She worked in publishing before entering public life in the 1970s. She served as a town supervisor for two years and then was the Executive Director of the state Rural Affairs Council. The council was chaired by then Lieutenant Governor Cuomo. While serving as town supervisor, she was a member of her county's governing board. Shaffer then was elected to the New York State Assembly.
Shaffer resigned from the Assembly to become Secretary of State of New York in 1983. She served as secretary until Cuomo left office in 1995. In 1986, Shaffer was considered a possible running mate for Cuomo for the office of Lieutenant Governor of New York. She was a delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention from New York.
-  Political Graveyard
|New York Assembly|
Arlington Van Dyke
|New York State Assembly, 105th District
1981 - 1983
|Secretary of State of New York
1983 - 1995