February 9, 2018

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Illinois, Latest News

VIDEO: Rauner Doubles-Down on Self-Praise for State’s Handling of Quincy Legionnaires’ Outbreak

Rauner Now Accusing Quincy Home Workers of Spreading False Information

 (Watch Here)

In an appearance before the Herald & Review editorial board, Bruce Rauner stood by statements he made yesterday regarding the state’s response to Legionnaires’ outbreaks at the state-run Quincy Veterans’ home. A major investigation by WBEZ raised serious questions about the state’s response to the outbreaks that have killed 13. But yesterday, Rauner rejected criticism and proclaimed, “we’ve handled it exceptionally well and we would not do anything different.” 

Not only did Rauner stand by those comments today, he went so far as to imply workers that workers at Quincy spread “misinformation” at a hearing earlier in the week. Rauner’s administration was already under fire for waiting six days before telling the public and residents about the outbreak. Officials representing the workers at Quincy testified that they only learned about the Legionnaires’ outbreak through media reports. (WATCH HERE)

Question: But I think, maybe what we’re getting at is that the staff found out on media reports in Quincy, right? That was some of that testimony.

Rauner: Well you see that’s false. You see there’s a lot of misinformation and I think politically motivated attacks going on. I don’t want to get into that. The reality is, we took strong immediate action. Communicated with employees and that was put out, Erica Jefferies put out that clear statement about how they communicated. There’s a lot of politics getting played right now.

Rauner’s denials require a lot of trust. At the same hearing in question, legislators complained his administration was requiring them to file public records requestsfor access to documents about Quincy. Not only that, but Rauner’s administration was denying the requests as “overly broad” and “unduly burdensome.”   

“For three years, Bruce Rauner has pretended like nothing went wrong during the Quincy Legionnaires’ outbreak,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “At the same time, his administration is hampering an inquiry and he refuses to offer any evidence of self-reflection. Rauner’s knee-jerk refusal to admit fault is a failure of leadership. The state owes it to the families of the deceased to be open and transparent about what happened at Quincy and what they learned from their mistakes.”

Background Transcript 

Questioner: Governor, I want to touch on something you said earlier, ‘call me Frank Sinatra, regrets, I have a few.’ But yesterday you talked to what I believe, was Crain’s up in Chicago about how you don’t really have any regrets in regards to the handling of the Quincy Veterans’ home. A lot of your opponents in the election, just some of the state representatives, are saying, ‘Governor, thirteen people are dead because of this Veterans’ Home Legionnaires’ outbreak.’ How do you not have any regrets about that?

Rauner: Oh, I feel horrible. These are our heroes, of course I feel devastated, it’s heartbreaking that a veteran would pass away. I mean goodness, gracious. And my whole life as a private citizen and as governor, I’ve worked hard to support our veterans and do everything possible to help them, protect them, keep them healthy. My point is, there’s a lot of false political attacks right now, second guessing. The reality is, we brought in, as soon as we found somebody got infected, we actually found the cause. There’s evidence that this has actually has been a problem in various nursing homes and veterans home around the state for years. We were the ones who found the cause and by our proactive testing. And we brought in the national experts immediately. And we immediately implemented every one of their recommendations and the reality is, my goal is zero infections. Challenge is there’s Legionella bacteria in many of the water systems around the Quincy area but across the state. We’ve got Legionella in the State Capitol right now and anyone over the age of 80 with an immune system that is not robust and healthy is very susceptible so everything we can.  Every day we are implementing what the experts have recommended but I’ve said, let’s go beyond the experts. We’re now looking at complete replacement of plumbing systems, we’re looking at entirely new facilities. We’re doing everything we possibly can to keep our veterans safe and healthy and I will never give up on this.  

Question: OK, so you stand by your comment then that you don’t regret any of your handling or your administration’s handling of the situation in Quincy?

Rauner: What We’ve done everything that experts have recommended, and we’ve gone behind what the experts have recommended.

Question: But I think, maybe what we’re getting at is that the staff found out on media reports in Quincy, right? That was some of that testimony. 

Rauner: Well you see that’s false. You see there’s a lot of misinformation and I think politically motivated attacks going on. I don’t want to get into that. The reality is, we took strong immediate action. Communicated with employees and that was put out, Erica Jefferies put out that clear statement about how they communicated. There’s a lot of politics getting played right now.