As the U.S. Senate kicked off its budget reconciliation Vote-a-rama Saturday night, one senator used a few moments to highlight Rep. Jackie Walorski and members of her staff, who died in a car accident this week.
“Mr. President, I rise today to honor the lives of four Hoosiers were lost tragically in a car accident this week,” said Sen. Todd Young, R-IN, before the Senate chamber.
He then named Walorski, 58, communications director Emma Thomson, 28, and district director Zachary Potts, 27, who were killed in a head-on collision Wednesday in Elkhart County, Indiana. Edith Schmucker, 56, the sole occupant of the other vehicle, was also killed in the collision.
“We grieve them all and we pray for their family and friends,” Young said. “Like everyone here and back home in Indiana, I’m absolutely heartbroken.”
“This is, of course, a profoundly difficult time for those of us who knew one or more of these Hoosiers, it’s such a difficult time for their families and their friends and all of us,” he added.
“I think one thing that hit everyone particularly hard was the loss of two young congressional staff members, whether you knew Zach or Emma personally or not, you certainly know their type. If you’re watching these proceedings from Capitol Hill, you know the type of hardworking, smart, committed young person that comes to work on a congressional staff. They dedicate so much of their time, their talents, and other opportunities are given up in order to serve their country.”
“We should celebrate their accomplishments while we grieve their loss. It’s a reminder, I think, for all of us to thank the many congressional staff members who do much more than the public will ever know,” Young continued.
Young also recognized his colleague, who he said had “infectious” confidence and “could light up a room.”
“Jackie knew that she belonged here. Jackie understood that this was her calling,” he said. “She didn’t need people to tell her that she belonged but got right to work because she had some things to accomplish.”
“Her confidence was infectious. Everyone saw it. Everyone was impressed by it. People love being around her and including me,” Young added. “Jackie had so many other amazing qualities.”
He continued: “She was always so full of energy. She was a lightning bolt. She could light up a room like no other. She was high-spirited and full of fire. And Jackie also had a really big heart.”
Young also described Walorski as a “larger-than-life figure” who “inspired and motivated people.”
“It’s not too much to say that Jackie’s last breath was spent in service, in service to her constituents, to her God, to the great state of Indiana and to her country,” he concluded.
Walorski’s funeral will be held on Aug. 11 at 11 a.m. ET at Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana.