Birthdate: Aug. 30, 1968
Birth Place: Shipshewana, IN, United States
Residence: Bloomington, IN
Shelli Yoder was born and raised in Shipshewana, Ind., and now resides in Bloomington. She earned a bachelor's degree from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in 1991, a master's in counseling and human services from Indiana University-South Bend and a master's in divinity from Vanderbilt University.
Yoder earned scholarship money for graduate school by winning the Miss Indiana contest in 1992. She was second runner-up in that year's Miss America contest.
Yoder worked for more than 15 years at non-profit organizations, focusing on gaining access to physical and mental health services and educational opportunities for those in need. She is now associate director of professional development for Indiana University's Kelley School of Business.
She and her husband, Josh, have three children.
Shelli Yoder is a political newcomer who decided to run for Indiana's 9th District U.S. House seat because she was fed up with Congress, which she says is anti-worker, anti-women and anti-middle-class families. She also says she is tired of politicians unable to work together.
Yoder won the May 2012 Democratic primary against five other candidates, picking up 47 percent of the vote and crediting her victory to grassroots support.
She is counting on that support to grow in the lead up to the November general election, when she faces incumbent freshman Rep. Todd Young. She has criticized Young, saying he has ignored working people.
Yoder supports the 2010 health care reform bill, saying the country's health care system has turned into a "sick-care system. I want to promote it into a well-care system." In particular, she says she supports provisions of the reform bill that prohibit health insurers from refusing coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
Yoder says Congress needs to make college accessible and affordable for students. She says a skilled and educated workforce drives economic development.
She has announced a jobs plan that calls for bringing together business, labor leaders and community groups to launch a regional job-creation strategy. The plan also calls for raising the minimum wage and increasing funding for job retraining. Yoder wants to make the district a leader in green technology, and her jobs plan also calls for expanding broadband technology to generate new telemedicine jobs and online education opportunities.
She wants to increase support for university and private research to produce cutting-edge products, industries, and technical jobs.
Yoder supports raising the debt ceiling if necessary.
She says climate change is real and that government and non-government solutions need to be looked at when addressing the problem.
Yoder also supports smart defense spending. She says the nation can reduce defense spending by bringing our troops home, including reducing the number of troops in Europe, and by reducing unnecessary Pentagon spending. She says that with the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the nation can begin to cut the size of our ground troops to pre-9/11 levels.
Source: Associated Press