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Missouri’s new, nonpartisan state demographer position: Who has applied?

  

Missouri solicited candidates to take on the task of drawing the state’s legislative districts following the 2020 census — and six candidates submitted completed applications to be delivered to Senate leadership, the Auditor’s Office announced. 

The job requires a degree in demography, geography, statistics, economics, sociology, urban planning, anthropology, epidemiology, or actuarial science, along with professional experience. Anyone who has served in a partisan, elected position within four years of applying is not eligible. 

The Auditor’s Office began accepting applications for the nonpartisan state demographer — a position created by the Clean Missouri Amendment — in September. The window to apply was open until Dec. 4. 

A spokesperson for Auditor Nicole Galloway said an application submitted on Dec. 4 is still under review as to whether it’s eligible. Two people submitted incomplete applications, and another individual submitted after the deadline, according to the Auditor’s Office.

The State Auditor’s Office will not conduct interviews of applicants but instead will submit the applications, which are available online, to the Senate leadership.  

Here’s a look at who submitted completed applications.

Damon Braidlow

Damon Braidlow submitted an application for the position on Dec. 3. He has worked for the city of Columbia as an engineering technician since 2014. He has also worked as the city survey crew chief.

Braidlow has a degree in geospatial sciences from Missouri State University.

Donald Cripe 

Donald Cripe, from Holts Summit, submitted a completed application at the end of November. He is a longtime environmental specialist with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). He’s been an environmental supervisor with DNR since 2014, according to his application.

Cripe holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s in geography, with a focus on cartography and historic geography, from Western Illinois University in Macomb.

Aside from the DNR, Cripe has also worked for the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, his application said.

In an interview with The Missouri Times, Cripe said when the topic of a state demographer was first discussed, he told his friends he would apply if it was open to the public. He pointed to his geography degree — “that’s really the study of the man and land relationship, how the people impact the earth and how the earth impacts people” — as a qualification for the job.

Sara Hartman

Sara Hartman, of Jefferson City, submitted an application for the state demographer position on Dec. 3. She has worked as an office manager for Faith Lutheran in Jefferson City since 2015.

Hartman has also worked as an adjunct professor for Central Methodist University in Columbia and for the Missouri Department of Higher Education. She has also worked for the Missouri State Census Data Center program.

She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in economics — both from the University of Missouri.

Bryan Kinworthy

Bryan Kinworthy has worked for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as an environmental specialist since March 2018. He applied for the state demographer position on Dec. 3.

Prior to his work with DNR, Kinworthy was a teaching and research assistant at the University of Calgary in Canada. He has also worked for the University of New Mexico and the Missouri Department of Social Services.

Kinworthy has a bachelor’s degree in geography from Missouri State University and a master’s in geography from the University of New Mexico.

R. Zane Price

Robert Zane Price, from Holts Summit, submitted an application on Dec. 3. He has worked for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in the state parks division since 2017. There, he is the real estate manager who handles park licenses, leases, and contracts, among other things.

Price has previously worked for the Kansas City Southern Railway Company, BHC Rhodes, and Upper Iowa University.

Price holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Central Missouri State University and a master’s in geography from the University of Kansas.

Jason J. Ross

Jason Ross was the first to apply for the position. A retired Air Force veteran, Ross is an assistant professor of aerospace studies at Air Force ROTC Detachment 440 in Columbia. 

He is also a defense contractor with Golden Key Group, LLC.

A product of Jefferson City High School, Ross holds degrees in education, geography, and military operational arts and sciences. 

He has previously applied to work for the state three other times: director of administration support in 2017, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) deputy director in 2019, and chief of staff for the Department of Higher Education in 2019.