VOTERS GUIDE: Candidates for secretary of state

Friday, August 3, 2012 | 3:07 p.m. CDT

WHAT'S THE JOB? Missouri’s secretary of state is the state’s custodian of records, tasked with keeping records of official acts of the governor and other official actions.

The office’s other duties include:

  • Certifying legislatively proposed statewide ballot measures and preparing ballots. The office must also certify and publish election results.
  • Regulating and enforcing the state’s securities laws as well as maintaining corporate registrations and filings.
  • Registering all businesses that wish to operate within the state.

The secretary of state must have been a U.S. citizen and a resident of the state for at least one year before being elected. The salary is $107,746.

Missouri’s Secretary of State is Democrat Robin Carnahan, who is not seeking re-election. Secretaries of state serve four-year terms and do not have term limits.

The candidates

Jason Kander (D)

Kander was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2008 from a district encompassing parts of Kansas City. While in the House, Kander served on the Budget Committee and pushed for ethics legislation setting limits on campaign finance.

Kander said he wants to be secretary of state because "every year we see more and more issues being sent to the ballot to be decided on by the voters, and we need a secretary of state who has the courage to write nonpartisan, fair ballot language."

He also added that, if elected, he would push for campaign finance reform and strive to safeguard families from financial fraud.

In 2006, Kander, an Army captain, volunteered to be deployed to Afghanistan, where he investigated those suspected of government corruption, espionage, drug trafficking and facilitating Al Qaeda and the Taliban, according to his website.

  • Personal: Married to Diana Kander.
  • Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from American University; law degree from Georgetown University.
  • Occupation: Attorney and former captain in the U.S. Army.
  • Background: Enlisted in the Army Reserve after 9/11 and served in an infantry unit before receiving his commission as a military intelligence officer; former member of Missouri National Guard; serves on the Missouri Veterans Commission.
  • Campaign website:

MD Rabbi Alam (D)

Alam said he would like to focus on jobs rather than voter fraud if he becomes secretary of state.

"None of the (parties) are looking for the problem; they are just looking for power," Alam said when asked about the debate over whether voters should be required to show photo identification before casting ballots.

Alam said he wants to stop the outsourcing of jobs, especially those in the technology industry, to other states and overseas because they are jobs Missourians could be trained to do. He said he wants to bring "IT empowerment" to the state by making access to information more digital, putting more of it online and making it accessible to new technology, such as smart phones and tablets.

Alam also would like to stop students from being distracted in class and said he will bring the idea of banning cell phones on school premises to the governor.

  • Personal: Age 37. Married to Afroza Alam. They have two children.
  • Occupation: CEO of Minority Directed Small Business.
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in biology, 1996, and political science, 1997, from National University; military science degree from Rockville University, 2005;  master's of business administration in management information systems from University of Phoenix, 2007; master’s degree in mathematics from University of Missouri-Kansas City, 2010; working toward a doctorate in computer information systems at University of North Texas-Denton.
  • Background: Iraq war veteran; national chairman of the U.S. National Democratic Party Asian American Caucus; national delegate for the National Democratic Asian Caucus; founder of the Missouri Democratic Party Asian American Caucus.
  • Campaign website:

Scott Rupp (R)

Scott Rupp of St. Charles said he is running on his record as a state legislator. 

"The biggest thing is your results," Rupp said, noting his opposition to the federal health care law, his opposition to abortion and his work on immigration and cyber-stalking legislation.

"You have to look at who has consistently moved the ball down the field."

As secretary of state, Rupp said he would work for better transparency for the initiative petition process, protect Missouri votes by supporting photo voter identification laws and push for small business innovation.

Rupp was elected to the state Senate in 2006 and still has two years left in his second term. During the 2011 legislative session, Rupp chaired the Senate committee tasked with redrawing Missouri's congressional districts.

  • Personal: Age 38. Married to Carissa Rupp. They have five children.
  • Occupation: State senator, vice president of business development at United Missouri Bank.
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from MU, 1995.
  • Background: Former state representative; former small business owner; member of various chambers of commerce; Missouri Right to Life; Knights of Columbus; the St. Charles County Pachyderm Club and the Missouri Farm Bureau.
  •  Campaign website:

Shane Schoeller (R)

Schoeller was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2006, representing a southwest Missouri district north of Springfield. In 2011 he was chosen to be speaker pro tem.

He said he is running for office to "pass and implement a voter ID requirement because every vote should be protected from fraud, distortion and interference."

Schoeller also said he would write "fair and accurate" ballot summaries.

He previously worked as an administrative aide in the secretary of state's office for Matt Blunt.

  • Personal: Age 40. Married to Mendie Schoeller. They have three children.
  • Education: Bachelor's degree in political science from Southwest Baptist University, 1994.
  • Occupation: Worked for Students in Free Enterprise and was director of Government Affairs for the Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield.
  • Background: Member of the National Rifle Association and the Missouri Farm Bureau.
  • Campaign website:

Bill Stouffer (R)

While Bill Stouffer has been a farmer "all his life," he's also been a state senator and held multiple positions with schools, co-ops, churches and other organizations.

Stouffer was elected to the state Senate in 2004 and served two full terms. He pushed for legislation supporting Missouri's agriculture community, for gun rights and for a requirement that voters present photo identification at the polls.

As Missouri's secretary of state, Stouffer said, he would "protect the ballot box" by working to prevent voter fraud and writing fair ballot language.

Stouffer, a resident of Napton in Saline County, also said he would work to make business registration with the secretary's office easier.

"I know what the cost of the delays can be that come out of that office," he said.

While he acknowledges that he and his Republican candidates agree on most issues, Stouffer said he differs from both his primary and general election opponents because he is not looking for a step up to another political office.

"At my age I have no desire to be anything else."

  • Personal: Age 65. Married to Sue Ellen Stouffer. They have two children and four grandchildren.
  • Occupation: State senator; farmer.
  • Education: Bachelor’s in agriculture economics from MU, 1969.
  • Background: Member of Missouri Cattlemen’s Association; Missouri Corn Growers; Missouri Soybean Association; Missouri Farm Bureau; Missouri Civil Air Patrol; the National Rifle Association; the Smith Chapel United Methodist Church; former chairman and member of Board of Directors for MFA, Inc.
  •  Campaign website:

Cisse Spragins (L)

Spragins, a Kansas City Libertarian, did not respond to the Missourian's requests for additional information about her campaign. She filed a form with the Missouri Ethics Commission in July indicating that she would neither raise nor spend $500 for this election.



  • Personal: Age 49. Married to Sean O'Toole.
  • Education: Bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Tennessee. Spragins has a master's degree and a doctorate in physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Occupation: Founder, owner and CEO of Rockwall Labs, a pest control manufacturing company.

Justin Harter (C)

Justin Harter could not be reached for comment. Requests from Constitution Party officials went unanswered. Harter has filed no campaign finance forms with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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