* I told you earlier today that I’d post any positive news about Sen. Mark Kirk that came my way.
Well, the Champaign News-Gazette has endorsed Sen. Kirk’s reelection bid…
Six years ago, then-U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, a Republican from the Chicago suburbs, won what some considered an upset victory, defeating Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in a race for the U.S. Senate.
In 2016, now-Sen. Kirk is running uphill again, considered to be the underdog in his campaign for re-election against a strong Democratic challenger, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth. Political handicappers have identified Kirk as the most vulnerable of Senate Republicans seeking re-election, mostly because Illinois is a solid Democratic state.
But Kirk has beaten long odds before. First, in his run for the U.S. House of Representative to succeed his boss, retiring U.S. Rep. John Porter, and later, in his 2000 Senate race, he demonstrated strong appeal to Democrats, Republicans and independents.
It’s our hope he’ll do so again this year. The News-Gazette is endorsing Kirk because of his solid academic background, vast experience, political independence and sound judgment. Duckworth offers a reasonable alternative to the Republican incumbent, but lacks the qualities that have made him an exemplary public official.
* And Fox News picked up on this Kirk crusade…
An Illinois Veterans Affairs hospital already under fire for excessive wait times, festering black mold and kitchen cockroaches faces a new shame – the bodies of dead patients left unclaimed in the morgue for up to two months without proper burial, whistleblower documents allege.
The whistleblower, whose identity is not being revealed for fear of retaliation, complained last month to the VA’s inspector general about the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital’s handling of veterans’ remains in cases where families have not come forward to claim the body. The complaint singled out Christopher Wirtjes, chief of Patient Administrative Services, saying “The Chief of PAS has the funds available, yet has no sense of urgency to lay the veteran to rest.”
Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., whose office also received the complaint along with emails, is now calling for Wirtjes’ firing and in a statement, slammed the hospital – located in the Western suburbs of Chicago — over its recent history of controversies.
“Hines VA — the hospital that has been overrun with cockroaches and mold and left vets waiting for care for months on secret wait lists, has reached a new low in the treatment of our veterans,” Kirk told FoxNews.com. “We now have reports of bodies being left to decompose in the morgue for months on end.”
The whistleblower, who has spoken with Kirk’s office, described a “horrible issue” at the hospital in the letter to the IG: “Some veteran’s remains have been left in our hospital morgue for 45 days or more until they are stacked to capacity at times.”