Keith Pekau: 2022 candidate for 6th Congressional District


Party: Republican

Office sought: 6th Congressional District

City: Orland Park

Age: 56

Occupation: Mayor of Orland Park

Previous offices held:


Q: What is your reaction to the results so far presented by the committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol and what should Congress do next as a result of them?

A: The committee has not presented any results to this point. They have, however, used this committee to politically grandstand during prime-time hearings.

The Constitution gives citizens the right to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. However, if this turns violent or results in destruction of property, those responsible should be prosecuted.

Q: What is America's role in foreign affairs, particularly related to two separate crises: Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Israel's conflict with the Palestinians.

A: I served in the Air Force, including 1,500 hours of flight time, 45 combat sorties, and 150 combat hours over Southern Iraq so I know what is at stake.

The United States must operate from a position of strength and we should have been stronger at the start of Russia's invasion. Every time we have weakened our position globally in the last

120 years, we have witnessed more worldwide unrest. Russia remains a formidable threat to the United States and its interests in Europe and continues to foment instability in Europe.

Historically, the three arms of foreign policy and national security are diplomacy, economic power and military power. I believe that today a fourth is energy policy. We should have been providing Europe with gas and oil so that Europe has the wherewithal to stand up to Russia, as I stated in September of 2015, in an EP Newswire article,

I spent three tours in the Middle East and like most Americans, would like to see peace and stability in the Middle East and with the Israelis and Palestinians. History makes clear that for lasting peace the Israelis and Palestinians must reach agreement. In my opinion, the U.S. has a critical role in helping facilitate this agreement.

Q: Mass shootings at schools and public gatherings are generally a uniquely American phenomenon. What should Congress do to address the problem?

A: The first thing we have to do is prioritize public safety. As Mayor, I worked WITH law enforcement to deter violent crime - unlike my opponent who works to defund law enforcement and protect criminals.

One of the most important things we can do to prevent mass shootings is to say something when we see behavior that causes us concern because 94% of the would-be attackers told someone about their plans beforehand.

Additionally, we need to ensure that the safety procedures that have been put in place are followed - entry points need to be controlled, doors that should be locked need to be locked and procedures need to be practiced.

Most importantly, we must enforce the laws that are on the books. Currently in Cook County and for all of Illinois when the SAFE T Act goes into effect, those who violate gun laws are (or will be) left to run free. Chicago and Cook County have some of the strictest gun control laws and yet the City of Chicago remains one of the most violent cities in the country.

With greater situational awareness, communication and coordination with law enforcement, we can prevent these attacks from taking place.

Q: The Supreme Court has made it clear it considers abortion a states' rights issue and has suggested it may rule similarly on same-sex marriage and other social issues. What should the response be from Congress? How do you define whether such issues should be governed by federal authority or state authority?

A: It isn't up to politicians to define what are state vs. federal rights. This is defined in the Constitution.

The Constitution maintains the sovereignty of states by enumerating very few express powers to the federal government. Those include the power to declare war, maintain armed forces, regulate commerce, coin money and establish a Post Office.

As a member of congress, I will take an oath to support and defend the Constitution. I will honor that oath just as seriously as I did when I took it in the USAF.

Q: Are you concerned about the impact of all the recent federal spending on inflation, and what is the role of Congress in managing the economy? If you favor spending cuts, where specifically would you want to see spending reduced?

A: I am very concerned about all of Sean Casten and the Democrat Party's reckless spending, particularly when we learn that Sean Casten is calling for $273 billion in 'tax credits for clean energy' without disclosing his personal investments in industry. This has led to the highest inflation since 1980 and working families are struggling to keep up.

Specifically, stop the massive bailouts that over and above the budget. Second, we need to balance the budget. We need to bring common sense to Congress and stop spending more than we bring in. We must lower taxes for hard-working Americans and get our national debt under control. We can do this without negatively impacting services by holding spending flat and

making government more efficient and less wasteful.

I did this as Mayor of Orland Park, cutting operating expenses by 14%, paying down $52 million in debt, and lowering property tax rates by 28%, while more than doubling investments in infrastructure.

This is the fiscally responsible leadership I will bring to Congress.

Q: Are you confident that elections and voting access are free and fair in America? If not, why not and what should be done?

A: These are state issues and I support states handling this with their constituents. Several states have enacted common sense safeguards, including updating and verifying voter rolls and stronger voter ID requirements. We need to make it easier for legal voters to vote and harder to cheat.

Q: Whether your party is in the majority or the minority, what is the key to being a successful congressman and what are the characteristics about you that would make you successful?

A: As Mayor of Orland Park, I work with many Democratic mayors. You may be surprised that we generally agree on the issues because the solutions to problems are usually obvious.

Why? Because we have the same goals - keep our residents safe, provide needed services, grow the economy and keep taxes low. In Washington, politicians also know the solutions to problems, but politics get in the way.

I'm running for Congress because we need good people in Congress who are there to do the right thing and solve problems by putting people over politics as I have done in Orland Park for the last 5 years.

As Mayor of Orland Park, I put an end to "government as usual" by instituting term limits, cutting salaries and eliminating pensions for politicians, and putting the focus on doing what's best for the people. That is the leadership I will bring to Congress.

I will fight to keep families safe and our neighborhoods secure, just like I have as Mayor. We've reduced crime to the lowest rate in 27 years. Orland Park was rated the safest city in Illinois in 2020 and the 8th safest small city in the United States in 2021 - despite being in Cook County.

As a USAF Instructor Weapons System Officer in the F-15E, a small business owner and the Mayor of Orland Park, I have demonstrated the common-sense leadership we need in Washington.

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