Indiana, national leaders react to U.S. Rep. Walorski's death

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U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind.

Editor's note: The Elkhart County Sheriff's Office released a statement Thursday morning saying it had been wrong about the direction in which each vehicle was traveling and about which vehicle crossed the center line. The vehicle Walorski rode in was traveling north, not south, and crossed the center line, police now say.

Indiana and national leaders reacted Wednesday afternoon to the news that U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, a South Bend Republican, was killed in a car crash in Elkhart County.

Three other people died in the crash, which took place while Walorski and two others were in a sport-utility vehicle heading north on Indiana 19 south of Wakarusa around 12:30 p.m., according to police. The vehicle Walorski rode in was driven by Zachery Potts, 27, and crossed the center line for "reasons unknown at this time," colliding with another sport-utility vehicle going south. Emma Thomson, 28, also was in the car with Walorski. The driver of the other vehicle involved, Edith Schmucker, 56, also was killed.

Walorski, 58, has served Indiana's 2nd district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2013.

What we knowU.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski: What to know about her life, career and death

President Joe Biden

"Jill and I are shocked and saddened by the death of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski of Indiana along with two members of her staff in a car accident today in Indiana.Born in her beloved South Bend as the daughter of a meat-cutter and firefighter, she spent a lifetime serving the community that she grew up in – as a journalist, a nonprofit director, a state legislator, and eventually as a Member of Congress for the past nine and half years.

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. She also served as co-chair of the House Hunger Caucus, and 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.

We send our deepest condolences to her husband, Dean, to the families of her staff members, Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson, who lost their lives in public service, and to the people of Indiana’s Second District who lost a representative who was one of their own."

Rep. Jim Banks

My heart is broken for Dean, the Walorski family, and all who knew and loved my friend Jackie. Jackie was a true public servant - selfless, humble, and compassionate. She was a devout Christian, a passionate advocate for life, and a leader among Hoosier representatives. Everything Jackie did was to serve others. Before Congress, she served in the Indiana Statehouse and she and her husband served as missionaries in Romania where they provided impoverished children food and medical care. From my first day in Congress, Jackie showed me kindness and grace. She had a heart of gold, and I will miss her dearly. Please join Amanda and I in praying for Jackie's loved ones and the friends and family of her two staff members who also lost their lives in this tragic accident.

Gov. Eric Holcomb

Janet and I are devastated by the tragic loss of our friend Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and her two staffers - Emma Thomson and Zach Potts - earlier today. Our broken hearts go out to her husband Dean and the entire family during this time of unimaginable mourning. At every level of public service Jackie was known to be a positive force of nature, a patriot, and a relentless policy maker with an unwavering loyalty to her constituents. Jackie’s record of achievement is impossible to quantify. She will be remembered as a fighter with a huge heart that always went the extra mile and I’ll treasure the times we walked a few of those together. Every waking moment for her was energetically devoted to improving the lives of all Hoosiers, the epitome of a good and faithful servant. She, and the example she set, will be missed every day forward.

Lt. Gov. Crouch

"I was shocked and heartbroken when I received the news today about the tragic death of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski. Jackie and I served together in the Indiana House of Representatives, and she was a fighter for her constituents and conservative Hoosier values. My heart goes out to her husband, Dean, and the rest of her family and friends. She will be deeply missed."

Sen. Mike Braun

“Jackie Walorski was a tireless advocate for the Hoosiers she represented and a kind friend to everyone she met. She faithfully served her constituents and her Lord and Savior, and I trust she is now wrapped in the arms of Christ. This is a devastating loss, and we grieve for her two staff members – Zach and Emma – who had their whole lives ahead of them. Please join me and Maureen in praying for the families and friends of those lost on this tragic day for Indiana.”

House Speaker Todd Huston

“Jackie was an incredible public servant and tenacious advocate for Hoosiers, and my heart breaks for her family and all those who knew her and served alongside her. I'm grateful for Jackie's years of service and friendship, and she's left an indelible impression on all of us. I'm also praying for the families of her two young staff, and the other driver who passed away in this tragic crash."

Former Indiana Senator Dan Coats

“Marsha and I were shocked today to learn about the loss of three dedicated public servants. Over the years, I joined Jackie at parades and events, and we got to know each other well. I deeply respected Jackie’s passion to serve Hoosiers. She was a dynamic representative for northern Indiana who was valued and loved by all. On this tragic day, we mourn the loss of Jackie and her two staff members, and we pray for their family and friends.”

Secretary Pete Buttigieg

I'm shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic death of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and the other victims of this terrible crash.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy

GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

I am devastated to learn of the passing of my close friend, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski. She was an incredible public servant for Hoosiers and leader within the Republican Party.

Indiana State Senator David Niezgodski

I’m saddened to hear of the passing of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Zachery Potts, and Emma Thompson, who were killed in a car wreck this afternoon. Congresswoman Walorski has represented our community for a decade and was fiercely dedicated to our state and her constituents.

Former Vice President Mike Pence

Karen Pence and I are heartbroken by the tragic passing of our dear friend Rep. Jackie Walorski. She served Indiana in the Statehouse and the Congress with integrity and principle for nearly two decades and will be deeply missed.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita

Jackie Walorski was a woman who stood strong in her values, cared for her family, and served Hoosiers well. I have many great memories and stories of our time together in Congress and on the campaign trail.

Rep. Liz Cheney

Heartbroken to hear the terrible news about Jackie Walorski, Zachary Potts and Emma Thompson. There was no more dedicated or effective member of Congress than Jackie. I was proud to be her friend. Phil and I are keeping Jackie, Zachary and Emma’s families in our prayers.

The Republican Study Committee

Today, we lost one of our greatest members. Jackie Walorski lived a life of public service and was a friend to all who knew her. Please join us in praying for Jackie’s family and friends and for the loved ones of her two staffers who also lost their lives in this tragic accident.

Rep. Larry Bucshon

I am devastated and heartbroken by the deaths of my colleague and friend Jackie Walorski and her staff members Zachary Potts and Emma Thomson in a car crash earlier today. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of their families and friends.

Indiana House Democrats

Our representatives and staff are valued and cherished members of our team and losing even a single person is heartbreaking, let alone three. Our caucus is sending thoughts, prayers, well wishes and hopes for peace to Rep. Walorski, Zachery and Emma's families tonight.

Mike Schmuhl, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party

“On behalf of the Indiana Democratic Party, I want to express our sincere condolences to the friends and loved ones of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Chairman Zach Potts, and Emma Thomson.

Jackie Walorski was a dedicated public servant, who cared deeply about her constituents and northern Indiana. If you’re a Hoosier, you’re a member of one family, and Indiana tragically lost dedicated family members today.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families, to members of the communities across the Second District, and to the Indiana Republican Party.

Congresswoman Walorski served with devotion and passion in both the Indiana General Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives. She made a lasting impact on Indiana and the United States.”

Indiana State Rep. Phil GiaQuinta

“My heart goes out to the families of Congresswoman Walorski, Emma Thomson and Zach Potts. Working in politics, you develop a tight bond with the people you work with, and the loss of three dedicated Hoosiers is insurmountable. Congresswoman Walorski and I served in the Indiana House of Representatives with the shared values of creating a better state. May the memories of their legacies and work be a blessing to those who loved them and the people they served.”

Indiana Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray

"I am shocked and devastated to learn of the deaths of Congresswoman Walorski and those who were involved in the tragic car accident this afternoon. Congresswoman Walorski was a ferocious advocate for her constituents and cared deeply about making Indiana and our country a better place for all of us. I know my family, and my colleagues here at the Statehouse, will be grieving alongside her loved ones and constituents."

Rep. Victoria Spartz

My thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Jackie Walorksi’s family and all the families affected by this heartbreaking tragedy. Jackie was a good friend and a strong fighter for our country and our freedoms. She will be missed dearly.

Sen. Todd Young

I'm truly devastated. Jackie loved Hoosiers and devoted her life to fighting for them. I'll never forget her spirit, her positive attitude, and most importantly her friendship.

Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar

“I am shocked and very saddened by the sudden passing of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and her two staffers, Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson, in a car accident today in Elkhart County.

Congresswoman Walorski was such a pleasure to work with – both in her tenure at the Indiana Statehouse and in Congress. She always fought hard for her constituents and was a trusted ally in advocating for policies to better the lives of Hoosiers. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce sends its sincere condolences to the Congresswoman’s family and the families of all lost today.”

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Congresswoman Jackie Walorski's death: Indiana, national leaders react