With a heart dedicated to improving the lives of “everyday people,” Shanelle Jackson considers herself a true Daughter of Detroit. She has committed her life to serving the people in the city and county she loves by striving to make them great places to live, work and raise a family.
The eldest of three children, Shanelle was born in Detroit, the first child of Forrest and Jasmine Jackson. Forrest worked as an assemblyman at G.M. and Jasmine still works for the United States Postal Service. When Shanelle was eighteen months old, her father died of a heart attack, leaving his pregnant wife Jasmine and baby daughter to grieve. He was only twenty-nine years old. From then on Shanelle experienced firsthand the struggles that single parents face daily. Watching her mother overcome challenges taught her the value of education, the importance of hard work and tenacity.
Shanelle credits her mother, Jasmine with cultivating her tireless work ethic and drive. Jasmine was determined to not allow her children’s lives to be defined by loss and sadness. Instead, victory and overcoming would be their story. Jasmine regularly worked long hours to provide for her family and fought tooth and nail to make sure her children received a quality education.
A Love of Community
An avid Girl Scout in Troop 1600, at Fellowship Chapel Church- under the leadership of Rev. Wendell Anthony, Shanelle learned the true characteristics of a “leader-servant.” It was in Troop 1600 that Shanelle began serving her community through helping to organize neighborhood clean-up projects, peer tutoring, distributing Christmas baskets and feeding the homeless.
As a teenager Shanelle developed her relationship with Christ in the G Phi G (Glorify God) youth ministry at Word of Faith International Christian Center. Though she accepted Christ into her heart as a child, it was the G Phi G Youth Ministry that helped Shanelle overcome the struggles of her neighborhood and school as an inner-city teen.
The youth ministry also taught Shanelle how to become a change agent. She learned the importance of working to make the world better place and that she had a moral obligation to stand up for what she believes in. Shanelle is a “doer.” She knows that faith without hard work is meaningless. That truth- drove Shanelle to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges throughout her life.
Learning these values at an early age fueled Shanelle’s passion to make a positive impact on her community and that passion still burns strong. She has worked with youth in Brightmoor, New Center and Rosedale Park, as a tutor. She remains committed to helping our young people reach great heights. She currently serves as a Mentor in the “Women of Tomorrow” program which helps high school girls in public schools around Detroit and Wayne County. Jackson also has served on the Executive Board of the Detroit branch of the NAACP.
Shanelle is a proud Detroit Public Schools alumna, having attended Emerson Elementary School, Ludington Middle School and Redford High School. Jackson’s participation in the Arts programs at these schools, which included vocal; music and theater, helped to keep her motivated to reach her educational goals.
After graduating from high school, Shanelle earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan. She has also earned a master’s degree in social justice from Marygrove College.
Honors and Awards
Jackson is humbled to have been acknowledged with the following recognitions for the work she conducts daily for the state of Michigan and its residents.
- City of Detroit, 2016 “Spirit of Detroit” award
- University of Michigan Dearborn, 2012 “Young Alumna of the Year” award.
- University of Michigan, “Legacy” alumnae magazine, featured in the cover story “Leaders of Lansing,” Fall 2011 edition
- Michigan Business and Professional Association & Michigan Food and Beverage Association 2011 first ever Distinguished Leadership award
Marygrove College, 2011 Alumna Of The Year award
Michigan Chronicle, 2011 Women of Excellence award
- 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
- University of Michigan Dearborn, 2010 Difference Maker honoree
- 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
Having volunteered on several local and national campaigns as a teen and young adult, Shanelle formally jumped into the politics at twenty-two, first serving as Deputy Chief of Staff in the office of Michigan’s Seventh State House District. Through this experience Shanelle learned firsthand the powerful impact that dedicated public servants can have on cities and her desire to serve Detroit was strengthened even more.
In 2006, Jackson won a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives serving Northwest Detroit, in Michigan’s Ninth House District. In doing so, she made history becoming the youngest African American woman ever elected to serve in either chamber of the State Legislature at twenty-six years old.
From her first days as a lawmaker Shanelle’s passion for service and policymaking resonated through her like a bright light. Her colleagues and the Speaker Of The House recognized her drive and selected her to serve in a number of leadership positions throughout her career, including:
- Associate Speaker Pro Tempore
- Executive Vice Chairwoman, Michigan Legislative Black Caucus
Vice Chairwoman, Detroit Delegation
House Appropriations Committee
- Chairwoman, Disadvantage Business in Transportation Subcommittee
- Chairwoman, History, Arts & Libraries Subcommittee
- Vice Chairwoman, Community Health Subcommittee
- Transportation Subcommittee
- General Government Subcommittee
- Investigations Subcommittee
Through hard work and encouraging constructive partnerships, Shanelle passed several important laws while serving in the Legislature.
She is particularly proud of passing the law that allowed Cobo Hall to remain the property of the City of Detroit while permitting the City to lease the convention center to a regional authority. Under Shanelle’s law, the Regional Authority was responsible for and has now completed a total renovation of the facility.
More Laws Passed & Enacted (Partial List)
HB 4596 of 2007 (PA 72 of 2008) and HB 5287 of 2007 (PA 59 of 2008)
Mandates that mortgage loan officers be licensed by the state so that their actions can be monitored and to insure that consumers are protected
HB 5558 of 2007
Empowers the Insurance Commissioner to issue refunds to customers when insurance companies overcharge
HB 5319 of 2007 (PA 50 of 2008)
Enabled the city of Detroit to go after individuals and businesses that create blight
HB 6169 of 2008
Keeps families that are in extreme poverty from losing their homes because of delinquent property taxes and established a reasonable payment plan
HB 5894 of 2008 (PA 135 of 2008) and 6057 of 2008 (PA 445 of 2008)
Required that adult-foster care workers have background checks to protect our loved ones
HB 4453 of 2009 (PA 29 of 2009)
Created a “first of its kind” state law which mandates that mortgage companies must sit down with homeowners to modify loans before foreclosing. Giving homeowners new protections and keeping neighborhoods strong.
HB 4211 of 2009
Protects renters by giving them the right to receive notice when the home that they live in is in foreclosure
HB 4998 of 2009 (PA 63 of 2009)
Creates a regional partnership to revitalize Cobo Hall and mandates that ownership is vested with the City of Detroit
HB 5394 of 2009 (PA 47 of 2010)
Gives the department of education new revenue to help them implement President Obama’s education plan in Michigan.
HB 4874 of 2011 (PA 287 of 2011)
Provides the City of Detroit with avenues to improve our neighborhoods and keep our residents safe.
HB 4403 of 2011 (PA 3 of 2012)
Ensures that every citizen in Michigan has a fair opportunity to serve on a jury. legislation to make Michigan stronger, such as stronger mortgage reform provisions that include requiring the licensing of loan officers; reasonable payment plans for back taxes; and loan modification programs.
Courage Under Fire
Shanelle has always been a leader who acts with the courage of her convictions. She is never afraid to stand tall and advocate for those she serves, even in the face of great opposition.
The ONLY House Democrat to vote in favor of the creating the Regional Transit Authority (PA 387-391, of 2012.) The RTA is helping people across Wayne County travel safely around the region for work and play. The RTA also brings Detroit closer to restoring our status as a world-class city.
One of only four House Democrats to vote in favor of creating the Detroit Street Lighting Authority (PA 392-394, of 2012.) The Detroit Lighting authority is helping to fight crime by restoring light to many of the city’s most devastated neighborhoods.
One of only three House Democrats to vote in favor of the Little Caesars Arena District (PA 396 of 2012.) The new stadium district has helped to put Detroiters to work in good paying jobs and apprenticeships. It adds to the economic viability of the city and region.
Having served the maximum amount of time allowed under state law in the Michigan House of Representatives, in January of 2013, Jackson started a new chapter in her career of public service. She served as the Director of Outreach and Strategic Relations at the Michigan Department of Transportation Metro- Region office, where she helped launch the Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority.
After nearly thirteen years in the public sector, in November of 2014 Representative Jackson transitioned to the private sector and currently serves as Director of State Government Relations at a fintech. Working in the private sector has allowed Jackson to continue her work as an advocate for everyday people by leading efforts to hire Detroiters. Jackson is also proud to have lead efforts in a private sector that increased philanthropic giving to non-profit organizations that serve children, the elderly, the poor and middle class across Metro Detroit; including Forgotten Harvest, The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, NAACP, Detroit Recovery Project, LASED, SER Metro, DAPCEP, Harvest Time Ministries, The Children’s Center, Mack Alive and many others.