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Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau Honors, Praises Democrat Marie Newman Who Pushed for Vaccinating Children During Village Board Meeting



By Illinois Review

During the January 16, 2023 Orland Park Village Board Meeting, Republican Mayor Keith Pekau had a special VIP guest in the room – La Grange resident and former Democratic US Rep. Marie Newman, who was in town to receive the Orland Park Community Appreciation Award.

“Congresswoman Newman and I disagree on a lot of things, we certainly disagree on the debt and all that over the last couple of years…”

But Pekau goes on to praise Newman for her assistance in securing $7 million in federal funding for the 143rd expansion project – a project to expand 143rd Street and widen it to five lanes.

“I’m grateful and thankful for former Congresswoman Newman’s help and support, as well as her personal call to inform me of the grant.”

During the pandemic, Newman and her husband Jim Newman owned shares in Moderna – the manufacturer of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. The shares also created the potential for conflicts of interests and accusations of profiting off the pandemic.

And so it is no surprise that Newman was supportive of vaccinating children during the pandemic, writing in a Facebook post,

“The COVID-19 vaccine is now authorized for kids ages 5-11 in addition to everyone 12+. Vaccines are widely available across Illinois. Get vaccinated.”

Newman also secured $70 million in federal funding to boost the COVID-19 vaccine program in her district, issuing a statement at the time that read,

“I’m beyond thrilled to see these funds going directly to community health centers serving Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District and I know that each of my constituents will be as well. I could not be prouder to have voted for this landmark legislation. We will continue to build on this progress from here and ensure that every American has access to receiving their vaccine when it’s their time.”

President Joe Biden, D, and US Rep. Marie Newman, D, proudly wearing their face masks. (Marie Newman/Facebook)

In 2022, Newman also accepted campaign contributions from the American Federation of Teachers – one of her largest campaign contributors – and during the pandemic, the AFT issued a statement advocating for workplace vaccination policies, stating,

“As educators, healthcare professionals and public employees, we play an important role in our communities, and the overwhelming majority of us are vaccinated. We will continue to advocate for masking, testing, and accurate science-based information about vaccinations to combat the rampant disinformation that’s literally killing American people. Vaccines work. Vaccines are safe. And vaccines save lives.”

US Rep. Marie Newman, D, installing a transgender pride flag in front of her congressional office in Washington, DC on Feb. 24, 2021. (RepMarieNewman/Twitter)

In 2021, Newman, whose daughter Evie is transgender, had a transgender pride flag installed in front of her office, in an apparent dig at her congressional neighbor and conservative colleague, US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, tweeting,

“Our neighbor, @RepMTG, tried to block the Equality Act because she believes prohibiting discrimination against trans Americans is ‘disgusting, immoral, and evil.’ Thought we’d put up our Transgender flag so she can look at it every time she opens her door.”

And while Pekau may disagree with Newman on the debt, as he stated in his opening speech during the Village Board Meeting, Illinois grassroots Republicans will certainly disagree with Newman on a whole lot more than just the debt – including advocating for the masking of and vaccination of adults and children; profiting during the pandemic; and her attacks on conservatives for opposing transgender rights.

But at least Pekau and Newman could set aside time last month and praise each other. In a Facebook post, Newman thanked Pekau for the award, writing,

“Thank you to the Orland Park trustees, Mayor Keith Pekau & village staff for collaborating with my former team and I to bring $7 million to the 143rd expansion project. It was an honor to receive the Community Appreciation Award!”

Perhaps next time Newman can return the favor.


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  1. I don’t care for this article because the writer seems to be taking quite a leap connecting Keith Pekau to the policies of Marie Newman. The only thing he did was thank her for helping get federal dollars to upgrade 143rd Street. Keith was simply being polite which in this day and time is quite refreshing and welcome. I don’t know what bad blood there still is from last years’ primary election between the Republican candidates, but these articles about Keith Pekau seem to be very self-serving for one of Pekau’s former primary rivals. Bloody up a potential opponent in a 2024 GOP Primary….that’s fair game if the person in question has promoted liberal or socialist policies. Pekau simply saying thank you to a former U.S. Representative, even if she’s the worst of the worst with a D next to their name, is not a violation of the core principles conservatives have. If you’re going to write about Keith Pekau, please have more substance!

    In case anyone forgot, the results of the 2022 GOP Primary for IL-6 were the following: #1 Pekau 38.5%, #2 Grasso 27.2%, #3 Conforti 11.5%, #4 O’Shea 10.5%, #5 Kaspar 6.9%, #6 Cruz 5.8%

    • right on! – The Illinois Review would rather attack good Republicans then uniting us behind winning elections against Democrats. Also, mayors are supposed to be non-partisan. Nothing wrong with what Mayor Pekau did.