This article originally appeared in the Fall 2019 edition of The Missouri Times Magazine.
“It was God’s plan” that his original career trajectory did not come to fruition, Drew Dampf remarked.
His post-college plan was to do fundraising and alumni relations for his alma mater the University of Missouri — a position Dampf said, as he looks back, would not suit him well. Now, he is in a job he thoroughly “enjoys.”
“I have always had an interest in politics,” Dampf said, noting studying the field was not something he ever saw as intriguing. “State politics is more interesting than national politics, to me. I have just always found the state level more effective towards people and fascinating. I think the [state] processes still works, which I think makes it more fun to work in or be a part of.”
Being the top staffer for the Senate appropriations chairman has Dampf working with the Show-Me State’s roughly $30 billion budget.
He said it was difficult at first to adjust, learn, and pick up the budget “lingo.” Dampf added he is by no means an expert on the subject now and has a long way to go but has definitely caught on more than at this point last year.
“Luckily the Senate appropriations staff is awesome,” Dampf said. “This year was asking a lot of questions and learning. I was kind of intimidated going into it at first, but once you get into it, get into the weeds, you can really catch on.”
Outside of the Capitol, Dampf has two main hobbies: sports and helping out on the family cattle ranch.
Dampf is a self-described fan of any sport Mizzou plays, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Kansas City Royals — his great-grandfather was a ticket manager for the team. He has even “started to dabble in understanding hockey.” He also has joined four fantasy football leagues this year.
A cattle ranch in California, Missouri, is where Dampf grew up. He took his agriculture background with him to college, where he majored in agriculture business.
The best lesson he has learned is to be honest and treat people with respect.
Dampf said one of the hardest parts of his job is explaining what legislators do, adding, “This is not House of Cards.”
In contrast to the “stereotypical things [people] see about politicians or the people we work with all the time, most all of them are really good people, they have really good intentions, they just want to do what they feel is best for the state,” Dampf said. “I think people are so cynical about politics these days — whether it’s the things they see coming out of D.C. or what they see online or what they see on TV shows such as ‘House of Cards.’ There are a lot of really good people [in politics].”
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined The Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.