October 2, 2022


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As the U.S. Senate began its budget deal Vote-a-rama Saturday night, one senator took a few moments to highlight Rep. Jackie Walorski and members of her staff, who died in a car crash this past week.

“Mr. President, I rise today to honor the lives of four Hoosiers who were tragically lost in traffic accidents this week,” Sen. Todd Young, R-IN, said on the Senate floor.

He then named Walorski, 58, communications director Emma Thomson, 28, and regional manager Zachary Potts, 27, who were killed in a head-on collision Wednesday in Elkhart County, Indiana. Edith Schmucker, 56, the sole occupant of the other vehicle, was also killed in the crash.

“We are all grieving and praying for their family and friends,” Young said. “Like everyone here and back home in Indiana, I am absolutely heartbroken.”

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“This is, of course, a deeply difficult time for those of us who knew one or more of these Hoosiers, it’s such a difficult time for their families and their friends and all of us,” he added.

“I think one thing that really hit everyone was the loss of two young congressional staffers, whether you knew Zac or Emma personally or not, you certainly know their type. If you’ve been following these proceedings from Capitol Hill, you know their type of hardworking , bright, dedicated young person who comes to work on a congressional staff. They give so much of their time, talents and other opportunities to serve their country.”

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“We should celebrate their accomplishments while mourning their loss. It’s a reminder, I think, for all of us to thank the many congressional staff members who do far more than the public will ever know,” Young continued.

Young also recognized his colleague, who he said had “infectious” confidence and “could light up a room”.

“Jackie knew she belonged here. Jackie knew this was her calling,” he said. “She didn’t need people to tell her she belonged, but she had a right to work because she had some things to accomplish.”

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“Her confidence was contagious. Everyone saw it. Everyone was blown away by it. People love being around her and including me,” Young added. “Jackie had so many other amazing qualities.”

U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-IN, speaks about the economy during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on May 4, 2022 in Washington, DC.

U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-IN, speaks about the economy during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on May 4, 2022 in Washington, DC.
(Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

He continued: “She was always so full of energy. She was a lightning bolt. She could light up a room like no other. She was dynamic and full of fire. And Jackie also had a really big heart.”

Young also described Walorski as a “greater figure” who “inspired and motivated people.”

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“It is not too much to say that Jackie’s last breath was spent in service, in service to her constituents, to her God, to the great state of Indiana, and to her country,” he concluded.

Walorski’s funeral will be held on August 11 at 11 a.m. ET at Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana.



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