The pressure is mounting on Governor Rauner after weeks of questions, claims, denials, and excuses.
On January 10, Sen. Sam McCann (R-Plainview) blasted Gov. Rauner and his Illinois Public Health Director Nirav Shah, calling for Shah to step down, after the Governor’s week-long stay at an Illinois Veterans’ facility in Quincy, where 13 people have died from Legionnaires’ Disease since 2015. Disgusted, some have called out Rauner’s stay as a PR stunt, including Sen. Sam McCann (R-Plainview).
McCann to Rauner: Stop the Spin
“Instead of being to always try to be in campaign mode, get off the Harley, get off the skates, and do your job. And doing your job would have been to have gone there two and a half years ago and held this press conference,” says McCann, a pro-life conservative Republican. In 2016, McCann was targeted by Rauner troglodytes with a $5 million negative ad campaign and…miraculously survived.
Rauner continues to spin away the crisis as it threatens to destroy any remaining re-election hopes in 2018. Even if Rauner survives the GOP primary, the Pritzker TV ad campaign would be lethal.
McCann is not alone in his criticism of Rauner. PolitiFact confirms that Rauner’s excuses don’t hold water – even contaminated water.
WBEZ reports that Rauner administration officials delayed public disclosure of the 2015 outbreak for nearly a week after discovering it. Critics also claim the governor’s failure to act displayed an indifference to the facility’s elderly residents. Many family members have filed wrongful death lawsuits against the State of Illinois based on Rauner’s actions or lack thereof.
Rauner misleading the public on Legionnaires
The morning, PolitiFact, released a statement calling out Rauner for misleading statements. Rauner claims the media is not reporting all the facts and says that “The Legionella bacteria is in most water systems in Illinois.”
But PolitiFact says Rauner’s claim is “overbroad and lacking in context. We rate it Half True.”
“The governor’s statement glosses over the reality that any such contamination is likely present at low and non-threatening levels. The use of the word ‘most’ is also questionable since there’s no real quantifiable evidence. The CDC avoids quantifying the presence of the bacteria, which thrives on slime in poorly maintained internal water systems,” says PolitiFact.
Erik Olson, health program director at Natural Resources Defense Council says it was “misleading” for Rauner to attempt to frame the danger so broadly. Trace amounts of the bacteria don’t pose a threat unless allowed to grow due to poor building maintenance, Olson says.