Incumbent State Sen. Mark Stoops’ decision not to seek a third term created an opening for another Democrat to step into this seat in a progressive district that is home to Indiana University in Bloomington. Shelli Yoder, the former Monroe County Council president and two-time Congressional candidate, bested Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody in a three-way primary and, unopposed in the general election, sailed into the Senate.
A former Miss Indiana, Yoder twice was the Democrat candidate for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District. She lost in 2012 to Republican incumbent Todd Young and again in 2016 to Republican newcomer Trey Hollingsworth.
Before becoming a lecturer at IU’s Kelley School of Business, she led several nonprofits related to women’s healthcare and improving conditions in at-risk communities. They included the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee and Girlforce at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
She told Ballotpedia she is passionate about protecting public education and paying teachers a living wage, combatting the climate crisis, ensuring equity for the LGBTQ+ community and people of color, improving public health and wellness, decriminalizing marijuana, reforming an unjust criminal justice system, ending partisan redistricting, expanding voting rights, defending reproductive freedoms, improving maternal and infant health, raising the minimum wage and growing the economy inclusively. – Greg Weaver