paper over their failure with new reports and bureaucratic red tape. That’s unacceptable.”

The engineering firm is now being asked to expand the plumbing replacement to the entire campus, and Castro said it is long past time to act.

“If the governor would have taken charge of the situation, he could have solved the problem back in 2016,” said Castro. 

Castro on Legionnaires’ disease outbreak: “Our veterans have fought to protect us; it is time for us to protect them.”

Published: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 08:49 AM

castro 110917SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) attended the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Joint Committee Hearing regarding the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy. There have been over a dozen deaths caused by this disease in the past three years.

“Governor Rauner’s administration should have taken immediate action three years ago,” said Castro. “His administration not being here today for this hearing shows me they aren’t taking this seriously. If they knew this was happening, why did they just sit on the CDC’s recommendations? Why did it take so long?”

Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by bacteria found in plumbing systems. Thirteen residents at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy have died due to this disease over the past three years.

“Pro-action, pro-action,” said Castro. “I’m tired of excuses. These are our veterans and they deserve dignity. A permanent solution needs to be found.”

Castro’s new law will protect veterans from cancellation fees

Published: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 03:10 PM

phone contractELGIN – Veterans will be able to avoid the financial inconvenience of a cell phone or cable contract cancellation under a law sponsored by state Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin).

The Elgin Democrat sponsored and passed House Bill 2449, allowing those in the armed forces to cancel or suspend certain contracts when they receive orders to relocate or are deployed. Businesses who don’t comply would be breaking the law under this act.

“The brave men and women serving our country shouldn’t be penalized when they have to relocate or are deployed,” Castro said. “They are putting their lives on hold to protect and defend our country. The least we can do is make sure they have an easy way out of a binding contract when circumstances arise.”

Currently, service members are allowed to suspend cell phone contracts, bulk long distance services, gas and electricity services, and property and motor vehicle leases. Under Castro’s measure, service members also will be allowed to terminate internet services, television and cable services, gym memberships and satellite radio services.

The new law will apply to contracts entered into on and after Jan. 1, 2018.

Castro to file legislation that will smooth process of investigations

Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 08:28 AM

castro 092017SPRINGFIELD – Needless bureaucratic hurdles are slowing ethics investigations and need to be removed, state Senator Cristina Castro said in filing legislation to streamline the process.

“We have a skilled investigator on the job. We need to empower her to do that job and deliver results quickly,” said Castro, an Elgin Democrat and the newest member of the Legislative Ethics Commission.

Here’s the problem with the current system.

Sen. Cristina Castro

Senator Cristina Castro

22nd Legislative District

Years served: 2017 - Present

Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Committee of the Whole; Financial Institutions; Higher Education; Local Government; Telecommunications & InfoTechnology; Transportation (Vice-Chairperson).

Associated Representative(s): Anna Moeller, Fred Crespo