October 5, 2022

Family, friends and colleagues in both Washington and Indiana mourn the loss Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN);

Walorski and two of her staff members were killed this week in a car accident in Elkhart County, Indiana. The driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident was also killed.

Walorski’s staff members were Emma Thomson, who handled communications, and Zachery Potts, who was her area manager.

While the research on the The standoff by Elkhart County police is still ongoing, initial reports from the Sheriff’s Department said the second vehicle crossed the center line and hit Walorski’s car head-on. The South Bend Tribune reports that police now say it was Walorski’s car that crossed the center line.

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Deep Indiana roots

Jackie Walorski was born and raised in Indiana, growing up near South Bend. He attended Liberty College and graduated from Taylor University with a BA in Communications and Public Administration. She began her career as a reporter for South Bend CBS affiliate WSBT.

During her lifetime, she also worked for the St. Louis County Humane Society. Joseph County Indiana Humane, Ancilla College, South Bend Regional Chamber and Indiana University South Bend.

Walorski was also deeply rooted in her faith. She and her husband Dean Swihart founded and operated a Christian ministry in Romania for four years as well.

Jackie Walorski began her political career by being elected to the Indiana State House in 2004, where she served three terms. He ran for Congress in 2010, but lost to incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly.

Walorski won in 2012 to represent Indiana’s 2nd congressional district.

Once in Congress, Jackie Walorski was known for her existence a strong champion for children and families. She was also an outspoken voice for women at the GOP convention and was instrumental in increasing the number of women at the convention. He was slated for a leadership role on the House Ways and Means Committee if Republicans take the House in November.

Before her untimely death, authored 21 bills in the current 117th Congress.

Among them were a bill to increase choices in education, a bill to increase telehealth benefits and a bill to combat international fentanyl trafficking. Her other legislation focused heavily on the elderly and children.

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Shock and sadness in Indiana

The reaction from Indiana and Washington was the sadness and disbelief at the news of Walorski’s death. In addition to former vice president and fellow Hoosier Mike Pence, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a statement in a series of tweets.

Fellow Hoosier and Congresswoman Victoria Spartz called her friend “a strong fighter for our country and our freedoms.”

Indiana House Democrats also tweeted support.

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DC is also mourning the loss

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted on behalf of Walorski’s office:

House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) called Walorski “a champion for the people of Indiana.” He added, “Jackie and her staff died serving her constituents. They will be missed and our nation will miss their service.” Walorski had served on Scalise’s whip team.

Spokesman Todd Young said he was “truly devastated.”

Rep. Drew Ferguson (R-GA) said he was “at a loss for words.” He continued: “Jackie was a kind soul with a huge heart. She was a reliable colleague and good friend. There was no one who fought harder for her constituents than Jackie. I will miss him terribly.”

House Republicans lost two more members this year. Long-serving Congressman Don Young of Alaska died in March at age 88, and Minnesota Congressman Jim Hagedorn who died in February after losing his battle with cancer.

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