Remembering Rep. Jackie Walorski's life of public service

NOW: Remembering Rep. Jackie Walorski’s life of public service

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US Rep. Jackie Walorski died in a car crash in Elkhart County Wednesday afternoon. We are taking a look back at her life and her dedication to public service.

Rep. Walorski was raised in the Gilmer Park neighborhood of South Bend. She attended Hay Elementary and graduated from Riley High School in 1981.

She started her college education at Liberty Baptist College, then transferred to Taylor University, a Christian college closer to home.

After graduation, Rep. Walorski worked as a reporter in South Bend from 1985-1989, then worked for the St. Joseph County Humane Society, Ancilla College, then IU South Bend.

After she and Dean Swihart married in 1995, the two did missionary work in Romania. They started an agency to help provide food and medical supplies for the country's children.

In 2004, she was elected to the first of her three terms in the Indiana House of Representatives.

In 2009 she challenged Democrat Joe Donnelly for Indiana's District 2 but lost in a very close election.

Two years later she won the Second District seat after Donnelly left the house to become a US Senator.

Rep. Walorski was serving her second term in the US House of Representatives when she died on Wednesday.

Rep. Walorski was a leading voice for military veterans and helped them fight for better pay, benefits and health care at the VA.

She was a ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee which helps prioritize government spending. In 2019, she was named to the subcommittee on worker and family support, which she was very passionate about.

Rep. Walorski was also very active in the pro-life movement.

In 2020, she worked tirelessly on a coronavirus crisis subcommittee and just last year became the ranking Republican on the House Ethics Committee.

Even if you disagreed with Rep. Walorski on any particular political issue, she was still willing to shake your hand, look you in the eye, and have a conversation.

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