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House expunges Kifowit’s remarks

Thursday, Nov 29, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here. The House Democrats filed their own motion to expunge only after the House Republicans filed one of their own. Here’s the AP

The Illinois House took the rare step Wednesday of erasing from its record a Democratic legislator’s remark suggesting she’d like to infect the water supply of a GOP colleague’s loved ones with “a broth of Legionella.”

* Sun-Times

Soon after Kifowit read her apology, Breen addressed the controversy, while also urging legislators to act with more “civility” and “decency.”

“Earlier this year, I received a death threat that prompted police protection for my home and family. And my family and I endured a vile, filthy election campaign with $2.5 million spent to falsely connect me to rapists and child molesters. And yesterday, we all listened as a member of this House leveled a heinous death wish on my family.”

Breen said his wife and two adopted sons — ages 2 and 2-months are “the joy of our lives.”

“We know that if the representative had made that statement to me in the parking lot outside or left it on my office phone voicemail, she’d be in custody right now,” Breen said. “But because she made her remarks right here, they were met with applause, instead of handcuffs.”

* Tribune

“This body, this state, is at a tipping point,” Breen said. “We are faced with two paths. We can continue on our current path of worsening threats, and even violence. Or we can make the difficult decision to take the path up, to civility and decency.”

* Daily Herald

“There certainly needs to be accountability for the conduct we saw yesterday. Otherwise this sort of despicable behavior will become the new standard of what we allow in this chamber. And it will set the bar for acceptable conduct very low for the people of our state,” Breen said.

“In my four years here, I’ve watched this General Assembly avoid the tough decisions needed to divert our state’s government from the path to fiscal ruin. Now, I wonder whether this General Assembly will have the character to divert our state’s politics from the path of moral and ethical ruin.”

* Illinois News Network

Republican state Rep. David Harris, who previously served as the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard, said Kifowit’s initial comments were inappropriate.

“Sometimes when people get in the heat of a debate they get a little too carried away,” said Harris, R-Arlington Heights. “That doesn’t mean that a resignation is in order.”

Harris said the fact that Kifowit apologized “shows a graciousness on her part.” […]

Kifowit said she wouldn’t resign. Rather, she suggested Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav Shah should resign.

“The person who should resign is director Shah,” Kifowit said.

Kifowit said Shah was responsible for the veteran’s deaths. Shah did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


  1. - Perrid - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 10:02 am:

    “We know that if the representative had made that statement to me in the parking lot outside or left it on my office phone voicemail, she’d be in custody right now”

    I don’t. I don’t know that at all.

  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 10:11 am:

    Rep. Harris, the voice of common sense and reason.

    Rep. Breen, chewing the scenery for every last second of his unexpected turn in the spotlight on his way off stage.

    If he’s sincere, he could make a living calling out those in politics who make intemperate remarks. Guess who he can start with, who will keep him busy on a daily basis?

  3. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 10:16 am:

    Mr. Breen is deciding that if the remarks were “outside” his colleague “could” be locked up, but “lucky” for her, it was on the Floor of the House?

    Mr. Breen could be gracious when the inexcusable statement by Ms. Kifowit have been rebuked and she’s apologized. Breen chose to parse the location of words, not the meaning of an apology.

    Forgiveness for transgressions… “by location only”.

    Kifowit was wrong, there’s no quibbling.

    I guess we learn more when we are wrong, and when we are wronged by others?

  4. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 10:19 am:

    This should not have been expunged, it’s said on the record, you have to own it. It was a weird symbolic gesture that I’m not quite sure what the point of it was.

  5. - Ill Annoyed - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 10:22 am:

    Anyone remember the other part of Breen’s remarks where he absolutely 100% correctly pointed out that he was falsely and sickeningly smeared as a supporter/defender/enabler of sexual predators and rapists by the Democrats during the campaign? Is the commentariat here ok with those tactics and the actual words that the Dems use in their campaigns against GOP candidate?

  6. - Gooner - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 10:23 am:

    Falsely connect?
    No, that’s not right.
    Those connections are pretty well established.
    If you are going to take money from people who supported Moore, the voters should hear about it.

  7. - Louis G Atsaves - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 10:23 am:

    @wordslinger, Breen had no right to voice complaints over her words and conduct on the floor? And later claiming she was misunderstood, misheard and the criticisms over her actual words were lies? Just shut up and take it silently?

    You need to rethink your position.

  8. - City Zen - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 10:25 am:

    Can the internet be expunged?

  9. - WhoKnew - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 10:33 am:

    While we’re at it, let’s unring the bell in 3, 2, 1…

  10. - Anon221 - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 10:35 am:

    Shah will be replaced. Pritzker will not be keeping him on, I’m sure. Kifowit did not need to include that in the conversation. Shah will be most likely be subpoenaed in the various lawsuits, too. Breen should have been gracious and moved on. No one is winning here, and the focus should continue to be on those who died and the families who were affected.

  11. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 10:41 am:

    I’m sure other foul sounds on the house floor are expunged. Burps, etc. Is anyone losing sleep over this? Try a glass of warm milk.

  12. - Norseman - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 10:54 am:

    Word +1.

    According to the reporting, Breen understandably reacted heatedly right after the remarks were made. I don’t fault him for that. However, his out-of-bounds handcuffs remarks were made after an apology.

    Let’s hope folks learn from the incident, but I won’t hold my breath.

  13. - Amalia - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 10:59 am:

    next time, choose your words a bit more carefully. the anger is righteous. the words were off.

  14. - Buck'n'Irish - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 11:00 am:

    Peter Breen represents groups that call their opponents baby killers, civility is a two way street.

    “We know that if the representative had made that statement to me in the parking lot outside or left it on my office phone voicemail, she’d be in custody right now,”

    You are incorrect sir.

  15. - wondering - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 11:03 am:

    “Kif” O’ Wit….how very ironic….for fun, google “kif”.

  16. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 11:14 am:

    Expunging the record is a mistake. It’s erasing history. Will they expunge her apology?

  17. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 11:16 am:

    –@wordslinger, Breen had no right to voice complaints over her words and conduct on the floor?–

    How’d you build that Strawman, Louis? Point out anything I posted today or yesterday that would support that conclusion.

    Get some game, dude. Putting words in the mouths of others is just sad and weak.

  18. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 11:22 am:

    Breen’s remarks show a cold and callous struggle for cheap political points rather than an elder statesman calling for civility. I don’t think anyone is fooled by that joker.

    Forget the vets, Breen feels some sick need to make this about him.

    Kifowit making uncalled for remarks does not suddenly make Breen credible, despite how much he may wish for it. What a circus.

  19. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 11:33 am:

    ==Expunging the record is a mistake. It’s erasing history.==

    No. History is never erased. Words are forgotten, people die, buildings crumble, civilizations are lost, but history is always there.

  20. - Ryan - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 11:36 am:

    More disingenuous words from a Trump supporter. You can’t have it both ways, Breen.

  21. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 11:39 am:

    ===Madigan bought the seat and installed her.===

    … except for those pesky elections and voters, you’re spot on… ugh.

  22. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 11:55 am:

    Anon 11:46
    1. Removed from the official transcript of proceedings.
    2. Rare but not unheard of, it happened with Rep. Jack Franks several years ago. “Who decides?” It is proposed and voted on by the legislators, just lke any other bill or resolution. For the record, the expungement got a unanimous, bipartisan vote.

  23. - A guy - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 11:55 am:

    She made some history yesterday. And today it’s honored by expunging it as best they can. Except for a few people here, it won’t work. Won’t even work for those few here.

    People threaten your family with a call, and a colleague wishes them dead…

    That’s what you’re defending. Carry on.

  24. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 12:00 pm:

    ===And today it’s honored by expunging it as best they can.===

    Who honored it?

    ===Except for a few people here, it won’t work. Won’t even work for those few here.===

    Yeah, I’ll forget, “half” of me is laughing.

    It will haunt her for all-time.

    ===That’s what you’re defending. Carry on.===

    Who is defending what?

    She was unequivocally wrong. She then apologized after hemming and hawing a bit.

    I don’t think this stain will wash out.

  25. - Wondering Wendy - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 12:43 pm:

    If this were reversed and a Republican said this the other side would be all over it. It was totally inappropriate and somehow there needs to be a change…………

  26. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 1:16 pm:

    If this were reversed and a Republican said this the other side would be all over it.

    People aren’t all over it now?

  27. - A guy - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 1:56 pm:

    ==She then apologized after hemming and hawing a bit.==

    A full day later after being literally told to get out there and do it. She shamed her caucus.

    If you’ve read some of these comments W, you’ll see who I am referring to. She is being defended here.

    And…I’m not a racist sir. Farthest thing from it. That came up in your comments yesterday.

  28. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 2:23 pm:

    ===And…I’m not a racist sir. Farthest thing from it. That came up in your comments yesterday.===

    Sir, I asked as a line to draw.

    ===- Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Nov 28, 18 @ 10:50 am:

    ===Who did Linda wish dead?
    My institutional knowledge remembers “halfie”. Bad enough to be sure, but not “death”.===

    Racist remarks are fine… but… wish death…

    When you complete that matrix of what can be said, you show that list.

    “You can speak with racist tones, sure, but…”

    My feeling is this;

    It’s inexcusably wrong.

    The partisan responses from Schneider, Wehrli, those whose words must include “party”… how upset are you? Are you looking to political posturing or really upset at the language?===

    I asked, specifically, and pointedly, those racist remarks versus the remarks of Kifowit.

    If we are going to measure “what is language for what”, I was wondering aloud what is that matrix, sir.

    It was not directed towards you, or making a decision on your views, and I never felt you are, were, or ever a racist. Never.

    If you’re saying these remarks are the line, then how are others not part of that line too?

  29. - Tony Anon - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 2:23 pm:

    I bet Prizker has a hard time filling the Public Health director position with anyone competent based on how hard the media and GA Dems have come down on Shah for this. Its a good bet there are going to be other instances of Legionella at state facilities in the near term just based on the age of the buildings and poor maintenance over the last 30 years and the next Director of Public Health goes right under the bus.

  30. - NeverPoliticallyCorrect - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 2:59 pm:

    Sorry, but history is erased. Time erases most of history but stunts like this speed the process up. If you expunge it, it was never there. She did the right thing in apologizing, eventually but the record should remain as a caution to others.

  31. - Soccermom - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 4:37 pm:

    Here’s a bit of history, by the way.

    In the U.S. Senate, Charles Sumner said a bunch of really nasty things about two of his colleagues, Douglas and Butler. Some people were horrified that Sumner said such terrible things — and one of Butler’s cousins actually came into the Senate chamber and beat Sumner with a silver-headed cane.

    So here’s the question: What was worse — Sumner’s obviously intemperate and insulting remarks, or the issue that he got so upset about?

  32. - plainfield liberal - Thursday, Nov 29, 18 @ 9:55 pm:

    Think I’ll wipe her off my resume just to be safe.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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