02072018CM0131 RSVILLA PARK— A new report from WBEZ confirms Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Administration withheld information that could have saved lives at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy, and State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is calling for a criminal inquiry.

“This report confirms that the governor’s office deliberately delayed notifying families and the public of a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak,” Cullerton said. “This goes beyond negligence. This is willful endangerment of a vulnerable population that it is our sacred duty to protect. This is criminal neglect.”

Legionnaires’ disease claimed the lives of 14 veterans or their spouses at the Quincy home and sickened nearly 70 residents and staff. Now, state records show that Rauner’s administration waited weeks – and in some cases months – in 2016 and 2017 to publicly acknowledge additional cases of Legionnaires’ disease.

“Gov. Bruce Rauner prioritized political games over the lives of our U.S. service men and women and staff at the state-run veterans’ home,” Cullerton said.

Cullerton is urging the Illinois Attorney General’s office to consider criminal charges against Gov. Rauner and any other officials directly involved in the decisions to conceal the truth.

“If residents, loved ones and staff had all of the facts better decisions could have been made that would have saved lives,” Cullerton said. “The governor and his administration need to be held accountable.”

There is precedent for such charges. In Michigan, Attorney General Bill Schuette brought charges against high-ranking state and former city of Flint health officials related to the Flint drinking water crisis. Cullerton believes similar charges should be considered in Illinois.

“We need to find out how many more deaths were caused by exposure to Legionnaires’ disease at the veterans home. We need a larger investigation to further examine their criminal negligence,” he said.

Cullerton served in the Army from 1990 to 1993 as an infantryman and has been a staunch advocate for Illinois’ veterans, especially those at the Quincy home.

“The state of Illinois has failed to give the veterans at the home the same basic dignity they put their lives on the line to protect for all of us,” Cullerton said. “There has to be some accountability for those that willfully endanger the heroes under our care to save political face.”

DOD Rec Sen. Tom CullertonWASHINGTON, DC – The United States Department of Defense recently recognized State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) for his leadership in shaping policies that positively impact the lives of service members and families in Illinois.

“I’m honored to receive this prestigious designation for my efforts to better the lives of our military personnel, veterans and their families,” Cullerton said. “Our nation’s heroes have served our great country with honor and respect and have made countless sacrifices to protect our freedoms. The new laws we passed this year serve as a small token of appreciation for all they do to keep us safe.”

Cullerton served in the Army from 1990 to 1993 as an infantryman. He continues to use his military experience to implement commonsense legislation that makes resources easily accessible for Illinois’ veterans.

The DoD award was signed by Ms. Ann G. Johnston, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy, for Cullerton’s “leadership on public policy changes positively impacting the quality of life of Service members and their families residing in Illinois.”

As the Chair of the Senate’s Committee on Veterans Affairs, Cullerton passed a series of new laws that are now in effect in Illinois. For a list of the laws click here.

Cullerton urges DuPage County residents looking for military assistance or with questions or concerns regarding these new laws to call his Villa Park Office at (630) 903-6662.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program applications available for seniors, people with disabilities beginning October 1

cullerton tom2014VILLA PARK – State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is urging seniors and people with disabilities to begin the application process for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program applications on October 1 this year.

“This vital program saves lives,” Cullerton said. “Our senior citizens, those living with disabilities or families who need a little extra assistance rely on this energy assistance program to keep the heat on this winter. I urge those who qualify to take advantage of this program as soon as possible to stay warm.”

Beginning October 1, applications can be submitted and appointments can be made through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Community.

Customers must bring all required documentation when applying for assistance including:

• Proof of gross income from all household members for the 30-day income period beginning with the date of the application.
• A copy of their current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days (if they pay for their energy directly).
• A copy of their rental agreement (if they are renting) showing that utilities are included, the monthly rental amount and landlord contact information.
• Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members.
• Proof that their household received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD); or other benefits, such as Medical Eligibility or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), if receiving assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Read more: Tom Cullerton urges qualified senior to take advantage of energy assistance program

cullerton tom2014VILLA PARK – The Senate’s Veterans Affairs committee passed a series of important measures this legislative session that are now law in Illinois.

Veterans Committee Chairman Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) is proud of the bipartisan work the committee did this legislative session.

“We tackled a series of important issues this year to ensure our state meets the growing needs of our nation’s heroes,” Cullerton said. “Our service men and women put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. It’s vital that we work in a bipartisan manner to pass meaningful laws that pay tribute to their countless sacrifices.”

Cullerton served in the Army from 1990 to 1993 as an infantryman. He continues to use his military experience to champion legislation to help military veterans, personnel and their families.

The following legislation passed the Senate’s Committee on Veterans Affairs and is now law:

Senate Bill 3128: Gives the Capital Development Board and the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs authority to address the public health crisis at the Illinois Veterans Home at Quincy.

This is one of many measures Cullerton pushed to help save veteran lives by speeding up construction and repairs at the Quincy facility.

“Our U.S. servicemen and women should not live in harm’s way because of the governor’s incompetence,” Cullerton said. “It’s the state’s job to ensure Illinois’ heroes are able to live their golden years in a safe environment with the best possible care.”

Senate Bill 3192: The governor annually designates, by official proclamation, the day before Gold Star Mother's Day as Gold Star Family Day.

House Bill 4278: Requires an Illinois Veterans Home to notify facility residents and their emergency contacts within 24 hours if two or more residents in the home have been diagnosed with an infectious disease in period of one month or less.

Cullerton championed the passage of this measure in response to Gov. Rauner’s mismanagement of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks at the Quincy Veterans Home. Despite signs of the spread of bacteria reaching epidemic proportions, the governor failed to notify the public about the deadly 2015 outbreak until nearly a week later.

Read more: Tom Cullerton leads charge to protect veterans

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CONTACT SENATOR CULLERTON

Welcome to the official website of Senator Tom Cullerton. Please fill out our contact form to contact Senator Cullerton directly or you may call either of our offices. We look forward to hearing from you.

District Office
338 S. Ardmore Ave.
Villa Park, IL 60181
P: (630) 903-6662
F: (630) 903-6643

Springfield Office
122 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-9463