“Jackie’s husband, Dean Swihart, was notified by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office that Jackie was killed in a car accident this afternoon. She returned home to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Keep her family in your thoughts and prayers. We will not comment at this time.
Walorski, 58, was involved in a two-vehicle crash on Route 19 south of Route 119, according to the sheriff’s office. The driver of the northbound vehicle traveled left of the center lane and collided head-on with the sport utility vehicle occupied by Walorski and employees Zachary Potts, 27, and Emma Thompson, 28. Edith Schmucker, 56, was the only passenger in the other vehicle. She died on the spot.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ordered flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff in Walorski’s honor.
“A lifelong Hoosier, Congresswoman Walorski has lived a life of service: caring for impoverished children in Romania, representing her community in the Indiana Statehouse or serving nearly a decade in the House,” Pelosi said in a statement. “He passionately brought the voices of his Northern Indiana constituents to Congress and was admired by colleagues on both sides of the aisle for his personal grace.”
Walorski has represented the 2nd Congressional District in Congress since 2013. He was the top Republican on the House Ethics Committee and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
The South Bend, Ind., native worked in journalism and academia before being elected to Congress in 2012. A religious conservative, he attended Christian colleges and did mission work before coming to Capitol Hill.
McCarthy appointed her the ranking Republican in early 2021 to the sensitive Ethics Committee, an evenly divided group that handles investigations of lawmakers.
“I am proud to take on the important responsibility of holding members of the House to the highest standards of transparency, accountability and ethical conduct,” he said in a statement upon receiving the appointment.
President Biden, who ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House in honor of the congresswoman, issued a statement saying he and first lady Jill Biden were “shocked and deeply saddened” by Walorski’s death.
“We may have represented different parties and disagreed on many issues, but he was respected by members of both parties for his work on the House Ways and Means Committee,” Biden said.
Fellow Republicans expressed grief Wednesday shortly after news of Walorski’s death became public.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Rona McDaniel called Walorski a “good friend.”
“He was an incredible public servant for Hoosiers and a leader within the Republican Party,” McDaniel said in a statement. “The entire Republican National Committee is praying for his family and the families of the two staff members who were tragically killed.”
Sen. Todd C. Young (R-Ind.) tweeted that he was “truly devastated.”
“Jackie loved Hoosiers and devoted her life to fighting for them,” he wrote. “I will never forget her spirit, her positive attitude and most importantly her friendship.”
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) tweeted that he was praying for the families of Walorski and his staff.
“Devastated to hear the terrible news of the passing of Jackie Walorski and two of his staff,” Scalise wrote. “She was a dear friend who loved serving the people of Indiana in Congress.”
Walorski will chair the Ways and Means Worker and Family Support Subcommittee if Republicans take over the House after the November midterm elections. Walorski, an evangelical Christian, was known for his conservative stances on social issues.
Earlier this month, he opposed the Women’s Health Care Act and the Act to Ensure Access to Abortion, calling Democrats’ stance on abortion “dangerous” and “radical.”
“At the urging of Speaker Pelosi, House Democrats again voted to allow abortion at any time during pregnancy, anywhere in the country, and bankrolled by American taxpayers,” Walorski said in a statement. “Abortion on demand is a direct affront to pro-life values and the conscience rights of Americans.”
Walorski, a Donald Trump supporter, voted against impeaching the president in 2021 after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol killed a police officer and four others and injured more than 100 law enforcement officers. He also voted against confirming Democrat Joe Biden’s wins in Arizona and Pennsylvania in the 2020 presidential election.