SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A state senator learned his nephew had been killed in Iraq (news - web sites) as the Illinois Senate debated death benefits for military personnel during Saturday's special budget session.
Republican Sen. Dave Sullivan was listening to the discussion on the Senate floor when he was told his 22-year-old nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Vincent Sullivan, was killed Friday while serving his second tour of duty in Iraq, according to Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson.
"Suddenly and tragically, the legislation we were discussing about military benefits became starkly personal for one of our colleagues," said Watson, a Republican.
The Senate approved the legislation, which extends the state's traditional military death benefits to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (news - web sites), then observed a moment of silence for Sullivan and his family. The senator stayed through Saturday's session, helping the Senate approve a long-delayed state budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.
Vincent Sullivan was the son of the senator's brother, Michael Sullivan.