PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — From the Sheriff’s Office to State Representative, Dennis Tipsword is looking to represent you in the Statehouse.
Tipsword is the Chief Deputy Sheriff of the Woodford County Sheriff’s Office, he announced his candidacy on WMBD’s Matt Sheehan’s On the Record segment Friday morning.
Tipsword is running as a Republican in the newly-drawn 105th District.
With a 27 year career in law enforcement and 8 years as the Chief Deputy, Tipsword is hoping to use his voice to fight the SAFE-T Act passed last January by Gov. Pritzker (D-IL).
“That crime bill was introduced in the middle of the night, over 700 pages and about 45 minutes of discussion, then it was passed,” Tipsword said.
Tipsword said the bill has been the “singular worst piece of legislation for law enforcement, at least in my 27-year career.”
“It’s really set us back with all the unfunded mandates that are in it, the catch-and-release policy that’s going to become law,” Tipsword said. “Luckily, qualified immunity was taken out, for now. It’s still a topic. There are some left-wing activists, so to speak, wanting to get that back on the table.”
Tipsword said that would be the “death knell for law enforcement” if qualified immunity is taken away from officers.
“My command position in dealing with these unchartered waters over the past year has given me a good background for going to Springfield and advocating for our law enforcement,” Tipsword said.
Tipsword’s opinion would echo other local Republican lawmakers who are looking to repeal the SAFE-T Act.
Other than being the Chief Deputy in Woodford County, Tipsword is also a small business owner.
“I understand the pitfalls of owning a small business here in Illinois,” Tipsword said. “Our small business owners have been battered. We’re the first or second-highest taxed State in the nation here in Illinois. We trade that back and forth with New Jersey. That’s a list we don’t want to be at the top of. We have to work on our regulations, our red-tape for our small business owners.”
Tipsword called the regulations “ever-changing” and it makes small business owners have to constantly adapt.
“I’d like to get out of small business owners’ way, let them run their business. They’re the folks that know how to run their business,” Tipsword said.”
The law enforcement veteran said he met with a salon owner this week where she told him how she made it through COVID.
“Her business was shut down for nearly a year. Luckily for her, she had a nest egg or a rainy day fund. But let’s face it, it was her retirement. She had to dip into that just to pay the bills for that year, while she wasn’t earning any money. That’s something I want to be part of the discussion on,” Tipsword said.
“We can’t hijack their business from them based on a Governor’s order,” he added.
Tipsword said the salon owner had to decide if she was going to “go broke, not knowing when I’m going to open. Or do I break the Governor’s rule and go back to work quietly?”
Tipsword said that’s something business owners should have to do.
“She’s a hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying citizen who’s deciding if she’s going to break the law to save her business,” Tipsword said.
Dennis Tipsword is born-and-raised in Woodford County. He and his wife live in rural Metamora and have been married for 27 years. They have three adult children and three grandchildren.
“I’m old enough that I’ve got some very good experience and life lessons that I can bring, but I’m young enough to fight. This is going to be a fight,” Tipsword said. “Who better to go to Springfield and advocate for law enforcement on the House floor, than a 27-year police officer? Who better to go to Springfield and advocate for small business than a life-long small business owner? That’s what I am, that’s who I am. That’s why I’m stepping up to this plate. I can’t hope that someone else will come along and fix things, I can’t wish things will be better, I’m ready to go do this and fight this fight.”
Other than the criminal justice reform bill and small business regulations, Tipsword said: “government overreach” is another reason he decided to run for office.
“I have the tools to go do this. I have the knowledge and experience and I’m ready for this challenge,” Tipsword said. “I had a conversation with my wife, and she supported me 100%. We had a conference call with our kids, they all supported me 100%.”
Tipsword joins a crowded GOP primary race. Other candidates are Kyle Ham, Don Rients, Mike Kirkton, and Karen Donnelly.
The newly-drawn district includes parts of 9 districts: Lasalle, Putnam, Woodford, Bureau, Tazewell, Livingston, McLean, Marshall, and Peoria counties.
You can see the newly-drawn House Districts here. We also have the 105th District highlighted in the image below.