Yesterday, President Obama announced 19 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. One of the recipients is Dean of the House, Congressman John Dingell. Here is what the official announcement had to say about Congressman Dingell, known affectionately by his staff as “JDD”:
John Dingell is a lifelong public servant, the longest serving Member of Congress in American history, and one of the most influential legislators in history. Having represented Michigan in the House of Representatives since 1955, Mr. Dingell has fought for landmark pieces of legislation over the past six decades, from civil rights legislation in the 1960s, to legislation protecting our environment in the 1970s, to his persistent, determined fight for health care throughout his career, from Medicare to the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Dingell also served in the U.S. Army during World War II.
As an Executive Board member of the Washtenaw County Democratic Party, I have gotten to know Congressman Dingell quite well over the past few years. He is one of the smartest, funniest, and most politically-savvy public servants I’ve ever had the pleasure to have known. Here’s what I wrote about him in June of 2013 when he officially became the longest serving member of Congress:
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!”
Few Americans are more deserving of this high honor. The award will be presented to him at the White House on November 24th.
On behalf of Congressman Dingell’s constituents and Michiganders everywhere, I extend my heartfelt congratulations and deep gratitude for a career that has touched so many people in such positive ways.
[Photos by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog.]