Democrats and Republicans seemingly took a break from fighting Wednesday afternoon following the news of the tragic accident that claimed the life of Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and three other people.
The crash happened in Elkhart County, Indiana, where Walorski was traveling with two aides who were also killed, when Edith Schmucker, who was traveling north, drifted across lanes and collided with the vehicle, killing everyone involved.
Walorski was first elected to Congress in 2012 after serving three terms in the Indiana State House, where she was assistant floor leader.
Walorski was previously a television news reporter and also spent four years as a missionary with her husband in Romania, where they helped provide essential items to children living in poverty.
Some of the notable responses to Walorski’s passing included:
- President Joe Biden: “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.”
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “Today, the United States House of Representatives sadly mourns the sudden and tragic passing of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski. A lifelong Hoosier, Congresswoman Walorski lived a life of service: whether caring for impoverished children in Romania, representing her community in the Indiana Statehouse or serving nearly a decade in the House. She passionately brought the voices of her north Indiana constituents to the Congress, and she was admired by colleagues on both sides of the aisle for her personal kindness. Our Congressional community also mourns the loss of two devoted members of her staff, Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson. May it be a comfort to Jackie’s husband and partner in service, Dean, the entire Walorski family, the families of all the victims and the office of Indiana’s Second Congressional District that so many join them in mourning and are praying for them at this sad time.”
- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): “This news is absolutely devastating. Jackie was a dear friend, trusted advisor, and the embodiment of integrity who achieved the admiration and respect of all her colleagues in the House. She was passionate about empowering children and families in Indiana and around the world to thrive. Her experience running a foundation in Romania that provided food and medical supplies to needy children clearly informed her time in Congress. Whether she was fighting for justice for fentanyl victims or advocating for educational choice for children, she always put others first. When there was a vacancy for Republican leader of the Ethics Committee, she was my first call. Everyone who knew Jackie knows she was tough, but fair – a no nonsense, straight shooter who knew that Congress must reflect the will of the people with decency and honesty. The House will greatly miss Jackie’s compassion, dedication, and integrity, but we should all seek to honor her memory by living our lives with the same commitment to others that Jackie lived hers. I spoke with Dean and offered my deepest condolences and also share those with the families of Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson. Like Jackie, they were committed to making the country a better place and represent what it means to be a true public servant.”
- Melania Trump: “It is heartbreaking to hear about the tragic loss of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski. She was a wonderful advocate for children. I had the privilege of working with her to help our Nation’s youth, specifically our foster children. She had a servant’s heart, and it was her mission to advocate for and help others. She will be deeply missed. My heart and prayers are with her husband, the people of Indiana, and the families and loved ones of Emma Thomson and Zach Potts.”
- Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY): “The entire House Republican Conference is heartbroken by the tragic passing of our colleague and friend, Jackie Walorski, and her two staffers Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson. Jackie was deeply beloved by all her colleagues. A woman of deep faith, Jackie led with a true servant’s heart, and she and her staff always represented her constituents and district with dedication, principles, hard work, and endless compassion. To say she will be missed does not fully embody the void that will be felt by her absence. We pray for the family, friends, colleagues, constituents, and the communities of Jackie, Zachery, and Emma at this incredibly difficult time.”
- Mike Pompeo, former secretary of state: “Truly saddened to hear of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski’s passing, along with two of her staff. It was a pleasure to serve with her in Congress. She was a wonderful friend and a dedicated colleague who loved Indiana and America. Susan and I are praying for each of their families.”
- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): “Heidi and I are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Representative Jackie Walorski, Zachery Potts, and Emma Thomson. We’re lifting up their families and loved ones in prayer during this tragic time.”
- Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX): “Absolutely heart broken to hear about the passing of my colleague Rep. Jackie Walorski and her staff. She was a true patriot and stateswoman. Please send their families strength and prayers as they deal with this tragic accident. God bless.”
While representing Indiana’s 2nd District in Congress this term, Walorski served on the House Ways and Means Committee and as the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support; she also served as the ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, according to her congressional website. She previously served on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, the House Budget Committee (113th Congress), and the House Agriculture Committee (114th Congress), where she chaired the Nutrition Subcommittee.