Area leaders react to death of US Rep. Jackie Walorski

Area leaders are reacting to the death of US Rep. Jackie Walorski, who died along with three others in a crash in Elkhart County on Wednesday. 


The following statement was tweeted by Jackie Walorski's official Twitter account:

"Dean Swihart, Jackie’s husband, was just informed by the Elkhart County Sheriff’s office 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."


President Joe Biden released the following statement:

"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."


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered all flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half staff following Walorski's passing, and released the following statement:

"Today, the United States House of Representatives sadly mourns the sudden and tragic passing of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski.  A lifelong Hoosier, Congresswoman Walorski lived a live of service, whether caring for impoverished children in Romania, representing her community in the Indiana Statehouse or serving nearly a decade in the House.  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.  Our Congressional community also mourns the loss of two devoted members of her staff, Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson.  May it be a comfort to Jackie's husband and partner in service, Dean, the entire Walorski family, the families of all the victims and the office of Indiana's Second Congressional District that so many join them in mourning and praying for them at this sad time."


Former President Donald Trump released the following statement on his social media platform Truth Social:

"I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my good friend, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, her aide Emma Thomson, and community leader Zachery Potts.  Jackie was a wonderful woman and an impassioned advocate for the people of Indiana.  We worked together very closely, and I was privileged to know her for many years.  May the families and loved ones of Jackie, Emma, and Zachery find comfort during this tragic time.  They will be greatly missed!"


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted:

"Dean Swihart, Jackie's husband, was just informed by the Elkhart County Sheriff's Office 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."


Former South Bend Mayor and current Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg posted on Twitter:

"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. Though we came from very different places politically, she was always prepared to work together where there was common ground, always decent and straightforward, and she cared deeply about her work and her constituents."


Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has ordered all flags in Indiana to be flown at half staff until Walorski's burial, and issued the following statement:

"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 better, the epitome of a good and faithful servant. She, and the example she set, will be missed every day forward.”


Vice President Kamala Harris tweeted:

"This evening we mourn the loss of Representative Jackie Walorski of Indiana and those also killed in a tragic accident. Doug and I send our deepest condolences to their families and loved ones during this difficult time."


Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita released the following statement:

"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. In addition to everything else, she had a great sense of humor. She will be missed. Our sympathies also go out to the families of Zach Potts and Emma Thomson who died in the same tragic accident. Hoosiers across the state mourn the loss of these public servants."


South Bend Mayor James Mueller released the following statement:

"I am deeply saddened by the tragic passing of our Representative Jackie Walorski, as well as her Communications Director Emma Thomson and District Director Zachery Potts. Serving in Congress since 2013, Jackie was a force to be reckoned with and represented our community with passion and conviction. Today our community lost a dedicated public servant."


Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson released the following statement:

"I am shocked and saddened to learn of Rep. Jackie Walorski's passing and the passing of her staff members.  This is a devastating loss for Elkhart, Indiana, and the nation.  Jackie was a warrior for Hoosiers in Washington and her collaboration and passion was felt right here in Elkhart.  Her dedication to serving our community will be hard to replace. Her family, her colleagues, and her staff are in my prayers."


Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has ordered flags to be flown at half staff until Friday, and released the following statement:

“Congresswoman Walorski represented her district with distinction for years both in the statehouse and in the United State Congress, and our thoughts are with her family, friends, and constituents. We also mourn the loss of Zach Potts and Emma Thomson, dedicated members of her staff who embodied the spirit of public service. I have lowered flags in Michigan to honor their memory.”


Former Indiana Governor and Vice President Mike Pence tweeted:

"Our prayers are with her husband Dean, her family, and the families of Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson who also perished in the crash. We're praying God’s comfort over their families and to all who loved and admired this truly inspiring Indiana leader. God Bless Jackie Walorski."


Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood released the following statement:

"It is with great sadness that I learned of the tragic event and recent passing of Representative Jackie Walorski. On behalf of all the Citizens of Mishawaka, Jamie and I send our deepest condolences to her husband Dean and Representative Walorski’s family and the people of the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana during this difficult time. The City of Mishawaka and our Citizens mourn with you and together we commemorate the extraordinary life of this remarkable woman who devoted her life to serving and protecting a strong democracy as well as individual freedom and liberty.  Jackie’s work on behalf of our community, the state of Indiana and to the United States of America stands as a testament to the power of a passionate and powerful voice, and her extraordinary leadership can and has made a difference, first in our community, then in Indiana, and now across the United States. Representative Jackie Walorski’s tireless efforts earned her not only the respect of thousands who were inspired by her commitment to our nation, democracy, conservatism, but more importantly one Nation under God. A strong woman of deep and enduring faith, Jackie’s legacy stands as a model to all of us to an unwavering service to others and our Country above self. She is and will forever be a patriot. Jackie will be missed."


U.S. Representative Fred Upton released the following statement:

“I am indeed heartbroken to hear the news of my colleague, and next-door neighbor, Jackie Walorski. Of course, we were close and usually traveled on the same plane back and forth from South Bend to DC and back home usually sitting next to each other. She was such a respected member I helped get on the powerful House and Ways and Means Committee and was the top Republican on the important Ethics Committee as well. She had no enemies and worked so hard on veteran issues as well. Her Hoosier heart was never in doubt, and she led a life of service from wife, missionary, and leader in the Congress working on bipartisan issues, and as a gracious and thoughtful lady. Yes, I have heard from so many colleagues shocked at the tragedy within an hour of the news. News made particularly more tragic with the loss of two of her loyal staff.”


Indiana University South Bend, Zachery Potts' alma mater, tweeted:

"Indiana University just learned that Zachery Potts, an @IUSouthBend alumnus, also passed today in the tragic accident with Congresswoman Jackie Walorski.  Our hearts are with his family.  This is truly a sad day for our IU community."


Chairman of the Indiana Republican Party and General Counsel of the Republican National Committee Kyle Hupfer tweeted:

"Today, we mourn the tragic loss of Rep. Jackie Walorski and members of her team, Zach Potts and Emma Thomson. In her years representing the people of northern Indiana as both a state representative and member of Congress, Rep. Walorski built a legacy of selfless service. It was a privilege of mine to work alongside her, as I have never met a more fierce or effective fighter for what she believed in. It takes an incredible team to work and stand beside an effective elected official. There were no better examples than Zach and Emma, who served not only Rep. Walorski, but their district, state, and country. I ask all Hoosiers to please join me in praying for the families of each of the victims of this tragic accident as we mourn these difficult losses."


Riley High School, Walorski's alma mater, tweeted:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Riley High School graduate and U.S. representative for Indiana’s 2nd congressional district, Jackie Walorski's family and friends."


Taylor University, Walorski's alma mater, released the following statement:

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, a 1985 alumna of Taylor University, who died in yesterday’s auto accident in Elkhart County, Indiana. Ms. Walorski’s vibrant faith led her and her husband, Dean Swihart, to serve for four years in Romania as Christian missionaries. That faith also animated her nearly two decades of public service – first, for three terms in the Indiana Legislature, and since 2013 as a member of the United States House of Representatives. The Taylor community is praying for Ms. Walorski’s family, loved ones, and friends, as well as the family and friends of the others whose lives were lost in this tragic accident."


University of Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., released the following statement:

“The University community deeply mourns the tragic passing of U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Walorski. She was always a gracious and welcoming supporter of Notre Dame students in Washington, D.C., and frequently invited our faculty to testify on issues before Congress. Congresswoman Walorski was also an advocate and supporter of key initiatives on campus, including the Notre Dame Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities and its important work of building evidence and data to strengthen anti-poverty intervention programs. We pray for her and the other accident victims and their families, including Jackie’s husband, Dean. May God welcome them into eternal rest and give comfort to those who grieve their loss.”


Penn-Harris-Madison Schools issued the following statement:

"Congresswoman Jackie Walorski was a great friend and supporter of Penn-Harris-Madison, visiting our schools many times over the years. We always looked forward to her visits. Jackie was a great champion for public education and it showed with her positivity and enthusiasm during her visits. The entire P-H-M family mourns her loss. Our deepest sympathies go out to Jackie's husband and fellow educator Dean Swihart and to Jackie’s mother Martha. Our thoughts and prayers are also with the other three families who lost their loved ones. Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson were two dedicated public servants in the early years of their careers. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone touched by these tragic events."


St. Joseph County Sheriff William Redman released the following statement:

"On behalf of myself and the entire St. Joseph County Police Department I want to express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of Indiana Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Zachery Potts, Emma Thomson and Edith Schmucker.  The news of their passing was both shocking and devastating to hear.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this horrible tragedy."


The South Bend Police Department posted a statement on Facebook:

"The South Bend Police Department extends its sincere condolences to the families of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson. Born in our city, Rep. Walorski has represented our community in Congress for nearly a decade. We join our neighbors in sadness with thoughts and prayers for their loved ones."


The Mishawaka Police Department released the following statement:

"Our hearts are heavy over the sudden death of our Congresswoman Jackie Walorski. Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones affected by this tragic loss. Thank you, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, for your faithful service to our community and to our state. You will be greatly missed and your absence will be felt far beyond our city."


Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman posted a statement on Facebook:

"We are saddened to learn of the passing of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, as well as the families of all involved in an accident just outside of Wakarusa this afternoon."


Rep. Jim Banks released the following statement:

“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.”


Indiana Senator Todd Young tweeted:

"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. All of Indiana mourns her passing, along with the tragic deaths of her staff Emma Thomson and Zach Potts. Please join me in praying for their families in this difficult time."


White House Chief of Staff Ronald Klain tweeted:

"Hoosiers everywhere mourn the loss of Rep. Jackie Walorski and her staffers Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson. Condolences to their families."


St. Joseph County Commissioner Andrew Kostielney released the following statement:

“Jackie Walorski was a remarkable warrior, not just for the citizens of St. Joseph County, but the entire State of Indiana. She always put the needs of her constituents first. She was a kind and giving person and she will be missed greatly.”


St. Joseph County Commissioner Deborah Fleming released the following statement:

“I am so saddened to learn of the passing of Jackie and two of her staff members. She was a great advocate for her district and my prayers are with the families of all connected to this tragic accident.”


St. Joseph County Commissioner Derek Dieter released the following statement:

“Jackie was a great friend to St. Joseph County and a tireless fighter for our residents. Her tenacity and love for her district will be truly missed.”


Indiana Senator Mike Braun released the following statement:

“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."


Former Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly tweeted:

"I am deeply saddened by the death of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski today. We also grieve for the loss of life of Zachery Potts, Emma Thomson, and Edith Schmucker. This is a terrible tragedy."


Former Indiana Governor and current Purdue University President Mitch Daniels released the following statement:

“There could not be worse news. I’m heartsick at this tragedy. Jackie Walorski was a great public servant, a brave and constant ally for change during all my years in elected office, and a great representative of her district at both the state and national levels. I can’t say how much I’ll miss her.”


The Walkerton Police Department released the following statement:

"The Walkerton Police Department sends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Indiana Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, St. Joseph County Republican Chair Zachary Potts, Emma Thomson and Edith Schmucker. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time."


Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan released the following statement:

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Jackie Walorski. Jackie loved Hoosiers, her country and served with honor in Congress. My prayers are with her family as well as the families of Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson”


Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released the following statement:

“I am devastated to learn of the passing of my good friend, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski. She was an incredible public servant for Hoosiers and leader within the Republican Party. The entire Republican National Committee is praying for her family, as well as the families of the two staff who were also tragically killed.”


The South Bend Chamber of Commerce tweeted:

"We are deeply saddend by the death of US Rep @jackiewalorski in a car accident today.  She was a tremendous advocate for business, working with her on so many initiatives.  Our condolences to her family and staff, as well as those staff members also lost.  RIP"


Indiana Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch released the following statement:

"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."


Rep. Jake Teshka released the following statement:

"Jackie was a very good friend. I'm devastated. This is a major loss for our community."


Rep. Dale DeVon issued the following statement:

"We're trying to understand the magnitude of the loss. Jackie and I have been friends for over 20 years and worked together on countless occasions to help constituents. I can attest to her passion for service and her love of all Hoosiers. I'm deeply saddened by this news and I'm praying for her family and friends, as well as for the others who lost their lives in this horrific tragedy."


The Indiana Democratic Party tweeted:

"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 & the USA. Our thoughts & prayers go out to their families, to members of the communities across #IN02, and to the @indgop. If you’re a Hoosier, you’re a member of one family, and Indiana tragically lost dedicated family members today. @RepWalorski was a dedicated public servant, who cared deeply about her constituents and northern Indiana. #IN02"


Indiana Congressman Andre Carson tweeted:

"I, along with all Hoosiers are devastated by this loss. I am praying for the families, the staff and constituents of the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana."


Indiana Senator David Niezgodski tweeted:

"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."


State Representative Maureen Bauer tweeted:

"My condolences go out to the family and loved ones of U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, her Communications Director Emma Thomson and St. Joseph County Republican Party Chairman Zachery Potts. I send my thoughts and prayers to find peace during this heartbreaking time."


Indiana Chamber CEO and President Kevin Brinegar released the following statement:

“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.”


Indiana Senator Linda Rogers released the following statement:

"I am heartbroken by the tragic loss of my friend, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, and her two staffers and friends Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson.  Congresswoman Jackie Walorski was both a beloved friend of mine and a well-respected and effective member of Congress who worked tirelessly for the people of Indiana. She was extremely community-oriented, always interacting with her constituents, was a friend to all and preferred to be called Jackie. As an advocate for the district, I admired her and looked up to her leadership and we worked together frequently. I will miss her dearly and I know that she will never be forgotten.  Zach was a close friend of mine who I worked with on numerous occasions. Zach was a brilliant, civic-minded young man who was always willing to help everyone and cared deeply for our community.  I extend my deepest condolences to Jackie's mother Martha, her husband Dean, as well as the families of Zach and Emma, including Zach's fiancée Ashlea Davis. I also grieve for the loss of Edith Schmucker, who was the sole occupant of the northbound vehicle. I will be keeping all of them and their families in my thoughts and prayers."


Indiana Senator Mike Bohacek released the following statement:

"I am devastated to learn of the passing of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and those traveling with her this afternoon. Northwest Indiana, our state and our country was blessed to have such a strong woman diligently care for our communities. I am praying for the families of those who passed this afternoon, and will grieve alongside our shared constituents and the state."


Executive director and CEO of the Food Bank of Northern Indiana Marijo Martinec released the following statement:

“Jackie Walorski has been a tremendous advocate for hungry people in our community.  Her leadership and service to the district, as well as her regular visits to the food bank, will be truly missed.”


Executive director of Feeding Indiana's Hungry Emily Weikert Bryant released the following statement:

“Congresswoman Walorski was a dedicated public servant and a leader in the anti-hunger movement as co-chair of the Congressional Hunger Caucus,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “She regularly shared her time with our members and staff, was an expert at federal anti-hunger programs, and leaves a legacy of bi-partisan work to lessen hunger in America.”


Elkhart County Commissioner Brad Rogers released the following statement:

"I was among those shocked and saddened to hear of the deaths of my good friends Rep. Jackie Walorski and Zach Potts, along with staffer Emma Thomson following a car crash in Elkhart County today. I first got to know Jackie on the campaign trail during her initial run for congress in 2010. Her years of dedicated service to our region was exemplary. Rep. Walorski and her staff were always ready to listen and were prepared to provide the best constituent service possible. My prayers are with the families of all those involved in this terrible incident."


President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Michiana Debie M. Coble posted a statement on Facebook:

“Goodwill Industries is saddened by the sudden loss of Congresswoman @jackiewalorski. Jackie was a great friend of our work and mission. Her efforts on behalf of the Nurse Family Partnership initiative created opportunities for hundreds of Hoosier parents and babies. She loved her community and the people she served. Jackie, we will miss you. We express our deepest sympathy to her family as well as the families of Zachery Potts, Emma Thomson, and Edith Schmucker."

The South Bend Public Transportation Corporation posted a statement on Facebook:

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski and her staff members Zach Potts and Emma Thomson following this afternoon's tragic car accident.  Transpo staff met regularly with Rep. Walorski to discuss transportation initiatives and she was on site for the opening of Transpo's CNG fueling center."


La Porte County Sheriff John T. Boyd released the following statement:

“The entire La Porte County Sheriff’s Office extends our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Jackie Walorski, US Representative for Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District. We are shocked and saddened to learn of the news of her untimely and tragic passing. Jackie was a dear friend, loved by many and a public servant.  We appreciated her unwavering support of law enforcement and first responders. She frequently took the time to call and check in on us, usually on a Thursday afternoon or Friday as she was traveling back to the District from Washington wanting to see how our deputies were doing, what if any issues they were facing and if she could do anything to support us. Her friendship, leadership and commitment to public safety will be terribly missed across northern Indiana.”


The City of La Porte Police Department released the following statement:

"The La Porte Police Department wishes to extend their sincere condolences to the family, friends, and acquaintances of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson. Congresswoman Walorski had a relationship with the La Porte Police Department and as recently as Tuesday, the day prior to this devastating and tragic accident, she had been speaking with the department about a new bill that was about to be introduced and funding/grant opportunities. It was always a pleasure to deal with Congresswoman Walorski and her staff and this sadness and this unbelievable news is very hard to work through and we will always be grateful for the relationship we had with her."


Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter released the following statement:

"Jackie is someone that I admired because she could just talk about a subject matter off the top of her head and she always knew what she was talking about.  I had her as the keynote speaker at each one of my campaign fundraisers and she spoke at several Lincoln Day Dinners where she always brought the house down, if you will. I hope many stay inspired by her talents and her passion for fighting for this area."


Michiana Area Council of Governments issued the following statement:

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Rep. Jackie Walorski and her staff. She always made herself available to talk with us about the importance of making significant investments in our transportation network and regional priorities. We send our condolences to her family and her staff members and their families who were lost as well."

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