Union-represented sheriff’s captain to run for Senate if Crowe is confirmed as U.S. Attorney

KRIS THARP, leader of the of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division, and a member Police Benevolent Protection Association (PBPA) Local 118, has announced his intent to run for U.S. Senate following Senator Rachelle’s Crowe’s nomination for U.S. Attorney. – Labor Tribune photo

Collinsville, IL – Kris Tharp, a captain with the union-represented Madison County Sheriff’s Department, is preparing to run for the Illinois Senate seat likely to be vacated by state Sen. Rachelle Crowe, who has been nominated for U.S. attorney of the Southern District of Illinois by President Biden.

Tharp told the Southwestern Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council he is preparing to run in the 56th Senate District – if Crowe’s nomination is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Crowe’s nomination received preliminary approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 12.

The 56th Senate District includes Wood River, Alton, pieces of Edwardsville and Godfrey and other parts of the county.

Born and raised in Wood River, Tharp, 46, is the son of a Wood River policeman. He has been in law enforcement for 25 years – 23 at the Sheriff’s Department, including 16 as a detective, and frequently worked on cases with Crowe in her 10 years as Madison County State’s Attorney’s, before her election to the U.S. Senate in 2018.

A graduate of the FBI Training Academy Tharp has served a leader on the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis investigating murder cases, and as a crisis negotiator. He is founder of the Madison County TRIAD program advocating for seniors, and was promoted in 2020 to Madison County Jail Administrator.

Tharp’s wife Jaime is a county corrections officer. Their son Tyler is a Wood River police officer. He and their other son Kameron both graduated from Bethalto High School.

“I’ve been immersed in the culture for the better part of 25 years,” he said. “I’ve been a proud member of PBPA (Police Benevolent Protection Association) Local 118 my entire adult life.”

Tharp said he is a dedicated union supporter who understands how unions are vital to giving working people a fair shake.

“Without PLAs, without prevailing wage, without workers’ rights, what would we have? It’s the backbone of the 56th District,” he told the Trades Council. “I intend to build on what Senator Crowe has already done.”

Tharp sees a direct link between his policing work and serving in the Senate. “I think it resonates with the district,” he said. “Everything I’ve had in my life I’ve had to work for. That comes from the union and law enforcement. Nothing was ever handed to me.”

He also described being raised by a single mother, Teresa Tharp.

“When I was four, my dad left and never came back,” he said. “My mom had to fight to raise my brother and me, and those lean times are still fresh in my mind. It’s a story of victory, because without my mom being the great woman she was, without her asking for help and without that fighting mentality she instilled in me, I wouldn’t be here today.

“That fighting mentality is within me, and that’s something I’m going to continue. I’m going to fight for you and I’m going to fight for our district.”

Tharp promised direct communication with constituents.

“Humbly I stand before you, and what I want you to know is that the door will always be open, the phone always available,” he said. “There will always be direct communication.

“What I’m asking is that we come together and that you give me a chance to sit down with each of you find out who I am, and I’m confident you won’t be disappointed,” he added. “I’ll work to make you proud.

“Just always know I’m a fighter. I’ll fight for you and I’ll fight for my family, I’ll wear it on my sleeve, I am who I am and I believe in what I believe. We’re going to fight. We’ve got to hold onto this Senate seat. This is urgent.”


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