Rep. Jackie Walorksi, Indiana’s 2nd District congresswoman representing northcentral Indiana, was killed in a car crash on Wednesday afternoon in Elkhart County.
According to the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office, Rep. Walorksi and two of her staffers, Zachery Potts, 27, from Mishawaka, and Emma Thomson, 28 of Washington, D.C., were driving on State Road 19 south of State Road 119, when their SUV was struck by a car driven by Edith Schumker, 56, of Nappanee. All four were killed in the crash.
In July 2019, Rep. Walorski received the Friend of Farmer award from the Indiana Soybean Alliance during their Ag Policy Summit that year.
“Farmers are at the heart of the American economy, and here in Indiana they play a vital role in making our communities strong, keeping families healthy, and helping Hoosiers succeed,” said Rep. Walorski upon receiving the award.
Rep. Walorski’s fellow congressional lawmakers, as well as state leaders and members of the ag community, have issued statements on her passing.
Former Vice President Mike Pence:
“Karen 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. 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.”
Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne 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.”
Senator 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. 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.”
Senator 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.”
Congressman Frank Mrvan (IN-1st District):
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of my Indiana colleague and Congressional-district neighbor Rep. Jackie Walorski. I am grateful for our all too brief shared time together in the U.S. House of Representatives and appreciate her consistent friendship, example of public service, and openness to conversation. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this difficult time, as well as with the loved ones of her staff member Emma Thomson and St. Joseph County Republican Chair Zachery Potts.”
Congressman Jim Banks (IN-3rd District):
“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.”
Congressman Jim Baird (IN-4th District):
“My heart is heavy with the news from northern Indiana. Jackie was a true friend & an incredible colleague. Hoosiers have lost a champion & dedicated public servant. Danise’s & my prayers are with the Walorski family, as well as the families of the two staff members who passed.”
Congresswoman Victoria Spartz (IN-5th District):
“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.”
Congressman Greg Pence (IN-6th District):
“Denise and I, and our whole team are deeply saddened to hear the tragic news of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski’s passing. She was a dear friend and trusted mentor who always had serving Hoosiers at the top of her mind. She worked tirelessly on behalf of the community she loved, and words cannot describe what a tremendous loss this is for the State of Indiana and our Nation. I ask everyone to join me in praying for the Congresswoman’s family, friends, staff and those she served during this difficult time.”
Congressman André Carson (IN-7th District):
“I am heartbroken to hear of the untimely passing of my colleague, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, two of her Senior Staffers and others who passed today in an automobile crash in Northern Indiana. 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.”
Congressman Larry Bucshon (IN-8th District):
“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.”
Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15th District and Republican leader of the House Ag Committee):
“It is with great sorrow and a heavy heart that I mourn the sudden and tragic loss of Representative Jackie Walorski and two valued members of her staff. Jackie, a former Member of the House Agriculture Committee, and a dear friend, was a thoughtful champion for her constituents in Indiana’s 2nd District. Penny and I offer our heartfelt prayers to the Walorski family, as well as the friends and families of her two staffers—Zachery Potts and Emma Thomson. A native of Johnstown, Pa., I personally knew Emma, who was a kind soul and had a passion for politics. I send my deepest condolences to her parents and the entire Thomson family. This is devastating news, and I am praying for all those impacted by this tragedy.”
Purdue University President and former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels:
“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.”
Courtney Kingery, CEO of the Indiana Soybean Alliance, the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and the Indiana Corn Growers Association:
“We are simply heartbroken to hear about Rep. Walorski’s sudden and tragic passing and that of her staff, District Director Zach Potts and Communications Director Emma Thomson. We send our deepest condolences to Rep. Walorski’s husband, Dean, the families of Mr. Potts and Ms. Thomson, and her staff. This is a terrible loss and shock for Indiana. We were together today at the grand opening of Louis Dreyfus Company’s new soy liquid lecithin plant in Claypool, Ind. – a perfect example of how she was a champion for the farmers and the agricultural businesses in her district. Rep. Walorski advocated for Indiana farmers frequently, and in 2019 we presented her with our Friend of Farmer award. She will be remembered as a dedicated leader who helped Indiana’s farmers achieve the highest value for their crops. Rep. Walorski, Mr. Potts and Ms. Thomson will be deeply missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with all involved in the accident today.”
Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron:
“Today we lost a tireless advocate for northern Indiana. From myself and the members of Indiana Farm Bureau, we extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski on her tragic passing. We knew Jackie as an enthusiastic advocate for her constituents in the Statehouse and in Washington, D.C. and she was always a great friend to Indiana agriculture. Her natural leadership and energy for getting things done will be greatly missed.”