Illinois has plenty of other dysfunctional nursing homes Governor Rauner should visit

By Ryan Smith

I took notice of your week-long stay at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy. You could’ve just done the easy thing and popped by for a quick photo op while promising to fix the nursing home facility where bacteria-contaminated water caused three outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease over as many years—killing 13 and leaving dozens of elderly veterans critically ill. Instead you showered, slept, and ate there (how was the meatloaf?). You pledged to replace the pipes and do other upgrades to the nursing home’s infrastructure.

That’s great, Bruce. Is it OK if I call you Bruce?

Some of your political opponents have called your unusual decision to lodge in Quincy “a cynical and transparent publicity stunt.” They note the conspicuous timing, following a WBEZ report about the crisis. Plus, you’re deep in campaign mode—locked in a billionaire-versus-billionaire battle against J.B. Pritzker. But I refuse to believe that you camped out at the vet facility just because of the potential political fallout. Sure, you didn’t want to be the next Rick Snyder, the Michigan governor haunted by the drinking water crisis in Flint (where deadly outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease have also killed at least a dozen over the last few years). But you were genuinely concerned with some ailing vets, I bet.

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