Indiana Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski has died in a automotive accident

This news was a huge shock Capitol Hill and immediately sparked an outpouring of grief and remembrance from lawmakers and aides who paid tribute to the lives and careers of the congresswoman and two staffers.

Walorski, who was 58, represented Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District and was a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives. She began serving in Congress in 2013.

The congresswoman has been viewed by the House Republican Conference as someone who could one day rise to the GOP leadership ranks, and her name has been floated in the past for the role of conference chairwoman. She was a member of the House GOP team’s deputy whips.

“Dean Swihart, Jackie’s husband, has just been notified 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. . More at this time we will have no comment,” McCarthy tweeted in a statement from the congresswoman’s office.

A statement released by the congresswoman’s office said two staffers also died. “In addition to the devastating loss of Congresswoman Walorski, it is with a broken heart that I announce the passing of two of her dedicated staff members, Zach Potts and Emma Thomson. They were the epitome of civil servants who cared deeply about the work they did. done,” the congresswoman’s chief of staff, Tim Cummings, said in a statement.

McCarthy called the congresswoman’s death “absolutely devastating” in a lengthy statement released later Wednesday. “Jackie was a dear friend, a trusted adviser and the epitome of integrity, who won the admiration and respect of all her colleagues in the House,” he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered flags on the Capitol to be flown at half-staff in response to the congresswoman’s death, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, announced Wednesday afternoon.

In a statement, Pelosi said the congresswoman “lived a life of service” and was “admired by colleagues on both sides of the aisle for her personal kindness.”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said in a statement that Walorski “was a champion for the people of Indiana and will be remembered for her kindness, tenacity and commitment to helping others.”

The congresswoman was the top Republican on the House Ethics Committee, putting her in position to chair the panel if the GOP regains the House majority in the upcoming midterm elections. She was also the GOP member of a subcommittee of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming tweeted in response to the news, “There has never been a more dedicated or effective member of Congress than Jackie,” adding, “Proud to be her friend.”

The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that Walorski was killed in a car accident.

“A northbound passenger car traveled left of center and collided head-on with a southbound sport utility vehicle,” the report said.

All three occupants of the southbound car died from their injuries, the report said.

This story was updated Wednesday with additional developments.

CNN’s Amy Simonson contributed to this report.

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