WASHINGTON — Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and two of her employees were killed in a car crash Wednesday, authorities said. Walorski was 58 years old.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy first confirmed Walorski’s death in a Tweeter earlier Wednesday.
McCarthy said he spoke to Walorski’s husband, Dean Swihart, who was notified of her death by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday afternoon.
“This news is absolutely devastating,” McCarthy said in a statement. “Jackie was a dear friend, a trusted adviser and the epitome of integrity who won the admiration and respect of all her colleagues in the House.”
Walorski District Manager Zachery Potts, 27, and his communications manager Emma Thomson, 28, also died in the collision between two cars. Their deaths were confirmed by the Sheriff’s Office. a Facebook post. “A northbound passenger car traveled left of center and collided head-on” with Walorski’s vehicle, the sheriff’s office wrote. The driver of this car was also killed.
“Devastated to hear the horrific news of the passing of Jackie Walorski and her two staff members,” said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., tweeted. “She was a dear friend who enjoyed serving the people of Indiana in Congress.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was traveling in Asia, ordered Capitol flags flown at half-mast in honor of Walorski and his aides, her spokesperson said.
“A lifelong Hoosier, Congresswoman Walorski has lived a life of service: whether caring for poor children in Romania, representing her community in the Indiana Statehouse or serving near a decade in the House,” Pelosi said in a statement. of her northern Indiana constituents in Congress, and she was admired by her colleagues on both sides of the aisle for her personal kindness.”
The White House said it would fly flags at half mast Wednesday and Thursday in memory of Walorski.
President Joe Biden offered his condolences in a statement Wednesday, saying he and first lady Jill Biden were “shocked and saddened” when they heard about the car accident.
“We may have represented different parties and disagreed on many issues, but she was respected by members of both parties for her work on the House Ways and Means Committee on which she served,” Biden said of by Walorsky. He cited her work as co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus and said the White House conference on this topic next month would be “marked by her deep concern for the needs of rural America.”
A former Indiana state legislator, Walorski was first elected to Congress in 2012 and was running for her sixth term this fall. She was well-liked by her Republican and Democratic colleagues in the House, where she was close to McCarthy and his leadership team.
McCarthy named her the top Republican on the House Ethics Committee, and she was to be chair of the bipartisan committee if Republicans won a majority in November.
“When there was a vacancy for the Republican head of the ethics committee, she was my first call,” McCarthy said in a statement. must reflect the will of the people with decency and honesty”.
Ethics Committee Chairman Ted Deutch, D-Fla., worked closely with Walorski on a weekly basis as their panel met to provide ethics training and investigate any breaches of ethics rules. the House by legislators or their assistants.
“As partisan as Congress has become, it’s still family, and this loss hits close to home,” Deutch said in a statement. “Jackie Walorski was a colleague and a friend. She cared deeply about the House and her constituents, and she will be sorely missed by all of us.”
Many of his colleagues from the Indiana delegation also tweeted their condolences shortly after news of his death was announced.
“I am truly devastated. Jackie loved the Hoosiers and dedicated his life to fighting for them,” tweeted Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., who had served with Walorski in the House. “I will never forget his spirit, his positive attitude and above all his friendship.”
“My heart is heavy with the news from northern Indiana. Jackie was a true friend and an incredible colleague,” tweeted Rep. Jim Baird, R-Ind. “Hoosiers has lost a champion and a dedicated public servant.”