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Biden to visit Chicago suburb to promote vaccine mandates

Details on the president's trip to Elk Grove Village are scarce, though the White House said last month he would be visiting the area to support local vaccination efforts.

CHICAGO (CN) — President Joe Biden is expected to visit the Chicago area on Thursday, local sources said, one week after he canceled a late September Chicagoland visit at the last second.

The reason for the president's visit is reportedly the same as the cancelled Sep. 29 trip: to promote the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccine mandates.

Biden issued an executive order mandating vaccination for all federal employees on Sep. 9, about two weeks after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot mandated vaccines for all city employees. News of the mandates has been met with vocal opposition, lawsuits, and even stochastic violence from conservatives who claim vaccination violates their bodily autonomy.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a Sep. 28 press briefing that Biden chose to go to Chicago to combat this kind of vaccine backlash.

"He is going to Chicago because he wants to lift up and communicate not to just people of Chicago, but the people of the country about the effectiveness of vaccine mandates — how they can work for businesses, how they can make workplaces safer, and how they can be constructive to our economy," Psaki said.

Biden's September visit to the Chicago area was cancelled only hours after Psaki's statements so that the president could meet with House and Senate Democrats about passing two of his signature policy goals - the Build Back Better Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. With both bills still stalled on Capitol Hill, Biden's Midwest tour is back on.

As part of that Midwest tour, Biden also stopped in a union training facility in Howell, Michigan, on Tuesday. He used the opportunity to stump the Build Back Better agenda by appealing to Michigan's history as the national capital of the automotive industry.

"We’ve got to reset the [industrial] pace again. We’ve got to set a different pace. For example, here in Michigan, we need to make sure that American autoworkers lead the world in electric vehicles," Biden said.

For Thursday's trip to Illinois, the White House did not release many public details about exactly where in the greater Chicago area the president would visit, when he would arrive or if he would even make it to Chicago proper. The White House Press Office was also not available to offer comment.

However, officials with Elk Grove Village, a northwestern suburb of Chicago, confirmed that Biden is expected to make a stop in the village at some point on Thursday.

Maggie Jablonski, the village's communications director, declined to comment on the visit, except to confirm that it was occurring. An officer of the Elk Grove Police Department who declined to offer his name said the visit would take place at an industrial center, but that the exact schedule and visit itinerary was being handled by Secret Service.

Elk Grove Village is home to a large industrial center known as the Elk Grove Technology Park. It includes a data center built by Clayco, a construction company founded by millionaire Democratic donor Bob Clark. He personally donated over $269,000 to Democrats in the 2020 election cycle, and fundraised for Obama's 2012 reelection to the tune of almost $1 million.

Biden's visit to Elk Grove Village will be the first time in the town's history that it has received a sitting U.S. president.

Despite indications that the trip is meant to emphasize the importance and effectiveness of vaccine mandates, Elk Grove Village itself has not instituted any vaccine mandates for municipal employees.

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