Members of Congress mourned the loss of the late Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) Thursday, just over a week after the congresswoman was killed in a car accident.
Walorski’s funeral took place at Granger Community Church in Indiana, according to the South Bend Tribune. She will be buried in Southlawn Cemetery.
Walorski, 58, along with two of his employees, Zachery Potts, 27, and Emma Thomson, 28, died on August 3 in a car accident in Indiana. The two-car crash happened around 12:30 p.m., according to the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office.
The House sergeant-at-arms arranged a plane for members of Congress to fly to South Bend, Indiana, on Thursday for the funeral, according to Punchbowl News.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Minority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) spoke at the service.
“When the minister came over and read about all of Jackie’s occupations: Humane Society, reporter, missionary, congressman. To tell the truth, Jackie never had a job. She always had a purpose and a mission,” McCarthy said.
“Being a missionary in Romania, helping the disadvantaged, the homeless. He has always had a servant’s heart. Always,” he added.
Walorski was first elected to Congress in 2012, serving as ranking member of the House Ethics Committee and top Republican on the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee at the time of her death.
He also sat on the Ways and Means Committee.
Before serving in Congress, Walorski was a member of the Indiana House of Representatives for about five years and spent time as a missionary in Romania. She also worked as a reporter at one point in her life.
Walorski was a close friend and ally of McCarthy’s, according to Punchbowl News. The Republican leader spoke about their relationship at Thursday’s funeral.
“You’re going to hear a lot, you know how Jackie lights up a room? I want to be honest with you. She doesn’t just light up a room, she runs the room,” she said, eliciting a laugh from the crowd.
“With so much going on in Congress, it would be Jackie who would call me, or be right behind me, and give me that extra support that you needed. You didn’t even know you needed it at the time, but she did,” she added.
Wagner, who was elected to the House in the same cycle as Walorski, spoke about her “little sisterhood” of Republican lawmakers coming to Washington.
“We were a small sorority of just 19 Republican women serving in the 113th Congress, and we needed to stick together. I may not have been an Indiana Hoosier, but Jackie and [former Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.)] She quickly decided that a conservative Midwestern girl from Show-Me State was good enough for her ranks, and we quickly became friends,” she said.
The Missouri Republican choked on Walorski.
“To my friends and colleagues in Congress, we have truly lost one of the best of us. We will honor the memory of Jackie Walorski by putting one foot in front of the other in our service to God and country,” he said.
Walorski’s husband, Dean Swihart, also spoke at the funeral.
“Jackie loves me very much, but here’s a short list of the things she loved,” she said.
“He loved riding his cool chopper bike that looked like a Harley Davidson with the cuffs hanging off of, what’s it called, monkey hangers. She loved the pontoon boat. As Pastor John already said, she loved palm trees. She loved the privacy. He did so many flights with Congress that he was happy to stay home under our fake palm tree and it was private enough in our backyard that we could swim and the world wouldn’t know and it was just wonderful. And I enjoyed kicking around in that pool,” he told the audience.
“He also loved our two dogs… he loved catching bass and he loved darkening his farmer’s tan,” he added.
The process to fill Walorski’s seat in Indiana’s 21st Congressional District is underway. Governor Eric Holcomb (right) scheduled a special election for November 8.