SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- Republican lawmakers continue to call for an independent investigation of the COVID-19 outbreak at the LaSalle Veterans’ Home.
Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) demanded action today while standing outside of the Veterans’ Home where 36 residents died. The Republican said she’s outraged by what took place within the walls of the facility last year.
Rezin explained a proper response to the deadly outbreak isn’t about politics. She stressed it’s past time for an independent investigation to ensure safety of Illinois’ veterans.
“The tragedy that occurred behind me should have never happened,” said Rezin. “The residents of the LaSalle Veterans’ Home served and protected our nation when we needed it. But when they needed us to serve and protect them, the state failed.”
Rezin listed off four different bills she filed earlier this year to fix problems within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Although, they’re all stuck in the Senate Assignments Committee.
“The fact that these potential life-saving bills have been essentially blocked is embarrassing and disrespectful to the lives of the veterans that we lost in the LaSalle Veterans’ Home,” Rezin said.
While there’s only a few weeks left in session, Rezin explained there’s still time left to do the right thing. She argued it’s important these proposals pass in order to make sure an outbreak like this never happens again.
“There’s no excuse for the negligence”
Rep. David Welter (R-Morris) said lawmakers have tried to pass bills to address some of the issues in the facility. However, he feels there is resistance from the Pritzker administration.
Welter noted the recent Inspector General’s report showed the Illinois Department of Public Health and Department of Veterans’ Affairs should hold accountability for the mistakes. Yet, he says Pritzker needs to be held accountable for the mistakes.
“Our goal is not to make this political,” said Welter. “But to ensure that a year from now, five years from now, we’re not standing in front of another veterans’ home talking about another failure of this state. We have to get it right for our veterans. We’re committed to that, and we are not gonna stop until we finally produce legislation.”
Welter argued lawmakers cannot continue to ignore this situation and expect it to go away.
Sen. Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry) stressed that as a veteran himself, it’s infuriating to see what happened at the facility.
“Unfortunately the state of Illinois failed them and their families,” said Wilcox. “There’s no excuse for the negligence shown by this administration.”
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