Illinois Dem State Rep Calls for Death of Republican Colleague

Illinois State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune Twitter)
November 30, 2018

A Democratic state lawmaker from Illinois called for the death of her Republican colleague and his loved ones during a floor speech on Tuesday.

State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit directed the comments at fellow Rep. Peter Breen (R.) during a debate about a bill for helping families of those who suffered and died after they were exposed to Legionella bacterium at a state-run veterans home.

"I would like to make him a broth of Legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved ones 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," Kifowit said.

The remarks prompted Republican representative Jeanne Ives to respond, "How dare you concoct up some sort of story about brewing up some batch of Legionella and having him feed it to his family ... 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. It is unbelievable."

Kifowit's comments came in response to Breen raising questions about the cost of the plan, Fox News reports.

"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.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers widely agree a $100,000 cap is outdated and want to raise the maximum amount of damages that can be awarded to plaintiffs in negligence cases, the Washington Post reported. A bill, vetoed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in August, proposed a cap of $2 million. Breen advocated for a cap of $500,000 to $600,000.

Fourteen people have died, and nearly 70 have been sickened, since 2015 after they were exposed to the bacterium.

Kifowit later said her comments were misinterpreted, saying she "quite clearly" wanted Breen to imagine "if it was your family, hypothetically speaking." She ultimately apologized.

"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 said on Wednesday.

Breen accepted Kifowit's apology, the Washington Post reported.

Breen said Kifowit’s comments are a sign that "toxic and dangerous" rhetoric plaguing the state had spilled into the legislative process. He said he had expressed concerns during the debate about how much the legislation would cost the state, and he was taken aback by how Kifowit responded.

"She launched her attack against me and my family, and really, it was shock. It was out of left field," said Breen, who has two adopted sons, ages 2 years and 2 months. He added: "Had Rep. Kisowit made those statements in the parking lot, or left a message on an answering machine in my office, she would be in custody."

The Illinois Republican Party called on Kifowit to resign.

Published under: Democrats , Illinois