Biography

Detroit‘s Daughter

The eldest of three children raised in a single parent household, State Representative Shanelle Jackson witnessed first hand the struggles of single parents, the benefits of education, and the importance of hard work. Losing her father at two years old to a heart attack set her life on an unplanned course.  Her young mother Jasmine, pregnant with a son and devastated by the sudden loss of her husband, was determined not allow her children’s lives be defined by loss and sadness- but by victory and overcoming.  She committed herself to providing for her family and she often worked twelve-hour days with the U.S. Postal Service to do so.  Representative Jackson credits her tireless work ethic to her mother

An avid Girl Scout in troop 1600 which still meets at Fellowship Chapel, Rep. Jackson participated in neighborhood clean up projects, peer tutoring, distribution of Christmas baskets and feeding the homeless.  It was in troop 1600 that she first learned the value of serving other and the true characteristics of leadership.  Like many other neighborhood children, Representative Jackson and her brother Forrest spent many summers at   Crowell Recreation Center on Lashser for day camp.  It was there that she learned to swim and the value of teamwork. While she enjoyed school Representative Jackson acknowledges that she was never an exceptional student, but her participation in the arts including singing and theater at Emerson Elementary, Ludington Magnet Middle, and Redford High kept her motivated to reach her educational goals.  It is these experience and others like going to the  Redford Branch Library after school to study; or walking down Outer Drive to the old Dairy Queen on hot days with friends;  and starting her first job at fifteen working at Mc. Donald’s on Grand river that  make Shanelle Jackson  the  dedicated leader that she is today. She has fought and won battles in the legislature that enable the city of Detroit fund recreational centers for youth; provide summer jobs; clean up parks; and after school programs that give Detroit’s children hope.

The G Phi G (Glorify God) youth ministry at her church Word of Faith International Christian Center cultivated Rep. Jackson’s love for Christ.   While she had accepted Christ into her heart as a young girl, before becoming active in youth ministry like many teenagers she struggled to balance her faith against the pressures of her neighborhood and school.  Her involvement in the G Phi G a youth ministry which included singing on the praise team and in the choir each week, taught her to be bold.  Rep. Jackson learned then to never be afraid to speak up and stand strong for what she believes in. She learned that faith moves mountains but that faith without hard work means nothing.  That’s why through hard work and dedication Representative Jackson has taken on challenges in Lansing that seemed insurmountable in the past – and won.

After graduating from Redford High School in 1998, Rep. Jackson went on study at the University of Michigan where she earned a bachelors degree in political science.  Eagar to put her degree to work, in 2003 she began her service in the legislature as Deputy Chief of Staff in the office of State House district seven.  Working as Deputy Chief of Staff provided Jackson with a litany of experiences that helped prepare her for elective office.  She was responsible for managing all in district operations including handing all community meetings; developing partnerships with nonprofit and grassroots organizations; and overseeing all intergovernmental affairs.

In 2007 Jackson was sworn in to serve as the State Representative from Detroit’s Ninth District with her thirteen year old sister by her side.  From moment one, Jackson has been recognized as a true leader.  She was chosen by her colleagues to serve as Associate Speaker Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives.  She often presides over session during critical budget debates and is the first Detroiter to hold the gavel in 16 years.  Jackson is the second African American woman in history to serve as Speaker Pro Tempore.  Jackson is also Executive Vice-Chairwoman of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, and Vice Chairwoman of the Detroit Delegation.

A member of the House Appropriations Committee, Representative Jackson serves in leadership capacities on several subcommittees that are vital to the city of Detroit: History Arts & Libraries (C); Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (C); Community Health (VC); Transportation; Investigations; and General Government.

Legislative Priorities

  • Increasing Job opportunities for Detroiter’s
  • Equipping schools with tools for academic excellence so that students excell
  • Protecting families from foreclosure
  • Reforming unfair insurance practice

Representative Jackson’s devotion to supporting the Arts earned her an invitation from President Obama to Washington D.C to advocate for the Arts programs and funding in May 2009.  Recognized as one of the foremost young leaders nationally, Rep. Jackson has been invited back to the White House by the Obama Administration for a briefing on Jobs Friday May 14, 2010.

Professional Experience

  • Deputy Chief of Staff, House District 7
  • Community Organizer America Coming Together
  • Community Organizer for Michigan Democratic Coordinated Campaign
  • Michigan Young Democrats volunteer
  • NAACP volunteer
  • Project Vote Smart volunteer

Education
Rep. Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in social justice Marygrove College.    Rep. Jackson is proud to serve the district in which she was educated and raised, having attended Emerson Elementary School, Ludington Middle School, and Redford High School.

Community Involvement
Rep. Jackson is a co-founder of the Empowerment Fund, an organization that focuses on working with Detroit youth. Through this organization she devotes countless hours annually to mentorship and leadership training at local schools.
Rep. Jackson is active in her church, Word of Faith, and is a vigorous advocate for impoverished people of all ages.

Leadership in the Michigan House of Representatives

As the second youngest woman elected to serve, and the youngest African-American woman elected to serve, Rep. Jackson is honored to hold leadership positions in The Michigan House of Representatives.

  • Associate Speaker Pro Tempore
  • Executive Vice Chairwoman, Michigan Legislative Black Caucus
  • Vice Chairwoman, Detroit Delegation
  • House Appropriations Committee:
      • Chairwoman, Disadvantage Business in Transportation
      • Chairwoman, History, Arts & Libraries
      • Community Health, Vice Chairwoman
      • Transportation
      • General Government
      • Investigations

Honors & Awards:

The fabric of who Representative Jackson is led her to the legislature.  Making Detroit a great place to live, work and raise a family is her goal as she serves her District.  She is humbled to have been acknowledged for the work she conducts daily for the State of Michigan and it’s residents.

  • NAACP, 2010 first ever “Great Expectation: Great Promise In the Next Generation” award
  • Crain’s Detroit Business,  2010 “20 in their 20’s” award
  • American Association of University Women, 2010 “The Power of a Woman’s’ Voice” award
  • Michigan Chronicle- Legacy in Motion 2009 “Rising Star” award
  • Fannie Lou Hammer 2009 “Elected Official of the Year” award
  • Michigan Front Page 2009 ” Young History Maker” award
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