Department honors local official

Anna Ruth Crampton began her government service career in 1980 as Jasper County Clerk.

Anna Ruth Crampton began her government service career in 1980 as Jasper County Clerk.

T.J. Gerlach

For the past 15 years, the social science department has rewarded area women for their service in local government.

The Helen S. Boylan Foundation sponsored the 15th-annual Annie Baxter Award Luncheon Oct. 13.

“[The Annie Baxter Award] was created in 1990 to honor women who have served on a local level of government,” said Dr. Tom Simpson, associate professor of political science.

Simpson said these women never get the recognition they deserve.

Six women were nominated for the award this year: Annie Busch, executive director of the Springfield-Greene Count Library District; Babara Welch, city clerk/finance officer for the City of Carthage; Karen Miller, president of the National Association of Counties; Sandra Williams, city clerk for the City of Branson; Anna Ruth Crampton, Jasper County Commissioner; and Judy Berkstresser, county clerk for Stone County.

Crampton received the award.

“There were so many wonderful ladies nominated today, so I’m very excited,” she said.

Crampton has served Jasper County for the last 12 years and will retire this year.

“She’s a fixture in Jasper County politics and Jasper County government,” Simpson said.

“It was a wonderful surprise,” Crampton said. “I will certainly cherish this.”

She has been previously nominated for the award.

“What a wonderful way to retire,” Crampton said.

Crampton said Baxter was a pioneer for women in politics who paved the path for other women to follow.

“I certainly hope I have paved the path for other women to run for office,” Crampton said.

Baxter was elected Jasper County Clerk in 1890 as the first woman elected to a county-wide office in Missouri.

Nominations for the award are requested from cities and counties across southern Missouri. When the nominations are received, they are sent to five anonymous judges, who do not know who each other are. The judges vote on the nominees.

Simpson said this year one point separated each of the top four nominees.

Each year, the winner is given a statuette designed by Carthage artist Bill Snow. The winner also receives a check for $250.

Simpson said the award has “worked out beautifully.” He said one recipient even gave the money back to the University to be used as a scholarship.

“We’ve had some terrific winners,” Simpson said.