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Illinois reporter shaves ‘budget beard’ grown during impasse

Reporter Chris Kaergard of Peoria's Journal Star newspaper gets his "budget beard" shaved on Saturday. | Journal Star

PEORIA — Political reporter Chris Kaergard of the Journal Star in Peoria has finally had his beard shaved after more than 13 months of growing the bushy facial hair to bring attention to the state’s budget impasse.

Kaergard promised not to shave until Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-dominated Legislature reached a deal.

After an entire fiscal year without a budget, Rauner signed into law last week a stopgap spending plan to keep state government operating for six months. It was enough of a compromise for Kaergard to go under a barber’s blade.

On Saturday, friends, colleagues and residents helped clip chunks of his beard with a pair of scissors in spectacle livestreamed on Facebook to raise money for social service organizations hurt by the budget impasse.

Chris Kaergard after losing his “budget beard.” | Journal Star
Chris Kaergard after losing his “budget beard.” | Journal Star