02072018 RSSPRINGFIELD- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed legislation today that will require a full legislative audit of the governor’s response to the Legionnaires' disease outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

This week the Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed two more cases of Legionnaires' disease at the home, continuing an outbreak that has already claimed 13 lives.

“Gov. Rauner cannot continue to hide behind smoke and mirrors. We want answers now,” Cullerton said. “The governor’s office has stonewalled our bipartisan committee’s requests for transparency and accountability.  Now I have no other option but to call on my colleagues on the Legislative Audit Commission to launch a full examination into the governor’s response to this tragic outbreak.”

Cullerton said this will give the Illinois General Assembly a clearer picture of infrastructure problems at the home and the state’s response to them.

“The sooner we examine this atrocity, the more quickly we can remedy the situation,” he said.

Read more: Tom Cullerton measure requires full legislative audit of governor’s Legionnaires' response

cullerton tom2014SPRINGFIELD – Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) released the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget address:

“Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to raise property taxes. His budget gives our schools no other choice.”

02072018 RSSPRINGFIELD - Staffing shortages and poor flow of information can be added to the list of mismanagement by the Rauner administration at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

The shortages came to light at a bipartisan Veterans Affairs Committee hearing convened by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) Wednesday morning.

Nette Smith, who works at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy and is the President of the AFSCME Quincy chapter, outlined the staffing concerns Wednesday, noting healthcare personnel are working “tremendous amounts of overtime” while more than 40 positions remain open at the home.

“The staff at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy is doing an amazing job providing our veterans and their loved ones with the best possible care,” Cullerton said. “But it is alarming that they are over 40 open positions at the facility that need to be filled.”

When the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease hit, Smith said she found out through media reports, and staff members were often unable to attend informational meetings regarding the outbreak because they were busy doing their jobs. On-duty staff members often missed the once-daily formal briefings and were not given more opportunities to be informed.

“Keeping staff in the dark is a disservice to not only the staff but the residents at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy,” Cullerton said. “How are medical personnel supposed to make sound and educated decisions without a complete picture?”

Cullerton is working toward a legislative remedy to implement staff notification requirements at state facilities such as the Quincy home, but he said the first step will be a basic level of respect from those in charge.

“We have a staff that is overworked and underappreciated by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration,” Cullerton said. “The staff comes to work every day and gives our veterans and their loved ones their very best. The governor’s office now needs to step up and give them the respect and care they deserve in return.”

02072018CM0131 RSSPRINGFIELD- State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is still fighting for answers regarding a Legionnaires' disease outbreak that killed 13 residents at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy in the past three years.

Cullerton called another bipartisan House and Senate Veterans Affairs hearing Wednesday morning, but it raised more questions as Rauner agencies had few answers.

“It seems like the only way to get information from the governor’s administration is to hold a hearing,” Cullerton said. “It sounds awfully bureaucratic but if this is the only way for us to institute meaningful long-term solutions to protect our nation’s heroes, I will hold a hearing every week.”

Last month, Cullerton requested information from the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Public Health regarding the veterans home. Appallingly, Gov. Rauner’s legal team stonewalled Cullerton’s requests.

“All I want is some answers and to know that our veterans are receiving the best possible care,” Cullerton said. “Instead of working with me to ensure we have the proper protocols in place, the governor’s office continues to hide behind FOIA laws. Our state agencies and government bodies are supposed to be transparent. What is he trying to hide?”

On top of Rauner’s legal objections, the Illinois Capitol Development Board released a report on the facility late yesterday evening, giving committee members just hours to read and fully comprehend it. Cullerton is still waiting on a copy of the original 2016 report commissioned by the department in response to the 2015 Legionnaires’ disease deaths as well.

“Additional taskforces and more publicity stunts aren’t going to fix this problem,” Cullerton said. “We need transparency and cooperation from Gov. Rauner’s administration.”

Taking progress in his own hands, Cullerton has already sponsored Senate Bill 2308, which would authorize infrastructure improvements at Illinois’ flagship veterans home. The improvements would include updates to the water systems or new construction to prevent the spread of Legionella bacteria.

State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills), the chief sponsor of the measure in the House, is ready to move the bill forward as well, but Cullerton is still waiting on finalized figures from the governor’s staff.

“We have bipartisan support to provide the home with whatever they need to keep our veterans safe,” Cullerton said. “Our veterans have waited three years for a solution; the time to act is now. If the governor won’t take charge, I will.”

Cullerton plans on holding additional hearings until there is a long-term solution in place.

Against CostShift Button r2

Petition: Do Not Tax Retirement Income

eNewsletter Signup

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.

shamrock

CONTACT SENATOR CULLERTON

Welcome to the official website of Senator Tom Cullerton. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Cullerton directly or you may call either of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

District Office
338 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
P: (630) 903-6662
F: (630) 903-6643

Springfield Office
122 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-9463