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Cullerton: “This is an emergency”

tcullerton 022018SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is calling for urgent action to remedy infrastructure problems that caused 13 deaths in three years and three new cases of Legionnaires’ disease this month at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

Despite the continued threat to the health and well-being of veterans and their families that live at the facility, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s agency directors did not attend a Veterans Affairs Committee hearing hosted by Cullerton Tuesday. 

“This is an emergency,” Cullerton said. “Our United States veterans are in danger since the governor’s administration decided to sit on a report instead of taking proactive steps to rid the veterans’ home of Legionnaires’ disease.”

Cullerton called the hearing to find out why the governor’s administration did not immediately heed the advice of a 2016 engineering report suggesting the state repair pipes at the veterans’ home.

The report was only released public last week, and it was given to the media prior to members of the Veterans Affairs Committee. After receiving the report, Cullerton and committee members had a slew of questions that remain unanswered. 

“This engineering report outlines a clear path for Gov. Rauner’s administration to follow,” Cullerton said. “It is a shame that they decided not to take the necessary precautions to save the lives of Illinois’ veterans.”

Cullerton has filed Senate Bill 2308 which would fund the vital infrastructure improvements that should promote Legionnaires’ disease-free living conditions.  The legislation has already been promised bipartisan and bicameral support, with Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) sponsoring the legislation in the House.

“The governor has failed our veterans and hasn’t done his job,” Cullerton said. “I’m ready to take action to start construction and repairs at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy. If he won’t protect our United States veterans, I will. Their lives are on the line. How long does Gov. Rauner expect them to wait?”

Cullerton will convene another hearing next week, but it is unclear whether Gov. Rauner’s administration will decide to attend.

Sen. Tom Cullerton


23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor (Chairperson); State Government; Transportation; Veterans Affairs (Vice-Chairperson).

Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.

Associated Representatives:
Deb Conroy
Diane Pappas