Shelli Yoder
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Shelli Yoder

Shelli Yoder
Member of the
Monroe County Council
from the 1st district

January 26, 2013
Vic Kelson
Personal details
Born (1968-08-30) August 30, 1968 (age 52)
Shipshewana, Indiana, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Josh Perry
ResidenceBloomington, Indiana
Alma materIndiana University - Purdue University Fort Wayne (B.A.)
Vanderbilt University (M. Div)
OccupationNon-profit business management University faculty

Shelli Renee Yoder (born August 30, 1968)[1] is an American politician serving on the County Council for Monroe County, Indiana. A former Miss Indiana and a Miss America 1993 contestant, Yoder has held positions at a number of nonprofit organizations. She was the Democratic nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Indiana's 9th congressional district in 2012 and 2016.[2] However, she was defeated both times by Republicans: first by Todd Young and then by Trey Hollingsworth.[3] In June of 2020, she won the Democratic primary for Indiana state senate district 40.


Yoder is a native of Shipshewana, Indiana. She studied interpersonal communication at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne[4] and has a master's degree in counseling and human services from Indiana University South Bend. In 2002 she earned a master's degree from Vanderbilt University Divinity School.[5]

Yoder won the 1992 Miss Indiana pageant and was second runner-up in the Miss America pageant that year.[6] While competing in pageants, she developed anorexia nervosa.[7]

She moved to Tennessee, where she was Assistant Director of GirlForce, an advocacy group for anorexia awareness,[8] and Executive Director of the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee.[9][10] She is a lecturer at the Kelley School of Business.[11]

2012 U.S. House campaign

In February 2012, Yoder entered the race for Indiana's 9th congressional district. In a crowded primary field of five candidates, Yoder clinched the Democratic nomination with 47% of the primary vote in May.[11][12]

During the primary, Yoder emphasized job creation, worker training, funding for health research, and investment in infrastructure and clean energy.[13][14] She credited her success to a grassroots campaign, vowing to take on big money and special interests and be a voice for working families.[15] Former Governor Howard Dean used his political action committee to support Yoder, calling her race a key one for Democrats in 2012. The candidates Dean's PAC supported were known as the Dean Dozen.[16]

In the general election campaign, Yoder challenged Republican Representative Todd Young to 13 town hall debates, one in each of the district's counties, noting that Young had challenged Representative Baron Hill to numerous debates in the 2010 campaign.[17][18] She criticized Young's association with Representative Todd Akin and their co-sponsoring of No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which originally included the term "forcible rape"; the word "forcible" was later removed from the bill, and Young distanced himself from Akin's remarks.[19] Young defeated Yoder with 55% of the vote to her 45%.[20]

Indiana's 9th Congressional District election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Todd Young 165,332 55.45
Democratic Shelli Yoder 132,848 44.55
Total votes 298,180 100.00

Monroe County Council

After her 2012 Congressional campaign, Yoder was selected to fill the remainder of Vic Kelson's term on the Monroe County Council by a special caucus of the Monroe County Democratic Party.[21]

In 2017, Yoder helped organize the first-ever South Central Opioid Summit in Bloomington, which brought together healthcare professionals, social service workers, policy experts and police officers in order to examine ways to increase treatment for those suffering from opiate addiction.[22]

In 2018, Yoder became the president of the Monroe County Council. And she was subsequently re-elected to the council by a margin of over 25 percentage points in the autumn. She ran on a campaign of improving mental health, drug treatment and dealing with the opioid crisis.[23]. She has also been outspoken against projects that threaten the Lake Monroe Watershed and advocates for the unique ecosystems found within south-central Indiana's state and national forests.[24].

2016 Congressional campaign

In August 2015, Yoder announced that she would run again for the same seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Young was not running for reelection, instead opting to run for Indiana's open U.S. Senate seat.[25] Yoder was defeated by Republican businessman Trey Hollingsworth in the 2016 general election.[26][27]

Campaign for Indiana State Senate

In June of 2020, Yoder won the Democratic Primary for Indiana State Senate district 40, securing a landslide of approximately 80% of the vote. She defeated the Indiana Democratic State Party Chairman, John Zody. [28]

Indiana State Senate District 40
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Shelli Yoder 14,805 81.06
Democratic John Zody 3,023 16.55
Democratic Trent Feurbach 436 2.39
Total votes 18,265 100.00

Personal Life

Yoder married Josh Perry, a professor at Indiana University Bloomington. They have three children and live in Bloomington.[29]

In April 2019, Yoder's daughter Oakley made international headlines, when the daughter was bit by a venomous snake on a camping trip in Illinois. Oakley was flown by helicopter to a nearby hospital and treated with anti-venom drugs. But although she was in the hospital for less than 24 hours, Shelli Yoder and her husband Josh received a hospital bill for $142,938. This included a bill for $55,577 for the helicopter and the cost of $68,172 for the various venom antidotes.[30][31]

In May of 2020, Vanderbilt Divinity School recognized Yoder as one of their top three most distinguished alumni for the year, recognizing her for her work at the First United Church of Bloomington, in addition to her achievements in public service.[32]


  1. ^ "Shelli Renee Yoder - Indiana - Campaign 2012, Bio, News, Photos". Washington Times. May 31, 2012. Archived from the original on May 17, 2014. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^ "Democrat Shelli Yoder announces run for 9th district congress".
  3. ^ "Yoder, Hollingsworth Tied in Indiana's 9th District, Dem poll shows". Roll Call. May 31, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  4. ^ Profile, The Madison Courier],; accessed November 9, 2016.
  5. ^ Yoder, Shelli. "Pursuing a Crown of Perfection: A Journey from Atlantic City to Vanderbilt University Divinity School" (PDF). Vanderbilt Magazine. Retrieved 2012.
  6. ^ Joseph, Monica (January 7, 2012). "Shipshewana's Shelli Yoder nearly won prestigious crown 20 years ago". Retrieved 2012.
  7. ^ Mullinix, Donna S. (August 29, 1993). "Hoosier beauty queen, recalling bouts with anorexia nervosa, admits she was. . .STARVING INSIDE". Indianapolis Star. p. H-1. Retrieved 2012.(subscription required)
  8. ^ Sherborne, Pam (May 7, 2004). "GirlForce aims to empower girls to make healthy choices". The Tennessean. p. M-2. Retrieved 2012.(subscription required)
  9. ^ Donahoe, Heather (August 22, 2007). "Eating disorders clinic opens here". The Tennessean. Retrieved 2012.(subscription required)
  10. ^ Waddle, Ray (February 9, 2008). "Want something to give up during Lent? Stop self-loathing". The Tennessean. Retrieved 2012.(subscription required)
  11. ^ a b "Shelli Yoder wins Democratic nod to take on Todd Young for the Indiana 9th District seat: GOP's Young seen as heavy favorite in fall". Louisville Courier Journal. May 8, 2012.
  12. ^ "Shelli Yoder wins Dem. Ind. House District 9". WHAS 11 News. May 8, 2012. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012.
  13. ^ "Final Votes Counted in 9th District Primary". May 19, 2012.
  14. ^ "Yoder embraces Underdog Role". WHAS 11 News. May 10, 2012. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013.
  15. ^ "Former Miss Indiana Shelli Yoder wins Democratic nomination for Congress". May 10, 2012.
  16. ^ "Howard Dean's PAC Gets Behind Yoder's Uphill Battle". WFPL. August 8, 2012.
  17. ^ "Yoder: Young Stalling On Debate Challenge". Louisville Courier Journal. August 1, 2012.
  18. ^ "Indiana congressional hopeful Shelli Yoder challenges Rep. Todd Young to 13 debates". WFPL. August 28, 2012.
  19. ^ "Yoder Presses Young Over Akin 'Legitimate Rape' Comments". WFPL. August 24, 2012.
  20. ^ Wray, Jessica (November 6, 2012). "U.S. Rep. Todd Young defeats Shelli Yoder in Indiana's 9th District". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved 2012.
  21. ^ "Yoder takes County Council seat". Retrieved 2016.
  22. ^ "Opioid Summit a Strong Beginning in Addressing Broad, Painful Crisis".
  23. ^ "Newcomer Wiltz projected to join incumbents Yoder and Hawk on county council".
  24. ^ "Public Needs More Time for Comments on Hoosier National Forest Logging".
  25. ^ McCall, Alexander (August 17, 2015). "Shelli Yoder Announces She's Running For Congress Again". WTIU. Retrieved 2015.
  26. ^ Schneider, Grace. "Yoder, Hollingsworth to face off in 9th District". The Courier-Journal.
  27. ^ "Indiana U.S. House 9th District Results: Trey Hollingsworth Wins". The New York Times. November 17, 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  28. ^ "Indiana Democratic Chairman Fails in State Senate Bid".
  29. ^
  30. ^ "A 10-year-old Girl Ran Up a $143,000 Medical Bill After Being Bitten by a Venomous Snake".
  31. ^ "Young Girl's Snakebite Leaves Family with $203,000 (AUD Equiv) Medical Bill".
  32. ^ "2020 Vanderbilt Divinity School aDistinguished Alumni/ae Named".

External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Baron Hill
Democratic nominee for Indiana's 9th congressional district
Succeeded by
Bill Bailey
Preceded by
Bill Bailey
Democratic nominee for Indiana's 9th congressional district
Succeeded by

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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