The House of Representatives held a minute’s silence on Friday for Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and two of her aides, who died in a car accident while traveling in her Indiana district a while ago. a little over a week.
Walorski, 58, was in an SUV with two members of his congressional staff on August 3 when he crossed the median of a northern Indiana highway and collided with an oncoming vehicle, according to the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office.
Walorski’s 27-year-old staffer, Zachery Potts, of Mishawaka, Indiana, was driving. The deputy’s communications director, Emma Thomson of Washington, 28, was also in the vehicle. The woman driving the other vehicle also died in the crash.
Walorski was first elected to Congress in 2012 after six years in the state Legislature and was seeking re-election this year in the solidly Republican district.
She was active on agriculture and food policy in Congress, often working across the aisle on those issues. Co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus, she introduced legislation with Democrats to bring back a Nixon-era White House event on food insecurity.
Many members of Congress were among several hundred mourners Thursday for the nearly two-hour service at the Granger Community Church near Walorski’s home in northern Indiana.
House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke about Walorski’s work as a Christian missionary in Romania with her husband, as a director of a local humane society, and as a television reporter before enter politics.
“Actually, Jackie never had a job. She always had a purpose and a mission,” McCarthy said.
Much of Walorski’s funeral highlighted her Christian faith, with her husband, Dean Swihart, an elementary school music teacher, playing saxophone with other musicians as they performed several hymns.
Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) remembers becoming friends with Walorski after joining Congress at the same time and living in the same building in Washington for many years.
Wagner held back tears as he called Walorski “one of the best”.
“Jackie was a sensible, do it and move it or lose it woman of intense strength and integrity,” Wagner said.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, said Walorski loves the country and is proud of where she is from.
“One thing about Jackie, her step was always sure, her step was always forward,” Holcomb said. “She was upbeat and enthusiastic and, yes, energetic.”