Kifowit apologizes to Breen for saying she'd like his loved ones to 'ultimately die'
State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit apologized Wednesday to outgoing Republican House Leader Peter Breen for saying she'd like to "make him a broth of legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved ones" so they could "ultimately die."
Kifowit, an Oswego Democrat, made the remarks on the House floor Tuesday as legislators prepared to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's amendatory veto of a bill to increase the cap of what the state might pay in damage awards from $100,000 to $2 million.
The legislation is aimed at families of those affected by a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.
"I offer my sincere apology to Representative 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 wrote Wednesday.
"As a Marine Corps veteran, I feel very passionate about what happened in our Quincy Veterans Home, which resulted in 13 veterans' and one spouse's deaths, in addition to over 70 individuals being ill. The truth is this did happen to our heroes, and my attempt to illustrate empathy for the families that were affected by the loss of their loved ones was not conveyed properly."
The House voted 110-0 Wednesday to expunge Kifowit's statement from the record.
Addressing representatives on the House floor Wednesday, Breen acknowledged Kifowit's apology -- but stopped short of accepting it.
"If the representative had made her statement to me in the parking lot or left it as a phone message at my office, she would be in custody right now," he said. "But because she made her statement on the House floor, her remarks were met with applause instead of handcuffs."
Breen, a Lombard Republican, was defeated in the Nov. 6 election by Democrat Terra Costa Howard in what he called "a vile, filthy electoral campaign."
On Wednesday, he called for more accountability moving forward.
"There certainly needs to be accountability for the conduct we saw yesterday. Otherwise this sort of despicable behavior will become the new standard of what we allow in this chamber. And it will set the bar for acceptable conduct very low for the people of our state," Breen said.
"In my four years here, I've watched this General Assembly avoid the tough decisions needed to divert our state's government from the path to fiscal ruin. Now, I wonder whether this General Assembly will have the character to divert our state's politics from the path of moral and ethical ruin."
Daily Herald news services contributed to this report.