Speaker Jackie Walorski, Republican of Indiana, was killed in a automotive accident

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Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and three others, including two staff members, was killed in a car accident Wednesday afternoon, according to the Elkhart County, Ind., Sheriff’s Office.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share this statement from the Office of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in an announcement on Twitter, posting a picture that included the following text:

“The Elkhart County Sheriff’s office, Dean Swihart, has just notified Jackie’s husband that Jackie was killed in a car accident this afternoon. She has returned home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers. We will have no further 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 a northbound vehicle traveled left of the center line and collided head-on with the sport utility vehicle carrying Walorski and crew Zachery Potts, 27, and Emma Thomson, 28. All three occupants of the vehicle received south died of his injuries. Edith Schmucker, 56, was the sole occupant of the other vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ordered flags at the US Capitol to be flown at half-staff in memory of Walorski.

“A lifelong Hoosier, Congresswoman Walorski lived a life of service: whether caring for poor children in Romania, representing her community in the Indiana State House or serving nearly a decade in the House,” Pelosi said. in a statement. “She passionately brought the voices of her northern Indiana constituents to Congress, and was admired by colleagues on both sides of the aisle for her personal kindness.”

Walorski has served in Congress since 2013 representing the 2nd Congressional District. She was the top Republican on the House Ethics Committee and was 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, she was educated at Christian colleges and did mission work before coming to Capitol Hill.

McCarthy appointed her in early 2021 to the ranking Republican spot on the sensitive Ethics Committee, an evenly divided panel that handles investigations of lawmakers.

“I am honored to take on the important responsibility of holding members of the House to the highest standards of transparency, accountability and ethical conduct,” she said in a statement upon receiving that appointment.

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President Biden, who ordered the flags at the White House to be half-staffed in honor of Congress, released a statement in which he said he and first lady Jill Biden were “shocked and deeply saddened” by on Walorski’s death.

“We may have represented different parties and disagreed on many issues, but she was respected by members of both parties for her work on the House Ways and Means Committee on which she served,” Biden said .

Other Republicans expressed grief shortly after news of Walorski’s death became public.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called Walorski “a good friend.”

“She has been 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 her family, as well as the families of the two staff members who were also tragically killed.”

Sen. Todd C. Young (R-Ind.) tweeted that he was “truly devastated.”

“Jackie loved Hoosiers and spent her life fighting for them,” he wrote. “I will never forget her spirit, her positive attitude, and most importantly her friendship.”

House Minority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) tweeted that he was praying for Walorski’s family and his staff.

“So saddened to hear the terrible news of the death of Jackie Walorski and her two staff members,” Scalise wrote. “She was a dear friend and loved serving the people of Indiana in Congress.”

Should a Republican take over the House after the November midterm elections, Walorski would be on track to become chairman of the family support subcommittee and a Ways and Means worker. Walorski, an evangelical Christian, was known for her conservative stance on social issues.

Earlier this month, she opposed the Women’s Health Protection Act and the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act, calling the Democrats’ stance on abortion “dangerous” and “extreme.”

“At the urging of Speaker Pelosi, House Democrats voted again to make abortion green at any time during pregnancy, anywhere in the country, and the American taxpayers bankrolled them,” Walorski said in a statement. “Abortion is a direct affront to the demand for pro-life values ​​and the rights of conscience of Americans.”

A Donald Trump supporter, Walorski voted against impeaching the president in 2021 for his role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol, which resulted in the death of one police officer and four others and injured more than 100 law enforcement officers. She also voted against confirming Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in Arizona and Pennsylvania in the 2020 presidential election.

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