Reporter Chris Kaergard will chop off his "budget beard" Saturday to benefit charities that have been affected by the state’s ongoing budget impasse. Last year, Kaergard vowed not to shave his facial hair until a budget deal was reached in Springfield.
Donors will have the opportunity to help Kaergard clip his beard during the event, which will take place at Menzoil Men’s Grooming Station & Barbershop in East Peoria. Kaergard is a writer for the Peoria Journal Star.
Before lawmakers passed a stopgap funding compromise last month, Kaergard told Ward Room that he was anxious to shave his facial hair.
“I absolutely cannot wait to get rid of the beard,” Kaergard said. “Never did I imagine it would measure more than nine inches of growth.”
He explained that he was originally holding out for a full budget, but with the outlook looking grim, he chose to settle for the stopgap.
“My hope had been for a full-year budget, but the climate had gotten so bad, so disheartening, that the progress we’ve seen the last few days with real negotiations and give-and-take — and at least a halt to the rancor and attacks — should be encouraged,” Kaergard said. “I think shaving the beard is a symbol of that.”
Kaergard called the stopgap “imperfect” and said he was looking for a new way “to show the continued delay on getting a full budget.”
The event will benefit charities that have been adversely affected by the stalemate in Springfield, including Center for Prevention of Abuse, Neighborhood House, Common Place and Lutheran Social Services of Illinois.