|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Illinois's 13th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2023
|Preceded by||Rodney Davis|
|Born||March 11, 1977|
Peoria, Illinois, U.S.
|Education||University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (BA)|
Nicole Jai Budzinski (born March 11, 1977) is an American politician. She has served as the U.S. representative for Illinois's 13th congressional district since 2023, as a member of the Democratic Party.
Budzinski worked for most of her career for trade unions. In 2021, Budzinski served as chief of staff to the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Biden administration.
Budzinski was born in Peoria, Illinois. Her grandparents were both union members: Leonard Budzinski, her grandfather, as a painter employed by the Peoria School District, and her grandmother as a teacher in the same district.
Budzinski graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and interned for U.S. Representative Dick Gephardt, U.S. Senator Paul Simon, and Planned Parenthood.
Budzinski started her career at the Laborers International Union of North America and the International Association of Fire Fighters before spending seven years with the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) unions. She worked for the UFCW as national political director in Washington, D.C.
During the 2018 Illinois gubernatorial election, Budzinski led J. B. Pritzker's exploratory committee and was later a senior advisor to his campaign, focusing on political strategy, messaging and outreach. After Pritzker won, she was named transition director.
When Pritzker became governor on January 14, 2019, Budzinski was appointed senior advisor. She simultaneously chaired the Broadband Advisory Council (BAC), a state agency "charged with ... expand[ing] broadband access, adoption, and utilization" in Illinois. Budzinski resigned as senior advisor to the governor in March 2020. She worked with John Podesta to advise the National Climate Jobs Resource Center and was Executive Director for Climate Jobs Illinois.
In February 2021, Budzinski, recommended for the post by Podesta, was appointed chief of staff of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). During her tenure as chief of staff, she helped set up the OMB's Made in America division. On July 16, 2021, Budzinski resigned to return to Illinois, saying she "felt it was a good time to come back [to Illinois] ... after getting things off the ground here".
On August 24, 2021, Budzinski announced her bid for the Democratic nomination for Illinois's 13th congressional district. The district had been significantly redrawn to favor Democrats; it now included the core of Metro-East. She won the primary in June 2022 against David Palmer and the general election in November against the Republican nominee, Regan Deering.
For the 118th Congress: