RIP John Dingell: Longest-serving member of Congress passed away on Thursday

Political giant John Dingell dies at 92

John Dingell, longest-serving Congress member ever, dead at 92

During his life, he served in Congress as a member of the House of Representatives for 59 years, becoming the longest-serving congressman. He didn't run for re-election for a 30th term in 2014 and was succeeded by his wife, Debbie Dingell, a former General Motors Co. executive.

During his almost five decades in Congress, Dingell was a staunch supporter of the auto industry. Robert Byrd of West Virginia as the longest-serving member.

"In our modern political age, the presidential bully pulpit seems dedicated to sowing division and denigrating, often in the most irrelevant and infantile personal terms, the political opposition", Dingell wrote, calling for respectful discourse even on crucial policy issues. "I thanked him for his service to our country and for being an example to those who have followed him into the public arena".

"John Dingell will forever be remembered as "The Dean" of Congress not simply for the length of his service, but for his unparalleled record of legislative accomplishments", Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday in a statement.

"He believed in an America that had room for everyone of us", said his son, Christopher Dingell. When asked to describe the scope of his panel's authority, Dingell was known to point to a NASA photo of Earth, taken from space. And he was fiercely protective of his committee's territory.

Congressman Dingell died peacefully today at his home in Dearborn, surrounded by his wife Deborah. Elected in 1955, following the sudden death of his congressman father, he had a front-row seat for the passage of landmark legislation including Medicare, the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, all of which he supported, as well as the Clean Air Act, which he was accused of stalling to help auto interests. His rival on Energy and Commerce, Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, favored stronger controls on pollution-producing industries. He helped broker a compromise that set the standards at 35 miles per gallon, a 40 percent increase, by 2020.

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Former President Bill Clinton once said that presidents come and go, but "John Dingell goes on forever".

"Friends and colleagues know me and know I would be in Washington right now unless something was up", Debbie Dingell said. "My people live and die by the success of the auto industry and manufacturing". Debbie Dingell, Dingell's wife, said in a statement.

John David Dingell Jr. was born on July 8, 1926, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the first of three children of John Dingell and the former Grace Bigler. Dingell was serving as a page on the House floor when President Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan on December 8, 1941. Dingell, a World War II-era Army veteran, will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. The couple divorced in the 1970s, and Helen died in 2016. He was 92 years old.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Dingell a "beloved pillar of Congress and one of the greatest legislators in American history", citing his unwavering commitment to providing affordable, quality health care to all Americans.

Dingell, whose district was home to the Ford Motor Company, had always been a strong supporter of the auto industry but also stressed environmental issues over the years. He served as chairman of the committee for more than 15 years.

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