John Dingell, Michigan Democrats — June 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Honoring Dean of the House John Dingell who will be the longest serving member of Congress on Friday


A champion of the people

Eclectablog with Congressman John Dingell

This Friday, Congressman John Dingell will break Senator Robert Byrd’s record for the longest serving member of Congress having served 57 years and 177 days. He is already the Dean of the House, the longest continuously serving member of the House of Representatives. Although I am in the Congressional district next Congressman Dingell’s, I have gotten to know him well through my community organizing activities with the Washtenaw County Democratic Party. I’m proud to call him and his wife Debbie friends.

“The lovely Debbie”, Debbie Dingell

In his 57 years in Congress, Congressman Dingell has cast tens of thousands of votes and has been associated with some of the most historical legislation in our country’s history. Every session, he has carried on the tradition first set by his father of introducing legislation to create a single-payer, universal health care system in the United States of America. Here is a list of some of the other legislation that bear his mark:

  • The Clean Air Act
  • The Civil Rights Act
  • The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • The Endangered Species Act
  • The National Environmental Policy Act
  • The Pollution Prevention Act
  • The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act
  • The Energy Policy and Conservation Acts of 1975 & 1976
  • The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”)

With regard to Obamacare, at an historic public forum in Inkster before its passage, an event covered in great detail here at Eclectablog, the Congressman was asked “DID YOU EVEN READ THE BILL???”. His response? “Read it? I WROTE it!”

More recently, Congressman Dingell has been working to bring transparency to election funding and to pass legislation that would undo the corrosive impact of the odious Citizens United Supreme Court decision. Earlier this year he hosted a forum in Ann Arbor where he unveiled legislation he introduced called the “Restoring Confidence in Our Democracy Act”.

Congressman John Dingell with Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson

Earlier this week, Congressman Dingell was on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. He was asked about what’s most wrong with Congress right now. He answered:

Lack of collegiality. Refusal to compromise. An absolute reluctance to work together. And I think a total loss of the understanding of the traditions.

Today members are so busy getting re-elected, spend so little time there, there’s so much pressure on them from outside to be partisan and to fight, not to do the things that we’re supposed to, such as compromising and working together. And compromise has gotten, George, to be a dirty word. And this is a great shame. The founding fathers intended something quite different.

He was also asked which of the over 25,000 votes he cast he was most proud of:

The one of which …I’m most proud and which I think was the most important was the vote I cast on the ’64 civil rights bill that allowed citizens to vote. You remember the country was being torn apart by the denial to our people the right to vote and happily that began a process that cured it so that a black American citizen is now sitting in the White House.

Thank you, Congressman Dingell. You have been a shining light in Congress for nearly six decades. America and Michigan, in particular, owes you a great debt of gratitude.

All photos by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog