(CBS) – The battle continues over the care of Illinois veterans – a fight that pits Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel against Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Rauner prepared to spend his third night at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, with first lady Diana scheduled to join him.
Since 2015, 13 residents at the state-run home have died from Legionnaires disease.
“I think the governor, like all of us, wanted to make sure he understood what’s going on at the home,” Illinois state health director Nirav D. Shah says.
But while the governor’s in downstate Quincy, Emanuel ripped the Republican for stopping construction on a Chicago veterans home on the Northwest Side. It delayed two years ago amid the state budget crisis.
“Bring your sleeping bag and you can go stay up there and hopefully he’ll realize why that project should be finished, and the 75 veterans should be sleeping there in a warm facility,” Emanuel, a Democrat, said Friday.
State government officials say construction has resumed, with completion slated for next year.
Another Democrat, meanwhile, praised Rauner for his attention toward the veterans home.
“I think the fact the governor has now visited and is now staying overnight at the Quincy veterans home shows that it is high on his priority list,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said.
A federal report issued Friday said the state’s taken major steps toward improvement, but there is no guarantee Legionnaires can’t be wiped out.
Several candidates for governor, including Democrats J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy and Republican Jeanne Ives, have all accused Rauner of management failures at the Quincy home.
Rauner says he is staying until the middle of next week.