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Ind. Rep. Jackie Walorski, Who Had Anti-LGBTQ+ History, Dies in Crash

Jackie Walorski at a campaign stop
Jackie Walorski (center) and her husband Dean Swihart. Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and two staff members died Wednesday afternoon in the accident on an Indiana highway. 

Cwnewser

A congresswoman and several of her staff members have died in an accident on a state highway in Indiana.

Rep. Jackie Walorski and two staff members were killed in a car crash Wednesday afternoon, said local authorities in Elkhart County, Ind.

"It is with a heavy heart that I am sharing this statement from the Office of Congresswoman Jackie Walorski," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in an announcement on Twitter.

"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."

Walorski, 58, was involved in a two-vehicle accident on State Route 19, the sheriff's office reports. As a southbound sport utility vehicle carrying Walorski, Zachery Potts, 27, and Emma Thomson, 28, traveled to the left of the center line, a northbound vehicle collided head-on with the SUV. All three died.

The driver of the other vehicle, Edith Schmucker, 56, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Walorski had an anti+LGBTQ+ voting record. In the latest Human Rights Campaign Congressional Scorecard, which evaluates members of Congress on their votes on LGBTQ+ rights, Walorski scored a 7 out of 100. She supported the "traditional" definition of marriage and opposed marriage equality. In 2016, she voted against an amendment that would have ratified former president Barack Obama's 2014 executive order barring federal contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in their employment policies.

The HRC called out Walorski at the time for voting to add discriminatory language to a national defense spending bill.

"Instead of listening to the super-majority of the American people who support legal protections for LGBT people, Congresswoman Walorski is catering to right-wing extremists who would turn back the clock on equality," HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy said at the time.

In addition to serving as the top Republican on the House Ethics Committee, Walorski was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. She had served in Congress since 2013.

Walorski was educated at Christian colleges and did Christian mission work before going to Capitol Hill. She previously worked in journalism and academia, reports The Washington Post.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff in memory of Walorski.

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Christopher Wiggins

Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).
Christopher Wiggins is a senior national reporter for The Advocate. He has a rich career in storytelling and highlighting underrepresented voices. Growing up in a bilingual household in Germany, his German mother and U.S. Army father exposed him to diverse cultures early on, influencing his appreciation for varied perspectives and communication. His work in Washington, D.C., primarily covers the nexus of public policy, politics, law, and LGBTQ+ issues. Wiggins' reporting focuses on revealing lesser-known stories within the LGBTQ+ community. Key moments in his career include traveling with Vice President Kamala Harris and interviewing her in the West Wing about LGBTQ+ support. In addition to his national and political reporting, Wiggins represents The Advocate in the White House Press Pool and is a member of several professional journalistic organizations, including the White House Correspondents’ Association, Association of LGBTQ+ Journalists, and Society of Professional Journalists. His involvement in these groups highlights his commitment to ethical journalism and excellence in the field. Follow him on X/Twitter @CWNewser (https://twitter.com/CWNewser) and Threads @CWNewserDC (https://www.threads.net/@cwnewserdc).