clearn.png
Sunday September 25th, 2022 1:04AM

Indiana Rep. Walorski, 2 staffers killed in head-on crash

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski was killed Wednesday in a car crash in her northern Indiana district along with two members of her congressional staff and another person, police said.

The crash happened about 12:30 p.m. when a car crossed the center line on a state highway and collided head-on with the SUV Walorski was riding in, the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office said. Three people in the SUV, including Walorski, 58, were killed, as was a woman driving the other car, authorities said.

Walorski, who served on the House Ways and Means Committee, was first elected to represent Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District in 2012. She previously served six years in the state's Legislature.

“She has returned home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers,” Walorski’s chief of staff Tim Cummings said in a statement.

Walorski and her husband, Dean Swihart, were previously Christian missionaries in Romania, where they established a foundation that provided food and medical supplies to impoverished children. She worked as a television news reporter in South Bend before turning to politics.

Also killed in the crash were Zachery Potts, 27, of Mishawaka, Indiana; Emma Thomson, 28, of Washington, D.C.; and Edith Schmucker, 56, of Nappanee, Indiana, according to the sheriff's office.

Cummings confirmed that Potts and Thomson were members of Walorski’s congressional staff. Thomson was Walorski’s communications director, while Potts was her district director and the Republican chairman for northern Indiana’s St. Joseph County.

Schmucker was driving the other car, according to the sheriff's office. The crash, which occurred in a rural area near the town of Wakarusa, is still under investigation.

Walorski was seeking reelection this year to a sixth term in the solidly Republican district.

She was active on agriculture and food policy in Congress, often working across the aisle on those issues. A co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus, she introduced legislation with Democrats to bring back a Nixon-era White House event on food insecurity.

President Joe Biden pointed to that work in a statement crediting Walorski for years of public service.

“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.”

Indiana Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young said he was devastated by Walorski’s death.

“Jackie loved Hoosiers and devoted her life to fighting for them,” Young said in a statement. “I’ll never forget her spirit, her positive attitude, and most importantly her friendship. All of Indiana mourns her passing, along with the tragic deaths of her staff Emma Thomson and Zach Potts.”

Walorski was a reliable Republican vote in Congress, including against accepting the Arizona and Pennsylvania electoral votes for Biden following the Capitol insurrection.

As a member of the Indiana House, Walorski pushed anti-abortion legislation opposed gambling expansion proposals. She became a favorite of the conservative tea party movement.

Walorski lost a close 2010 congressional race to Democrat Joe Donnelly before narrowly winning the seat in 2012 as Donnelly made a successful run for the Senate. She had easily won her reelection campaigns since then.

House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called Walorski a “no-nonsense, straight shooter."

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Walorski “lived a life of service.”

“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,” Pelosi said in a statement.

Pelosi ordered the flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff in Walorski’s honor. The White House said its flags would be lowered Wednesday and Thursday, and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a similar flag directive for the state.

“At every level of public service Jackie was known to be a positive force of nature, a patriot, and a relentless policymaker with an unwavering loyalty to her constituents," Holcomb, a Republican, said.

Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster of New Hampshire said she and Walorski bonded as newly elected members of Congress in late 2012 over their husbands’ shared love of jazz music and became friends.

“I was proud to work with her on a variety of critical issues, including legislation to address the addiction crisis, end sexual violence, and help military sexual assault survivors access the care they need,” Kuster said.

__

Davies reported from Indianapolis. Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed from Washington.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Indiana Rep. Walorski, 2 staffers killed in head-on crash
Republican U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski has been killed in a car accident in her northern Indiana District
5:45PM ( 2 minutes ago )
NFL appeals 6-game suspension for Browns' Deshaun Watson
A person familiar with the filing told The Associated Press that the NFL is seeking an indefinite suspension of at least one year plus a fine in appealing a disciplinary officer’s decision to suspend Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy
5:43PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Brooke Eden learned to love herself after falling in love
Country singer Brooke Eden is deep in love and ready to get married, but it was a journey of self love to get there
5:32PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Long days grind on search teams in flood-ravaged Appalachia
The long days searching debris-clogged creekbanks are taking a toll on search teams in flood-ravaged eastern Kentucky
4:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
Paul Pelosi pleads not guilty to DUI misdemeanor charges
The husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influence charges in connection with a May car crash in Northern California's wine country
4:44PM ( 1 hour ago )
Abortion vote in Kansas sparks new hope for Dems in midterms
Democrats are celebrating a stunning victory for abortion rights in Republican stronghold Kansas as proof that the issue could turn back a Republican wave this fall
4:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Scenic California river hamlet wiped out by deadly wildfire
The scenic Northern California hamlet of Klamath River was home to about 200 people, a community center, a corner store and a post office
2:36PM ( 3 hours ago )
Senate set to vote to ratify adding Sweden, Finland to NATO
The Senate is set to ratify NATO membership for Finland and Sweden with strong bipartisan support in response to Russia’s war with Ukraine
1:52PM ( 3 hours ago )
Ex-anchor Lake, lawyer Robson in tight Ariz. GOP gov's race
Vote counting continues in the close race to determine the Republican nominee for governor in Arizona, with former television news anchor Kari Lake narrowly leading lawyer Karrin Taylor Robson
1:39PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Update to electors law desperately needed, senators declare
Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin are making the case for overhauling the 1800s-era Electoral Count Act
4:49PM ( 59 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: Does health care law protect emergency abortion?
The Biden administration has filed its first legal challenge to a state abortion ban since the end of Roe v. Wade with a case that could allow hospitals to keep giving women abortion-related medical care in serious medical situations
4:39PM ( 1 hour ago )
WH says falling gas prices matter more than OPEC numbers
President Joe Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia almost three weeks ago on the possibility that he could get some additional oil production out of OPEC+
4:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Abortion court battles press on, even in deep red states
In deeply conservative Idaho, it's expected that abortion will be banned eventually, but abortion rights advocates are continuing their legal challenges
1:58PM ( 3 hours ago )
Nashville council axes GOP convention bid; Milwaukee in line
Nashville’s metro council has dealt what's likely final blow to hosting the next Republican National Convention
1:57PM ( 3 hours ago )
Lake, Robson in tight GOP primary for governor in Arizona
Arizona Republicans are deciding between a well-known former news anchor and a development attorney in the race for governor of a crucial battleground state
11:04AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
NFL appeals 6-game suspension for Browns' Deshaun Watson
A person familiar with the filing told The Associated Press that the NFL is seeking an indefinite suspension of at least one year plus a fine in appealing a disciplinary officer’s decision to suspend Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy
5:43PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Brooke Eden learned to love herself after falling in love
Country singer Brooke Eden is deep in love and ready to get married, but it was a journey of self love to get there
5:32PM ( 16 minutes ago )
Alex Jones concedes Sandy Hook attack was '100% real'
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones says he now understands it was irresponsible of him to declare the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre a hoax and that he now believes it was “100% real.”
5:21PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Idaho's top court latest in red state to weigh abortion ban
In deeply conservative Idaho, it's expected that abortion will be banned eventually, but abortion rights advocates are continuing their legal challenges
5:12PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Open primary may save Trump's GOP targets in Washington
Two Republican members of Congress from Washington who drew interparty challenges due to their vote to impeach former President Donald Trump were leading other Republicans in the state’s top two primary
5:04PM ( 44 minutes ago )