Reactions and remembrances pour in for U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, killed in Wednesday car crash
Reactions and remembrances are pouring in for Indiana U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Jimtown), who was killed in a car crash in Elkhart County Wednesday.
Two of Walorski's staffers also died in the crash — communications director Emma Thomson and district director and St. Joseph County GOP chairman Zachery Potts — as did the driver of the southbound car, 56-year-old Edith Schmucker of Nappanee.
Walorski had represented Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013. She succeeded Democrat Joe Donnelly, who vacated the seat to run for U.S. Senate.
Walorski was born in South Bend and grew up in the Gilmer Park area. After attending Liberty Baptist College and graduating from Taylor University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in communications and public administration, she worked as a reporter at WSBT-TV for four years.
Following that, Walorski held various positions with the St. Joseph County Humane Society, Ancilla College, the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce and Indiana University South Bend before moving to Romania in 2000 to found and run a Christian charity ministry.
She was elected to the Indiana House in 2004, and served three terms before challenging Donnelly for the 2nd congressional district seat in 2010. She lost, but announced plans to run for the seat again in 2011.
During the 2011-2013 session, the predominantly Republican Indiana legislature redrew the 2nd District, removing Michigan City and adding all of Elkhart County. This made the district more Republican, and Donnelly opted to run for U.S. Senate instead. Walorski was narrowly elected in 2012, beating Democrat Brendan Mullen by just 1.4 percentage points. She was re-elected in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 by more substantial margins.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb directed flags to be lowered to half-staff until the date of Walorski's burial.
"At every level of public service Jackie was known to be a positive force of nature, a patriot, and a relentless policy maker with an unwavering loyalty to her constituents," Holcomb's office said in a statement. "She will be remembered as a fighter with a huge heart that always went the extra mile, and I’ll treasure the times we walked a few of those together.”
Other state, national and local leaders have taken to social media to post their reactions and condolences, including U.S. President Joe Biden.
"Jill and I are shocked and saddened by the death of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski of Indiana along with two members of her staff in a car accident today in Indiana," Biden said in a statement. "We send our deepest condolences to her husband, Dean, to the families of her staff members, Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson, who lost their lives in public service, and to the people of Indiana’s Second District who lost a representative who was one of their own."
In memory of Congresswoman Jacqueline Walorski, the White House will fly flags at half-mast today and tomorrow.— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 3, 2022
Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence:
U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.):
All of Indiana mourns her passing, along with the tragic deaths of her staff Emma Thomson and Zach Potts. Please join me in praying for their families in this difficult time.— Senator Todd Young (@SenToddYoung) August 3, 2022
U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.):
U.S. Transportation Secretary and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg:
I'm shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and the other victims of this terrible crash.— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) August 3, 2022
Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch:
Kyle Hupfer, Indiana Republican Party chairman:
Mike Schmuhl, Indiana Democratic Party chairman:
Walorski served with devotion and passion in both the Indiana General Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives. She made a lasting impact on Indiana & the USA.— Indiana Democratic Party (@INDems) August 3, 2022
Our thoughts & prayers go out to their families, to members of the communities across #IN02, and to the @indgop.
South Bend Mayor James Mueller:
Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson:
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