Jackie Walorski, Indiana Congresswoman, Is Killed in Car Crash
WASHINGTON — Representative Jackie Walorski, Republican of Indiana, was killed in a car accident in her district on Wednesday, according to her office. She was 58.
Ms. Walorski’s husband, Dean Swihart, was informed of her death by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office, her office said in a statement. “She has returned home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” the statement said. “Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Ms. Walorski was traveling with two aides who were also killed in the crash, when a passenger car and a sport utility vehicle collided head-on: Zachery Potts, 27, her district director, and Emma Thomson, 28, her communications director, 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 performed on behalf of the constituents of Indiana’s Second Congressional District,” Tim Cummings, Ms. Walorski’s chief of staff, said about the aides.
The House is in its summer recess, a period when lawmakers often return to their districts to meet with constituents.
“Jackie was an instrumental member of our conference, serving as a member of my deputy whip team for several years,” Representative Steve Scalise, Republican of Louisiana, said in a statement. “Jackie and her staffers died serving her constituents. They will be missed, and our nation will miss their service.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who lauded Ms. Walorski for being “admired by colleagues on both sides of the aisle for her personal kindness,” ordered the flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff. The White House said it would fly flags at half-staff on Wednesday and Thursday in memory of Ms. Walorski.
First elected to Congress in 2012, Ms. Walorski served on the House Ways and Means Committee and as the top Republican on the House Ethics Committee. Ms. Walorski, who was respected by her colleagues in the Republican conference and known as a moderate, was one of 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 some states conducted the 2020 presidential election,” she said in a statement explaining her position.
She also voted against impeaching President Donald J. Trump last year. Mr. Trump endorsed her 2022 re-election campaign.
Ms. Walorski was staunchly anti-abortion and on Tuesday had been visiting the Bella Vita Pregnancy Center in Knox, Ind., a nonprofit that aids women with unplanned pregnancies.
“Her Midwestern values of hard work, fairness and kindness were a model for members,” said Representative Kevin Brady, Republican of Texas.
Before she was 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, Ind.