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As the U.S. Senate began its budget vote Vote-a-rama Saturday night, a senator used a few moments to pay tribute to Representative Jackie Walorski and members of her staff, who died in a car accident this week.
“Mr. President, I stand up today to honor the lives of four Hoosiers who were tragically killed in a car accident this week,” Senator Todd Young, R-IN, said 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 crash.
“We mourn them all and we pray for their families and friends,” Young said. “Like everyone here and at home in Indiana, I am absolutely devastated.”
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“Obviously this is a very difficult time for those of us who have known one or more of these Hoosiers, it is such a difficult time for their families and their friends and for all of us,” he added.
“I think one thing that hit everyone particularly hard was the loss of two young congressional employees. Whether you knew Zach or Emma personally or not, you definitely know their type. If you watch this proceeding from Capitol Hill, you know the hard-working type. , smart, dedicated youngster who joins a congressional staff. They spend so much of their time, giving up their talents and other opportunities to serve their country.”
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“We should celebrate their achievements as we mourn their loss. It’s a reminder, I think, for all of us to thank the many congressional staff who are doing much more than the public will ever know,” continued Young.
Young also recognized his colleague, who he said had “contagious” confidence and could “light up a room.”
“Jackie knew she belonged here. Jackie understood that this was her calling,’ he said. “She didn’t need people to tell her she belonged, but she got to work right away because she had some things to accomplish.”
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“Her confidence was infectious. Everyone saw it. Everyone was impressed. People love being around her and me,” added Young. “Jackie had so many other great 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 cheerful and full of fire. And Jackie had a really big heart too.”
Young also described Walorski as a “larger than life figure” who “inspired and motivated people.”
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“It’s no exaggeration to say that Jackie’s last breath was spent in service, 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 August 11 at 11 a.m. ET at Granger Community Church in Granger, Indiana.