Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau encourages dialogue between residents and elected officials. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau encourages dialogue between residents and elected officials. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Pekau encourages discussions between residents and officials

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By Jeff Vorva

Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau was philosophical about local and national politics.

During the Dec. 4 village board meeting, he relayed a story about some events he recently attended and how he got to know some high-profile politicians in a more relaxed setting, and he encouraged residents of Orland Park to do the same when it comes to local issues.

“Some of you may disagree with my political positions, but I was able to go to events which most people don’t get to go to,” he said. “I got to see leaders in environments that you don’t see when you watch CNN or Fox News or MSNBC. Or a rally, when they are trying to get everyone excited.

“But what’s interesting to see is when you can actually sit down at a lunch with them and have a discussion. Or a lunch with 30, 40, 50 people or even 100 to be with, whether you like him or not, is a leader of our country.”

The mayor said he has been to events with Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor running for president, and Kevin McCarthy, the former speaker of the U.S. House.

Those are a couple of men with strong Republican views that rub people the wrong way. Pekau said it was an interesting experience hearing them when they weren’t campaigning or in front of the cameras.

“They answered questions for 45 minutes to an hour and it wasn’t a stump speech, and it wasn’t something prepared. It was just questions that people were asking them.

“And you really get the opportunity to sit there and just listen to the answers to the questions. They answered them well. You could really tell if someone is knowledgeable about the issue and if they speak intelligently about the issue. Whether you agree or disagree with them, if you have a reasonable discussion with them…it’s a very fortunate opportunity to see that.”

Pekau equated those events with some that he already has been hosting. He occasionally hosts the Breakfast with the Mayor – and other events at various times in the day – in which citizens can speak with him in a more relaxed setting.

“Residents will ask questions and I will sit for hours answering all the questions you have about the village,” Pekau said. “Sometimes they will stump me with something I don’t know, but I always get back to them.

“You can get a very good feel and can ask questions about what’s going on with the village and it’s good when people are going there for knowledge rather than to try to trip people up or attack them. That’s not the way to have discussions.”

Pekau said that in past sessions, people disagreed with him but were willing to discuss it.

He added that if people had good discussions, they may agree more than disagree with those in office.

“It you understand why do you something and if you understand the issues and why you make the choices that you do, you can tell if someone you elected or you are potentially going to vote for is thinking through those issues,” he said.

“If you have the opportunity to do that with candidates or elected officials, take that opportunity.”

3 Comments

  1. Ken Duffy on December 8, 2023 at 12:06 pm

    Nice to see an article about the mayor that doesn’t have a negative spin. This is a good mayor and I hope we can keep him for years to come.



  2. Joseph A Murzanski on December 9, 2023 at 10:38 am

    I’m an American. I believe in law and order, the Constitution as written and capitalism. That is what made America great. I cannot understand why Democrats have embraced Socialism and open borders. I’m 79 and a veteran. I never thought I would see my nation so divided. Mayor Pekau does embrace Americas’ core values. Big city mayors could learn a lesson! Protect constituents!



  3. Matt Nowakowski on December 9, 2023 at 9:39 pm

    When citizens attend board meetings to create discourse, Keith either yells at them, rudely dismisses them, or doesn’t attend. Are we supposed to be impressed that he attended events with DeSantis and McCarthy? Based on his last two failed elections, he fits right in with them.



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