Shelli Yoder

Shelli Yoder
Member of the
Monroe County Council
from the 1st district
Assumed office
January 26, 2013
Preceded by Vic Kelson
Personal details
Born (1968-08-30) August 30, 1968
Shipshewana, Indiana, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Josh Perry
Children 3
Residence Bloomington, Indiana
Alma mater Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (B.A.)
Vanderbilt University (M. Div)

Non-profit business management

University faculty

Shelli Renee Yoder (born August 30, 1968)[1] is an American Democratic Party politician. A former Miss Indiana titleholder and Miss America 1993 contestant, Yoder has held positions at a number of non-profit organizations. She was the Democratic Party nominee for the United States House of Representatives in Indiana's 9th congressional district in the 2012 race and is currently a member of the County Council for Monroe County, Indiana. In August 2015, Yoder announced she would run for Indiana's 9th congressional district in 2016.[2] The 9th was an open seat due to incumbent Todd Young running for the United States Senate. Yoder was defeated by Republican nominee Trey Hollingsworth in the November 8, 2016, general election.[3]


Yoder is a native of Shipshewana, Indiana. She studied interpersonal communication at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne.[4] She later graduated from Indiana University South Bend with a Masters degree in Counseling & Human Services and from Vanderbilt University Divinity School in 2002 with a Masters degree in Divinity.[5]

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

She moved to Tennessee, where she served as the Assistant Director of GirlForce, an advocacy group bringing awareness to the issue of anorexia,[8] and worked as the Executive Director of the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee.[9][10]


Yoder married Josh Perry, a professor at Indiana University Bloomington. She is also a lecturer at the Kelley School of Business.[11] They have three children and live in Bloomington, Indiana.

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] Yoder credited her success to a grass-roots campaign and vowed to take on big money and special interest and be a voice for working families.[15] Former Governor Howard Dean used his political action committee to support Yoder, stating that Yoder's race was a key one for Democrats in 2012. This group of candidates in key races was referred to as the "Dean Dozen".[16]

In the general election campaign, she challenged Republican Representative Todd Young to thirteen town hall debates in each of the district's counties, noting that Young had challenged then-Congressman Baron Hill to numerous debates in 2010.[17][18]

She criticized Young's association with fellow congressman Todd Akin and their co-sponsoring of No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which originally included the term "forcible rape"; however the word "forcible" was later removed from the bill, and Young distanced himself from Akin's remarks.[19] Young defeated Yoder in the election, receiving 55% of the vote to Yoder's 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

Following her unsuccessful 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]

2016 Congressional campaign

In August 2015, Yoder announced that she would again run for the 9th district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Young did not run for reelection, instead opting to run for Indiana's open U.S. Senate.[22] Yoder faced Republican businessman Trey Hollingsworth in the general election on November 8, 2016.[23] Hollingsworth defeated Yoder by 14 points, winning 54% of the vote.[24]


  1. "Shelli Renee Yoder - Indiana - Campaign 2012, Bio, News, Photos". Washington Times. May 31, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 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. 2016-05-31. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  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 September 4, 2012.
  6. Joseph, Monica (January 7, 2012). "Shipshewana's Shelli Yoder nearly won prestigious crown 20 years ago". Retrieved September 4, 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 September 4, 2012. (subscription required)
  8. Sherborne, Pam (May 7, 2004). "GirlForce aims to empower girls to make healthy choices". The Tennessean. p. M-2. Retrieved September 4, 2012. (subscription required)
  9. Donahoe, Heather (August 22, 2007). "Eating disorders clinic opens here". The Tennessean. Retrieved September 4, 2012. (subscription required)
  10. Waddle, Ray (February 9, 2008). "Want something to give up during Lent? Stop self-loathing". The Tennessean. Retrieved September 4, 2012. (subscription required)
  11. 1 2 "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.
  13. "Final Votes Counted in 9th District Primary". May 19, 2012.
  14. "Yoder embraces Underdog Role". WHAS 11 News. May 10, 2012.
  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 November 7, 2012.
  21. "Yoder takes County Council seat". Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  22. McCall, Alexander (August 17, 2015). "Shelli Yoder Announces She's Running For Congress Again". WTIU. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  23. Schneider, Grace. "Yoder, Hollingsworth to face off in 9th District". The Courier-Journal.
  24. "Indiana U.S. House 9th District Results: Trey Hollingsworth Wins". The New York Times. November 17, 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
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
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