Shelley Taub’s career in public service began, she says, “on a dare.” In 1992, due to redistricting, her Oakland County commissioner seat had no incumbent. She mentioned the fact to her husband. “And he said four fatal words,” Taub recalls. “‘Why don’t you run?’”
A former teacher who managed her husband’s medical business, Taub was essentially a political no-name. But she hit the pavement and won her Republican primary by 239 votes. Since then, Taub hasn’t stopped moving. She created the human services coordinating council, a countywide work group that led to better cross-agency cooperation on social services. She was also instrumental in creating Michigan’s first-ever children’s summit, which focused on early childhood health and brain development.
Taub intended to retire from politics in 2007 after a failed state senate bid, but her passion for public service drew her back and she was re-elected to the county commission the following year. She’s now focused on expanding Oakland County’s youth assistance program to other counties across the country. The program aims to reduce youth delinquency, neglect and abuse by coordinating social workers and community groups. “Everyone talks about how it takes a village to raise a kid, but they don’t do anything about it,” Taub says.