Authorities reported that Rep. Jackie Walorski (Republican from Indiana) and two of her staffers were both killed in a car accident on Wednesday. Walorski was 58.
Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader, first confirmed Walorski’s death via a tweet on Wednesday.
It is with a heavy heart that I am sharing this statement from the Office of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski. pic.twitter.com/UEPoKBDf5N
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) August 3, 2022
McCarthy stated that he spoke with Walorski’s husband Dean Swihart who was informed on Wednesday afternoon by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office of Walorski’s death.
McCarthy released a statement saying that the news was “absolutely devastating”. “Jackie was a close friend, trusted advisor, and an embodiment of integrity, who earned the admiration of her colleagues in this House.”
Zachery Potts (Walorski District Director), and Emma Thomson (Communications Director) also died in the collision. The sheriff’s office confirmed their deaths in a Facebook post. The sheriff’s office stated that a northbound passenger car went left of center and collided with Walorski’s vehicle. That car’s driver was also killed.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) tweeted, “Devastated by the terrible news of Jackie Walorski’s passing and her two staffers.” “She was a dear friend and loved serving the people in Indiana in Congress.”
Devastated to hear the horrible news of the passing of Jackie Walorski and her two staffers.
She was a dear friend who loved serving the people of Indiana in Congress.
My prayers are with her loving husband Dean, the rest of her family, and the families of the two staffers.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) August 3, 2022
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was traveling in Asia, ordered the flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff in honor of Walorski and her staffers, her spokesman said.
Speaker Pelosi has ordered the flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff due to the passing of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski of Indiana.
— Drew Hammill (@Drew_Hammill) August 3, 2022
Pelosi stated that Congresswoman Walorski was a Hoosier who lived her whole life serving the community. “She passionately represented the voices of her north Indiana constituents before the Congress and was greatly admired by her colleagues from both sides for her kindness.”
The White House said it will fly flags at half-staff on Wednesday and Thursday in memory of Walorski.
In a Wednesday statement, President Joe Biden expressed condolences and said that he and First Lady Jill Biden were shocked and saddened to hear about the accident.
Biden spoke of Walorski, saying that although they may have been from different parties and had disagreements on many issues, Walorski was respected by both parties for her work on House Ways and Means Committee. He mentioned her co-chairship of the House Hunger Caucus, and stated that the White House conference on the topic next month will be “marked her deep concern for rural America.”
Walorski, a former Indiana state lawmaker was elected to Congress in 2012. She was also running for her sixth term. Her Republican and Democratic colleagues in Congress liked her, as was McCarthy and his leadership team.
McCarthy named McCarthy the top Republican member of the House Ethics Committee. She was to become the chairman of the bipartisan Committee if Republicans win the majority in November.
McCarthy stated in a statement that McCarthy was the first to call her when there was a vacancy as Republican leader of the Ethics Committee. Jackie was tough and fair, as everyone who knew her knows. She was a straight shooter, a no-nonsense person who understood that Congress had to reflect the will of the people.
Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), was the chairman of the Ethics Committee. Their panel met weekly to discuss ethics and to investigate any violations by lawmakers or their aides.
Deutch released a statement saying that Congress, however partisan, is still a family and that this loss affects close to home. Jackie Walorski was a colleague, friend, and colleague. We will all miss her deeply. She was deeply concerned about the House as well as her constituents.
Soon after her death, many of her Indiana colleagues also sent their condolences via Twitter.
“I am truly devastated. Jackie loved Hoosiers, and she dedicated her life to fighting for them,” tweeted Senator Todd Young, R.I., who served alongside Walorski in Congress. “I will never forget her spirit, positive attitude, and most importantly, her friendship.”
“My heart is heavy with the bad news from northern Indiana. Rep. Jim Baird (R-Ind.) tweeted that Jackie was a friend and a great colleague”. “Hoosiers have lost an outstanding public servant and champion.”
My heart is heavy with the news from northern Indiana. Jackie was a true friend & an incredible colleague. Hoosiers have lost a champion & dedicated public servant. Danise’s & my prayers are with the Walorski family, as well as the families of the two staff members who passed.
— Congressman Jim Baird (@RepJimBaird) August 3, 2022