Roxanne Coffelt’s main reason for running for Warsaw City Council District 3 is to give voters a choice in the general election.

“I was very shocked when we moved here in 2004, right before the election, and I went to vote and I didn’t have choices. It was the general election and I didn’t have choices,” she said in an interview Wednesday afternoon.

She’s unopposed in the Democrat primary election, but will face Republican incumbent Mike Klondaris on Nov. 5. Klondaris also is unopposed in the primary.

“It wasn’t a specific issue. I just decided it’s about time people had a choice when they go to the polls,” Coffelt said.

“When I lived in China, China has a one-party system. And I moved here and found out, locally here, it’s a one-party system. And I think people deserve two parties with two good candidates. I don’t have anything against the guy I’m running against. I don’t have any gripe with him. I just think people deserve to have a choice.”

Coffelt, 61, is originally from Minneapolis, Minn.





She graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, with a degree in accounting.

She had an accounting practice in Des Moines for a while. Her husband, Bob, is a printer, and R.R. Donnelley bought the printing plant where he worked and kept it open for 10 years. After those 10 years, Coffelt sold her practice and they moved to Shanghai in 2002 to start a printing plant. In 2004, they moved to Warsaw for R.R. Donnelley.

Roxanne and Bob have a daughter, Kelsey, 32, and a son, Sheldon, 28.

This isn’t the first time she’s run for political office. In Iowa she ran for county supervisor in the primary, but lost to the incumbent.

“I did it because ... I knew that he wasn’t going to get elected in the fall. So we were just giving up that spot,” she said.

Before becoming a Democrat in the mid-1990s, Coffelt was a Republican.

“In Iowa, they have caucuses. I love the caucuses. It was an off-year and we decided we needed to go to all the caucuses and ... introduce a plank about basically taking public money for private use. That was our big issues. The other people in my precinct were going to the Republican (caucus),” she said.

Coffelt decided to take the issue to the Democratic caucus.

“I was raised by Republican parents and I believed probably what a lot of people in this town believe – that if you’re a Christian, you’re a Republican, right? They seem to think that Republicans have cornered Christianity,” she said.

At the Democratic caucus, she expected to find a lot of atheists, socialists, communists and others that she was brought up to believe they were. Instead, she found her neighbors, normal people and Christians who went to church.

“And, frankly, I think that if you look at the party platforms you have to ask yourself, What would Jesus approve of? If you’re a Christian, I’m not sure he would approve of some of the Republican platform. Or maybe most of it. The truth is, if you go back and study your Bible, Jesus was pretty much a socialist,” she said.

Deciding that Democrats weren’t the “bad, awful people” she was told they were and that she agreed with the party on many issues, she made the switch and has been a Democrat ever since. Her husband also changed parties.

When Coffelt went to the Democratic caucus to present the platform planks, they were very receptive to her. They sent her to the county convention to be on the platform committee, and she ended up at the state convention for its platform committee, she said.

The Iowa Democratic Party is very active and inclusive, she said. “I think most Democrats in Indiana are in the closet. Doesn’t mean they’re not there,” she said.

Asked if she has any platform for the city council race, Coffelt said, “I’m interested in, basically, transparency, because I think that there are a lot of people who feel that the local government hasn’t been very transparent and maybe they’re hiding things and I’ve heard things. ... Things need to be put up for bid. They don’t need to be split up to avoid the bid process. People deserve to know what’s on the agenda so that if they have something to say about it, they know it’s being discussed and they can come down and discuss it.”

She said she’s attended a few city council meetings and plans to attend more, but doesn’t have one “burning” issue that she’s interested in.

“My main thing is, I think people deserve to have a choice,” she said.