CHICAGO (CBS) — More political finger pointing today over who’s to blame for the Legionnaires’ crisis at the Quincy Veterans Home that claimed 13 lives.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley reports on whether politics will get in the way of a solution.
Joined by governors’ candidate J.B. Pritzker, Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza took direct aim at her Republican opponent Darlene Senger.
“Darlene Senger is the person who tried to pin the deaths of 13 war heroes on an actual wounded war hero,” said Mendoza.
She said Senger, then a top aide to governor Bruce Rauner last year, wrote an e-mail that asked whether the Legionnaires’ deaths of 13 vets at the Quincy home could be linked to U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth who ran the state’s VA under former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.
Democrats claimed Senger’s email is part of a pattern by Rauner.
“He consistently blames everyone but himself,” said Pritzker.
But Senger’s responding statement still indirectly blamed Duckworth, among others.
“For years, including the past Blagojevich and Quinn administrations, our veterans home suffered from chronic underfunding that impacted the care our veterans received,” said Senger.
The bigger question is whether Democrats will approve up to 245 million dollars. Rauner wants to rebuild Quincy, with the legislative session running short.
“They’re almost setting us up for failure so nothing does happen this time in the game and we’re out of there at the the end of May,” said Representative Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora.)
But veterans won’t accept excuses.
“What has been happening there has been a travesty and we need to fix the problem. Immediately,” said veteran and business owner Branden Marty.
Pritzker said we should do whatever it takes to preserve the security of the veterans, indicating he believes the money to rebuild Quincy will be approved.
Democrats would like to hang to this issue to use against Rauner in the fall campaign. But that’s tough to do when they’ve been demanding action and now there’s a plan on the table.