PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — From sheriff’s office to state representative, Dennis Tipsword seeks to represent you at the Statehouse.
Tipsword is the chief deputy sheriff of the Woodford County Sheriff’s Office, he announced his candidacy on WMBD’s Matt Sheehan On the Record segment on Friday morning.
Tipsword is running as a Republican in the newly drawn 105th district.
With a career spanning 27 years in law enforcement and 8 years as Deputy Chief, Tipsword hopes to use his voice to fight the SAFE-T Act passed last January by Governor Pritzker (D-IL).
“This crime bill was introduced in the middle of the night, over 700 pages and about 45 minutes of discussion, and then it passed,” said Tipsword.
Tipsword said the bill was “the worst piece of legislation for law enforcement, at least in my 27-year career.”
“It really set us back with all the unfunded warrants that are there, the catch and release policy that is going to become law,” Tipsword said. “Fortunately, qualified immunity has been removed, for now. It’s still a topic. There are left-wing activists, so to speak, who want to put this back on the table.”
Tipsword said it would be a “death knell for law enforcement” if qualified immunity was stripped from officers.
“My command post in handling these uncharted waters over the past year has given me good experience to go to Springfield and defend our law enforcement,” Tipsword said.
Tipsword’s opinion would echo other local Republican lawmakers seeking to repeal the SAFE-T Act.
Along with being the chief deputy of 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 beaten. We are the first or second highest taxed state in the nation here in Illinois. We trade that back and forth with New Jersey. It’s a list we don’t want to be at the top of. We need to work on our regulations, our paperwork for our small business owners. »
Tipsword called the regulations “constant change” and require small business owners to constantly adapt.
“I’d like to get out of the way of small business owners, let them run their business. These are the people who 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 got through COVID.
“His business was closed for almost a year. Luckily for her, she had a nest egg or rainy day fund. But let’s face it, it was his retirement. She had to dip into it just to pay the bills for that year, when she wasn’t making any money. It’s something I want to be part of the discussion about,” said Tipsword.
“We can’t take their business away from them based on an order from the governor,” he added.
Tipsword said the salon owner had to decide if she would “go bankrupt, not knowing when I’m going to open. Or do I break the Governor’s rule and quietly go back to work?
Tipsword said this is something business owners should be doing.
“It’s a hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying citizen who decides if she’s going to break the law to save her business,” Tipsword said.
Dennis Tipsword was 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 to have really good experience and life lessons that I can bring, but I’m young enough to fight. It’s going to be a fight,” said Tipsword. “Who better to go to Springfield and advocate for law enforcement on the floor of the House than a 27-year-old police officer? Who better to go to Springfield and champion small business than a Lifetime Small Business Owner? It’s what I am, it’s who I am. That’s why I get on this plate. I can’t hope for someone else to come and fix it, I can’t wish for things to be better, I’m ready to do this and fight this fight.
Besides the Criminal Justice Reform and Small Business Regulation Bill, Tipsword said “the government’s overreach” is another reason he decided to run for office.
“I have the tools to do this. I have the knowledge and the experience and I am ready to take on this challenge,” said Tipsword. “I had a conversation with my wife and she was 100% behind me. We had a conference call with our kids, they were all 100% behind me. »
Tipsword joins a crowded GOP primary race. The other candidates are Kyle Ham, Don Rients, Mike Kirkton and Karen Donnelly.
The newly drawn district includes portions of 9 districts: Lasalle, Putnam, Woodford, Bureau, Tazewell, Livingston, McLean, Marshall and Peoria counties.
You can see the newly drawn house neighborhoods here. We also have the 105th district highlighted in the image below.