House

Members of Congress mourn Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.)
Peter Afriyie
The Washington, D.C., office door of Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), who was killed along with two of her aides in a car accident, adorned with flowers and memorial messages on Thursday, August 4, 2022.

Members of Congress mourned the loss of the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) on Thursday, a little more than a week after the congresswoman died in a car accident.

Walorski’s funeral took place at Granger Community Church in Indiana, according to the South Bend Tribune. She will be buried at the Southlawn Cemetery.

Walorski, 58, along with two of her staffers, Zachery Potts, 27, and Emma Thomson, 28, died on Aug. 3 in a car accident in Indiana. The two-car crash occurred at around 12:30 p.m., according to the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office.

The House sergeant at arms coordinated a plane for members of Congress to fly to South Bend, Indiana, on Thursday for the funeral, according to Punchbowl News.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) all spoke at the service.

“When the minister came up and read about all the occupations of Jackie — be at the Humane Society, reporter, a missionary, a congresswoman. To tell you the truth, Jackie never had a job. She always had a purpose and a mission,” McCarthy said.

“Being a missionary in Romania, helping the underprivileged, the homeless. She’s always had a servant’s heart. Always,” he added.

Walorski was first elected to Congress in 2012, serving as the ranking member of the House Ethics Committee and the top Republican on the Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support at the time of her death.

She also sat on the Ways and Means Committee.

Before serving in Congress, Walorski was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives for about five years, and she spent time as a missionary in Romania. She also worked as a reporter at one point in her life.

Walorski was a close friend and ally to McCarthy, according to Punchbowl News. The Republican leader spoke about their relationship at Thursday’s funeral service.

“You’re gonna hear a lot, you know how Jackie lights up a room? I want to be honest with you. She doesn’t just light up a room, she runs the room,” he said, eliciting a chuckle from the crowd.

“With so many things that happen in Congress, it would be Jackie who would call me, or be right behind me, and kind of give me that extra spine you needed. You didn’t even know you needed it at that moment in time, but she did,” he added.

Wagner, who was elected to the House in the same cycle as Walorski, spoke about their “small sorority” of Republican female lawmakers arriving in Washington.

“We were a small sorority of only 19 Republican women serving in the 113th Congress, and we needed to stick together. I may not have been a Hoosier from Indiana, but Jackie and [former Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.)] quickly decided that a conservative, Midwestern Show-Me State girl was good enough for their ranks, and we became fast friends,” she said.

The Missouri Republican choked up when speaking about Walorski.

“To my friends and colleagues in Congress, we have truly lost one of the best of us. We will honor the memory of Jackie Walorski by putting one foot in front of the next in our service to God and country,” she said.

Walorski’s husband, Dean Swihart, also spoke at the funeral service.

“Jackie loves me dearly, but here’s a small list of the things she loved,” he said.

“She loved riding on her cool chopper bicycle that looked like a Harley Davidson with her fists hanging from the, what do you call, the ape hangers. She loved pontooning. As Pastor John already said, she loved palm trees. She loved privacy. She did so much flying with Congress that she was happy to stay at home under our fake palm tree and it was private enough in our backyard that we could swim and the world didn’t know and it was just wonderful. And she enjoyed kicking around in that pool,” he told the audience.

“She also loved our two dogs … she loved catching bass, and she loved darkening up her farmer’s tan,” he added.

The process to fill Walorski’s seat in Indiana’s 21st Congressional District is underway. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) scheduled a special election for Nov. 8.

Tags Ann Wagner Dean Swihart Elkhart County Sheriff's Office Emma Thomson Eric Holcomb House House Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support House Ways and Means Committee Indiana Indiana House of Representatives Jackie Walorski Jackie Walorski Kevin McCarthy Kevin McCarthy South Bend Steve Scalise Susan Brooks the Humane Society Zachery Potts
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