Illinois’ 13th Congressional District is a newly open seat that offers a prime flip opportunity for Democrats. Under the newly reconfigured district lines, Democrats would have won every House, Senate, gubernatorial, and the presidential race in this district since 2016, and the district has moved from a Trump +3 to a Biden +11. The district is D+3 and rated Lean Dem.
Nikki Budzinski has spent her life fighting for workers and working families. She believes in the American Dream and wants to bring people together to level the playing field and rebuild the middle class so families have a shot at getting ahead. Budzinski won her primary handily, gaining more than 75% of the Democratic vote.
Her opponent is Regan Deering, who won the Republican Party primary by a very slim margin. She was the most extreme of the candidates running – refusing to say whether the 2020 election was free and fair. She is decidedly pro-life as well, calling for the reinstatement of the Hyde Amendment and the end to abortions with limited exceptions.
Born in Peoria, Budzinski learned the importance of family, community, and service to others from her parents. From her grandfather, a union painter, she saw how unions have built and sustained the middle class. From her grandmother, a public school teacher, she learned the value of a good education. Budzinski attended the University of Illinois Champaign and was inspired to devote her life to public service after interning for former Congressman Dick Gephardt, former Senator Paul Simon, and Planned Parenthood.
After college, Budzinski traveled the country fighting to get hardworking people the pay and workplace safety conditions they deserve. She worked for the IAFF Firefighters’ union where she helped look out for our first responders who put their lives on the line every day, making sure they have the equipment, training, and health protections they need. Then she stood with UFCW workers, making sure grocery workers and meatpackers got a fair day’s pay and workplace protections at dangerous processing plants. She also fought to protect workers’ rights to collectively bargain for fair pay, safety protections, and benefits in states trying to attack those rights.
As Governor JB Pritzker’s senior advisor on labor issues, Budzinski successfully led the charge to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. By bringing workers, small businesses, and elected officials to the negotiating table, Budzinski worked to make sure that all working families across Illinois can maintain a decent standard of living. Also in the governor’s office, Budzinski served as the chair of the Broadband Advisory Council that expanded high-speed broadband internet across Illinois.
Budzinski says she is 100% pro-choice. She believes that a woman’s reproductive health care decisions should be made between a woman and her doctor, without the interference of the federal government or anyone else.
Budzinski believes that from the water we drink to the air we breathe and the parks we enjoy, preserving and protecting our environment are among our most essential tasks to ensure a high-quality, healthy life—for ourselves, our children, and future generations. In Congress, she intends to protect public lands from oil drilling and environmental degradation and parks and open spaces from overdevelopment and contamination, invest in solar, onshore and offshore wind, and other forms of renewable energy to quickly transition the country away from fossil fuels.
In Congress, Budzinski wants to take a holistic approach to the issue of gun violence by making sure there are consequences for people who break the law, while also working to fund early childhood education, as well as street intervention and violence interruption programs. She supports the Second Amendment but believes there are commonsense measures that would provide additional safety in our communities like closing the gun show loophole and working to ensure that law enforcement officers have adequate funding for more training and recruitment.