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Monday, May 16, 2022

Robin Shackleford: a heart for public service

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Robin Shackleford has always had a heart for public service. Growing up in the church, her parents instilled a strong sense of faith in her and taught her to not just think of herself but others as well. These teachings shaped how she approached her career.

“[Growing up] I noticed the struggle and the disparity in resources between people, I dreamed one day of helping my community with these injustices,” she said. 

Shackleford went off to college at Indiana University with plans to get a degree in business. She believed getting a business degree and starting her own business would allow her to tackle the inequities she saw within the Indianapolis community, but after a while she began to feel like majoring in business wouldn’t create the impact she hoped.

“I realized the primary goal of every business is to make a profit,” she said. “By the end of my junior year — it took a while for me to decide — profit started to be less of a primary motivator and more of a secondary goal. My primary goal would evolve into being a change maker for my community.”

So, in the midst of her junior year, Shackleford switched her major to public affairs and graduated with a bachelor’s in the subject. She continued her education at Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI) and received her master’s in public affairs. 

Upon graduating from IUPUI, Shackleford gained experience in Mayor Bart Peterson’s Office and at Crowe Horwath and Engaging Solutions, two local consulting firms, before finding her way to the Indiana House in 2012. She’s been in the Indiana House of Representatives ever since and serves Indiana House District 98. Shackleford is also the ranking minority member of the Public Health Committee and is the current chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus. 

This session, Shackleford has authored two bills, marking what she says is her proudest moment in her career as a representative. House Bill 1141 would establish a temporary traffic amnesty program, allowing those without licenses due to unpaid traffic fines to have their licenses reinstated and to be put on a payment plan, rather than paying one large bill. House Bill 1029 “Urges the legislative council to assign to the interim study committee on public health, behavioral health, and human services the task of studying issues consumers face related to prescription drug pricing, access, and costs,” according to the Indiana General Assembly website. 

“The proudest moment I’ve had as a representative is happening now; potentially getting two vital pieces of legislation passed while in the minority [in the House of Representatives],” Shackleford said. “The prescription drug pricing study is headed to the governor’s desk and will help many suffering from high prescription cost get some well awaited answers. Additionally, the traffic amnesty bill is being heard … in Senate committee and will then head to a full vote.  This legislation will assist over 400,000 Hoosiers with suspended licenses get back on the road insured and safe.”

When Shackleford ran for office, her goal was to uplift communities across the state facing injustices and she feels she’s doing just that. Still, she’d like to see more people like her run for office.

“We definitely need your voice and now is the time to make a difference,” she said.

 Be courageous and step out on faith,” she said. “This industry may not be easy but I guarantee it’s worth the fight.  You will have a group of strong women ready and willing to support you every step of the way!”

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