A Democratic state lawmaker in Illinois is facing calls to resign over comments she made Tuesday that appeared to wish Legionnaires’ disease on a Republican colleague’s family members.
State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit explained Tuesday that she was speaking hypothetically when she said on the House floor that she wanted to mix a deadly “broth of Legionella and pump it into the water system” of a Republican colleague’s loved ones.
“To the representative from Lombard, I would like to make him a broth of Legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved one 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,” she said.
Ms. Kifowit was talking about outgoing state Rep. Peter Breen, who lost his election earlier this month to Democrat Terra Costa Howard. Mr. Breen had raised concerns about the cost of a bill that would override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto on raising the limit on damages the state could pay in civil cases from $100,000 to $2 million, which is aimed at helping families of those affected by a deadly Legionnaires’ outbreak at a state-run veterans home, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Just before lawmakers voted 71-36 for the override, Mr. Breen stood up and shouted that Ms. Kifowit wished death on his “f—— family,” the Sun-Times reported.
Ms. Kifowit later attempted to clarify her comments and apologized that her words were being “misrepresented.”
“For the fact of it being misrepresented, I’m going to say that what was said earlier is a mischaracterization of what my words were,” she said on the House floor, the Sun-Times reported. “And for that, for it being misinterpreted, I will apologize. But I will not apologize for what happened to those families. And I will clearly say to all of us, imagine if it was your family.”
She also defended herself on Twitter.
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider has called for Ms. Kifowit’s resignation, saying her comments show she’s unfit for office.
“Kifowit should be ashamed of her remarks,” Mr. Schneider said in a statement, the Sun-Times reported. “Since Rep. Kifowit has refused to apologize to Rep. Breen, she should resign from office, as these remarks are unfit for someone serving [in] public office.”