WASHINGTON — Rep. Jackie Walorski, a Republican from Indiana, was killed Wednesday in a car crash in her district, her office said. She was 58 years old.
Ms. Walorski’s husband, Dean Swihart, was notified of her death by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office, his office said in a statement. “She has returned home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” the statement read. “Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Ms Walorski was traveling with two assistants who were also killed in the accident, when a passenger car and a sports utility vehicle collided head-on: Zachery Potts, 27, her district manager, and Emma Thomson, 28 , its director of communications, according to the Elkhart County Sheriff. The driver of the oncoming car was also killed.
“They were the epitome of public servants who cared deeply about the work they did on behalf of voters in Indiana’s second congressional district,” Tim Cummings, Ms. Walorski’s chief of staff, said of the aides.
The House is on summer recess, a time when legislators often return to their constituencies to meet with their constituents.
“Jackie has been a defining member of our conference, serving on my deputy whip team for several years,” Rep. Steve Scalise, Republican of Louisiana, said in a statement. “Jackie and his associates died serving his constituents. We will miss them and our nation will miss their service.
President Nancy Pelosi, who congratulated Mrs Walorski to be “admired by her colleagues on both sides of the aisle for her personal kindness,” ordered the Capitol flags flown at half-mast. The White House said it would fly flags at half mast on Wednesday and Thursday in memory of Ms. Walorski.
“We may have represented different parties and disagreed on many issues,” President Biden said in a statement, “but she was respected by members of both parties for her work on the House Ways and Means Committee. “.
Ms. Walorski, who was first elected to Congress in 2012 and was known as a moderate, was also the top Republican on the House Ethics Committee. She was among the 147 Republicans who voted last year to overturn the 2020 election results.
“I share the concerns of many Hoosiers about irregularities in the way certain states conducted the 2020 presidential election,” Ms. Walorski said in a statement explaining its position.
She also voted against the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump last year. Mr Trump has endorsed his 2022 re-election campaign.
Ms. Walorski was staunchly anti-abortion and had visited the Bella Vita Pregnancy Center in Knox, Ind., a nonprofit on Tuesday that helps women with unplanned pregnancies.
“His Midwestern values of hard work, fairness and kindness were a role model for members,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, Republican of Texas.
Before being elected to Congress, Ms. Walorski served three terms in the Indiana State House, spent four years as a missionary in Romania and worked as a television reporter in South Bend, Indiana.