Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is spending a few days living at the state-run veterans home in Quincy.
That’s after a WBEZ Public Radio investigation showed residents there continued to get sick and die from Legionnaires’ disease three years after a major outbreak.
Last month Rauner refused to say whether he had a moral responsibility for the 13 Legionnaires’-related deaths that have occurred since 2015. But, he defended the state’s response, saying agencies have followed federal recommendations fighting the water-borne bacteria.
In a statement - a Rauner spokeswoman says the governor wants to learn more about the water treatment and operations of the home.
Rauner’s wife - First Lady Diana Rauner - says she will also be staying at the veterans’ home this weekend.
The governor’s political opponents say the stay is a publicity stunt.
Community leaders in Quincy say they are doing everything they can to keep the Illinois Veterans Home open.
Mayor Kyle Moore says the Quincy community is proud of the Veterans home and the care its more than 500 employees provide to residents.
“We know that the home is doing everything it can to eradicate the bacteria and everyone involved is working together to find the best possible outcome.”
Moore recently formed a bi-partisan committee to work on keeping the home open.
The group includes current and former politicians with ties to Quincy.
He says they started meeting shortly after lawsuits were filed by family members of the residents who died.
“Regardless of partisan affiliation, regardless of who supported whom for what elections, we are all pro-quincy, we are pro-Adams County, we are pro-the tri states and most importantly, we are pro the quincy veterans home and pro-veteran.”
The committee says it’s hosted tours for about ten state lawmakers.
And there is an organized effort underway to better promote the positive work of the veterans home and its employees.
State Representative Randy Freese and State Senator Jil Tracy are on the committee. Freese says they will both testify on behalf of the veterans home and question witnesses during a joint legislative meeting in Chicago next week.
There was no mention during Thursday morning’s news conference that Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner will be staying at the veterans home for a few days.