A Democratic state lawmaker in Illinois is facing calls to resign after saying Tuesday she wanted to mix a “broth of Legionella” bacteria to infect the "loved one" of her Republican colleague.
The remark by state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, directed at GOP Rep. Peter Breen, came amid a heated debate over a bill aimed at helping families of those who died or became sickened by a Legionnaires’ outbreak at a state-run veterans home.
The Republican had raised questions about the details and cost of the plan, which Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner had vetoed. It called for raising the cap on damages the state could pay in civil cases from $100,000 to $2 million, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“And, yes, we know the personal injury lawyers are going to make out like bandits, which they tend to do anytime they come to the General Assembly,” Breen said.
That prompted the Democrat, who co-sponsored the proposal, to lash out at him.
“To the representative from Lombard, I would like to make him a broth of Legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved one so that they can be infected, they can be mistreated, they can sit and suffer by getting aspirin instead of being properly treated and ultimately die,” she said.
“To the representative from Lombard, I would like to make him a broth of Legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved one so that they can be infected, they can be mistreated, they can sit and suffer by getting aspirin instead of being properly treated and ultimately die.”
From his microphone, Breen accused Kifowit of wishing death on his family.
Later, Kifowit, a Marine Corps veteran, took to Twitter and the floor to say her comments were misinterpreted, and that she “quite clearly” wanted him to imagine “if it was your family, hypothetically speaking.”
Republican Rep. Jeanne Ives also took offense to Kifowit’s remarks, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“How dare you. How dare you concoct up some sort of story about brewing up some batch of Legionella and having him feed it to his family,” Ives said. “How dare you take the discussion and the debate about a very serious bill that has a huge cost consequence on both sides, both for the victim and the state taxpayers. How dare you take an honest debate about an issue and then wish death on my colleague Peter Breen, his wife and his two adopted kids.”
In a tweet, the Illinois Republican Party called on Kifowit to resign.
The Illinois House of Representatives later voted 71-36 to override Rauner’s veto, the Sun-Times reported. The bill was passed earlier this year and meant to help the families of 14 people who died and dozens who became ill from a Legionnaires' outbreak at the Illinois Veteran Home in Quincy, about 280 miles southwest of Chicago.
A least a dozen lawsuits claiming negligence by the state have been filed since Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks beginning in 2015 at the post-Civil War-era facility.