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HomeHealth CareOrland Park mayor explains why his village will not impose Preckwinkle's vaccine...

Orland Park mayor explains why his village will not impose Preckwinkle’s vaccine passport mandate



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Exclusive Interview with Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau by freelancer Natalia Dagenhart - 

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart,” said Eleanor Roosevelt. Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau uses both his head and his heart while governing his village. Orland Park is a suburban village located 25 miles southwest of Chicago in Cook County, the most populous county in the United States. In 2020, Orland Park, a village of nearly 60,000 residents, was named the safest city in Illinois. This year, Mayor Pekau makes sure that Orland Park residents keep their freedoms.

We live through unprecedented times, and it is particularly important for every leader to govern their municipality in a constitutional way and base their decisions on law, facts and data. Interestingly, Orland Park never enforced a mask mandate, and they have had lower case rates than Illinois and suburban Cook County as a whole.

What does it take to govern a village with such great success? I was lucky to conduct an online interview with Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau and am happy to introduce it to you

Natalia Dagenhart: Dear Mayor Pekau, thank you so much for your time. First of all, I would like to thank you for your service. While preparing for this interview, I found out that you are a decorated combat veteran and Air Force Instructor Weapons System Officer in the F-15E, with over 1,500 hours of flight time, including 45 combat sorties and 150 combat hours over Southern Iraq. How does your combat experience help you to perform your mayoral duties?

Mayor Keith Pankau: Having been in combat gives you perspective whenever you make decisions. Very few in life have the immediate consequences as those in combat. It also teaches you to prioritize decision making.

ND: The Cook County Department of Public Health announced that beginning January 3, 2022 customers age 5 and up will be required to show proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, gyms, and entertainment venues that serve food or drink in suburban Cook County. You pushed back against proof-of-vax requirements and called these measures unlawful. You can’t imagine how many people support you and would like their mayors to follow you and also push back. What gives you confidence that this is the only right response to these measures?

MKP: I base my responses on data and the law. This is a dictatorial decision clearly not supported by law and will likely not pass constitutional muster. Additionally, I asked for the data that supported this decision and nothing was provided. I can only assume this is because there is no data. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kp2eVuPmuJ0

ND: On Tuesday, December 28, you introduced a resolution at a special board meeting that formally opposed the vaccine mandate recently put into place by Cook County Health Department officials. Can you please give me a summary of this resolution?

See video of Village of Orland Park Special Board Meeting held December 28, 2021. The resolution passed 6 to 0.

ND: The goal posts are constantly moved, so in a few weeks those who consider themselves fully vaccinated might not be considered fully vaccinated anymore and will not be able to enter businesses without a booster. In your opinion, will these proof-of-vax requirements in Cook County be permanent or temporary, and will the definitions of fully vaccinated be changed indefinitely?

MKP. I believe they will continue to change the definition of fully vaccinated. I have no idea how long the County will leave them in place, but I do not think that people will comply for any length of time.

ND: In your opinion, will this situation create segregation of people based on their vaccination status? Is it even constitutional?

MKP. I believe the intent is to shame those that choose to remain unvaccinated and I do not believe it is constitutional.

ND: In your letter to Ms. Preckwinkle you wrote that “they’re expecting us to expend resources to enforce their mandates instead of using those resources to fight the crime perpetrated by criminals that they keep releasing back onto our streets.” Where do you think they want mayors to get resources from for implementing these measures and enforcing them?

MKP: The county and the state continually push unfunded mandates and do not care where the resources come from.

ND: In just one term as Mayor of Orland Park, you cut operating expenses by 14%, paid down over $50 million in debt, and lowered property tax rates by 28%. Also, during your tenure, crime has been reduced to the lowest levels in over 27 years and Orland Park was named the safest city in Illinois in 2020. How did you achieve that?

MKP: Common sense decision making. Setting the expectation that the government will be fiscally responsible and focusing the government on what it should do and stop doing what it shouldn’t. As for the police, we supported our police and are proactive.

ND: You instituted term limits to put an end to career politicians. You also cut salaries and eliminated lavish pension benefits to stop local elected officials from getting rich off taxpayer dollars. Having a mayor who always puts people first and does what is best for the people in his community is a great honor for the residents of Orland Park. What motivates you to keep fighting for the people from your community?

MKP: It is pretty basic. I believe in small government and I believe it is the right thing to do.

ND: As a small businessman, you know what it takes to create jobs. The local government in Orland Park is focused on doing the right thing for residents and small businesses. What particularly is being done to support small businesses, especially during these unprecedented times?

MKP: We provided sales tax incentives specifically for small businesses when they were reopened. We also allowed them to stay open and have not burdened them with mandates.

ND: What motivates you to run for Congress?

MKP: Sean Casten, Marie Newman and Nancy Pelosi support a far left radical agenda that is not good for the residents of our district or America. I want to bring common sense problem solving that I have demonstrated as mayor to Congress because I think it is what America needs.

ND: You have experience fighting for your country abroad. Now, you are fighting for Americans and for their rights on your own land. Which one is more challenging?

MKP: The current fight is more challenging. All Americans that were fighting abroad were on the same page and I knew I could count on my fellow military members to fight for our team. Currently, I have witnessed people on both sides of the aisle that are more interested in personal gain than in doing what is right and am never sure that everyone is working to achieve a common goal and solve problems.

ND: Thank you so much, Mayor Pekau! And my last question: what were you awarded a medal for?

MKP: I received a few medals in the Air Force for various reasons, but the bottom line is I did not serve to be awarded medals. I simply did my job just as everyone else in my shoes did.

ND: Thank you so much!


With such leadership, Orland Park residents can sleep calmly at night and be sure that their freedoms and the freedoms of their children are under strong protection. We need leaders like Mayor Pekau all over our state because only with this kind of leadership can we save Illinois. As John Adams said, “Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” Don’t let it happen.

Here are some highlights from the resolution opposing Cook County’s vaccine mandate that was approved during a special meeting of the Orland Park Board of Trustees on Tuesday, December 28, 2021. The Orland Park Village Board of Trustees voted 6-0 Tuesday night in favor of that resolution.

WHEREAS, on December 23, 2021 Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced that Cook County will impose a vaccine mandate as of January 3rd, 2022, barring anyone eligible for the Covid 19 vaccine who elects to remain unvaccinated from entering bars, restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, entertainment venues where food and beverages are served, in sports arenas, concert venues, bowling alleys and movie theaters, without providing any data as to why these businesses are singled out among all other businesses in which vaccine passports would be necessary;

WHEREAS, the original goal of the emergency orders was to flatten the curve and to ensure our hospital systems were not overwhelmed, and whereas, since these goals continue to be met, new and continuously unrealistic goals are being imposed unilaterally without legislative approval; and

WHEREAS, since the beginning of this pandemic rather than being engaged in the decision-making process local officials have been informed of these decisions via press conferences;


The Village President and Board of Trustees hereby call for the Illinois General Assembly to end its abdication of responsibility and reconvene to address health, safety and welfare of Illinois residents in light of Covid 19 by exercising their valid authority to legislate in those areas.

The Village President and Board of Trustees of the Village call for the General Assembly to ban mandatory vaccination passports to access businesses and other places of public assembly.

The Village President and Board of Trustees of the Village call for the General Assembly to re-examine the announced Cook County vaccination passport mandate for its legitimacy and enforceability.

The Village President and the Board of Trustees of the Village call for the General Assembly to afford adequate due process for any municipal corporation or any individual resident of the state of Illinois or any business in the state of Illinois to appeal any vaccination passport requirements.

The Village President and Board of Trustees of the Village restate that it is the policy of the Village not to take enforcement action in furtherance of the mitigation set forth in the announced action taken by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, because the provisions of the announced action violate the rights of the Village residents without being fact-based necessary mitigation.

Natalia Dagenhart is a freelancer in Chicago's western suburbs, writing on culture and society. 


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  1. Mayor Pekau has done a fantastic job of asking questions and making decisions that are based on common sense and logic. I will hate to see him leave Orland but know that he will be impactful as a Member of. Congress.