Elkhart County, Indiana was the location of the vehicle accident that claimed the life of Walorski on Wednesday afternoon. Walorski served as the representative for Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District.
“On August 3, 2022 at approximately 12:32 PM the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office responded to a two vehicle crash on SR 19 south of SR 119. A northbound passenger car traveled left of center and collided head on with a southbound sports utility vehicle. All three occupants in the southbound vehicle died as a result of their injuries: Jackie Walorski, 58, Elkhart, Indiana Zachery Potts, 27, Mishawaka, Indiana Emma Thomson, 28, Washington, DC The sole occupant of the northbound vehicle, Edith Schmucker, 56, Nappanee, Indiana was pronounced deceased at the scene. The Elkhart County Coroner’s Office and the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office are conducting the investigation. No additional information will be released at this time.”
The Elkhart County Coroner’s Office and the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office are the ones that are leading the investigation into the collision at this time.
Zachery Potts and Emma Thompson, who were both killed in the accident, were employees of Walorski’s office.
“Dean Swihart, Jackie’s husband, was just informed by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s office that Jackie was killed in a car accident this afternoon. She has returned home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Walorski’s office said in a statement. “Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers. In addition to the devastating loss of Congresswoman Walorski, it is with a broken heart that I announce the passing of two dedicated members of her staff, Zach Potts and Emma Thomson. 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.”
While Thompson served as Walorski’s communications director, Potts was both her district director and the Republican chairman for St. Joseph County in northern Indiana.
Rep. Jim Banks, another Republican from Indiana, called Walorski a “dear friend and one of the greatest public servants I’ve ever known.”
“I am devastated and saddened to learn about the tragic passing of my dear friend Jackie Walorksi and two of her staffers,” Republican Rep. Steve Scalise said in a press release. “Jackie was an instrumental member of our conference, serving as a member of my deputy whip team for several years. She was a champion for the people of Indiana, and she will be remembered for her kindness, tenacity, and commitment to helping others.”
On Wednesday, the spokeswoman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Drew Hammill, said on Twitter that the flags on Capitol Hill would be flown at a half-staff position in honor of Walorski.
Walorski, 58 years old at the time of his death, was born in South Bend, Indiana, and resided close to Elkhart, Indiana. Previously, she and her husband served as missionaries in Romania, where they founded a charity that was responsible for distributing food and medical supplies to children who were living in poverty. Before she entered the political arena, she covered the news on television in South Bend for many years.
In addition to that, she was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and she won her first election to represent Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District in the year 2012.
In the past, she was a member of the state legislature for a total of three terms.
In the district that is almost entirely controlled by Republicans, Walorski was running for reelection this year to a sixth term.
She was an advocate for agricultural and food policy in Congress, and she often collaborated with members of opposing parties on these matters. She was a co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus, and she helped Democrats submit legislation to bring back a White House event on food insecurity that was held during the Nixon administration.
In a statement praising Walorski for his many years of public service, President Joe Biden referred to this work as an example.
“We may have represented different parties and disagreed on many issues, but she was respected by members of both parties for her work,” Biden said. “My team and I appreciated her partnership as we plan for a historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health this fall that will be marked by her deep care for the needs of rural America.”
While serving in the Indiana House of Representatives, Walorski advocated for anti-abortion legislation and opposed efforts to expand casinos.
Democrat Joe Donnelly defeated Walorski in a tight congressional contest in 2010, but Walorski came back and won the seat by a razor-thin margin in 2012 when Donnelly ran for and was elected to the Senate. Since then, she has run and won both of her reelection contests with ease.