Robin Shackleford always considered herself a “behind-the-scenes, policy type of person.” She worked for a decade in government and public affairs in Indiana, including as a legislative assistant in the state House, as the diversity director in the Indianapolis mayor’s office and as a lobbyist for the Indiana Health Care Association.
Eventually, though, she was bitten by the campaign bug and decided to run for an Indiana Senate seat in 2010 against an incumbent with much larger name recognition. “I just looked at what our community needed, and I felt [the incumbent] wasn’t representing our needs,” she says. After a grueling campaign, she lost the race.
The desire for elected office didn’t go away. Two years later, Shackleford ran for and won a seat in the state House. She has focused in office on issues of health, voter turnout and criminal justice. Her proudest accomplishment so far, she says, is a law she sponsored on telemedicine services, which passed even while her party had a superminority in the House. She’s now focusing on funding to eliminate food deserts in Indiana.