Mayor Keith Pekau Statement on the 2021 Orland Park Mayoral Election

The people of Orland Park deserve to have a choice in candidates for all elected positions and in that vein, I welcome Dan McLaughlin to the mayoral race. 

Voters will have a clear choice in this campaign between Dan McLaughlin and me. First and foremost, I am not a career politician and am serving in my first term ever in elective office. On the other hand, Mr. McLaughlin has held public office for 32 years and also ran unsuccessfully for Illinois State Treasurer. I led the charge to put term limits on the ballot (one of my campaign promises), and the voters of Orland Park overwhelmingly approved this good government measure 88% to 11%. 

I look forward to debating my politician opponent on many issues, beginning with fiscal responsibility. During his time as mayor, Mr. McLaughlin raised his pay by 275% and increased his taxpayer-funded pension by $2.1 million, while our village’s debt exploded from $12 million in 1998 to $111 million in 2016. During my brief time as mayor, we’ve returned the mayor’s salary back to what it was before the McLaughlin pay hike and prohibited all elected officials in the Village of Orland Park from receiving a pension.

I’d also be happy to debate public safety. Orland Park is rated one of the safest towns in America, and our crime rate is at a 26-year low and has declined every year since I was elected.

I also look forward to debating Mr. McLaughlin on the condition of our village infrastructure. Under Mr. McLaughlin’s watch, only one park was refurbished every two years, upkeep on our major parks was neglected, and our roads were allowed to deteriorate to a point where 40% of them were in poor condition. Over the last two years, we increased our road resurfacing from just 9 of our 249 road regions to 32, made major improvements to 7 neighborhood parks & the John Humphrey Complex, resurfaced 8 tennis and 10 basketball courts, and installed 7 pavilions. 

When it comes to economic development, growth had stagnated during Mr. McLaughlin’s decades long tenure, and we had a Triangle Project that had been ongoing for 16 years and lost millions. To my surprise, in my first ever meeting as mayor, I was briefed on another $23 million land and golf course purchase that the village was about to complete, which I put a stop to. Since then, I’ve worked to drive economic development including Von Maur, Pete’s Fresh Market, Caputo’s, Duluth Trading Company, REI, Stan’s Donuts, and Moran’s family of brands.  These businesses create good-paying jobs, grow revenue for the village in place of increased taxes and fees, and provide opportunities for our families looking for activities right here in our vibrant community. 

The people of Orland Park have a clear choice. Do we go back to the failures and political games of the past or do we continue to work cooperatively to move Orland Park forward? Do we go back to career politicians and their allies getting rich off our tax dollars or do we focus on doing the right thing for our residents and small businesses?

I look forward to a fact-based, issues-oriented campaign that puts people over politics.