‘Cannot Wait’: Reporter Plans to Cut Beard if Lawmakers Pass Stopgap Funding

"I absolutely cannot wait to get rid of the beard,” Kaergard told Ward Room.


The reporter who vowed not to shave his beard until a budget deal is reached in Springfield has decided to chop off the facial hair if lawmakers approve a stopgap funding compromise Thursday.

Chris Kaergard, who covers politics for the Peoria Journal Star, started growing his beard after lawmakers failed to reach a budget deal before the end of the spring legislative session last May. As the state's budget impasse stretches into its second year Friday, he is understandably antsy for a makeover.

"I absolutely cannot wait to get rid of the beard,” Kaergard told Ward Room Wednesday. "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.”

Lawmakers in Springfield are considering a stopgap budget compromise Thursday that would ensure schools open in the fall and essential services continue through the end of the year.

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