David grew up in DeKalb County, Georgia and was educated in public schools. He attended The University of Georgia, where he graduated with a degree in government.
At the age of 25, David was appointed Executive Director of the Georgia Republican Party. In that role, he guided the state GOP to heights it had not seen. In 1992, the GOP won four congressional seats, the most in its history, and elected Paul Coverdell to the U.S. Senate. In 1996, Republican voters of Georgia nominated him as their candidate in a special statewide election for Secretary of State. His campaign’s central platform was fighting voter fraud, and his centerpiece idea—requiring voters to show identification when voting—was passed into law in 1997.
In 2002, David was elected to the State Senate. He quickly earned the reputation as one of the most conservative members of the legislature. In 2013, his fellow Senators unanimously elected him the 68th President Pro Tempore of the Senate, a post he has been re-elected to twice.
Shafer is a conservative work horse who has sponsored legislation to implement zero based budgeting, limit tax increases and provide for the periodic review of government regulations.
In addition to his duties as Senate President Pro Tempore, Senator Shafer is also vice chairman of the Senate Insurance and Labor Committee and a member of the Senate Appropriations, Health and Human Services and Reapportionment and Redistricting Committees. He is an ex-officio member of the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities and Rules Committees.
He is a business owner and investor. He served on the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Senator Shafer is involved in the community. He served as vice chairman of the Gwinnett County Library System Board of Trustees and as a member on the former Gwinnett-Forsyth Regional Library System Board of Trustees. He has also served on the Board of Directors for both the United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Atlanta and the Partnership Against Domestic Violence (formerly Georgia Council on Battered Women).
David currently serves on the Board of the Visitors of the University of Georgia. He was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the University of Georgia Alumni Association.
He has made Gwinnett County his home since graduating from college. He lives in Duluth with his wife Lee and daughter Ellie. His stepson J.W. is also a graduate of the University of Georgia. The Shafers are members of Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church.