Longest-serving Congress member John Dingell dies at 92

Faith Castro
February 9, 2019

John Dingell Jr., the longest-serving member of Congress in USA history, a champion of expanding health care coverage and a staunch ally to the us auto industry, died Thursday, according to his wife, Debbie Dingell.

Dingell served 59 years in the House before retiring in 2015 because, as he said to a MI business group at the time, he no longer could "live up to my own personal standard" for serving in Congress.

John and Debbie Dingell had been married since 1981.

"M$3 uch as I have found Twitter to be a useful means of expression, some occasions merit more than 280 characters", he said, a sly nod to his penchant for burning President Donald Trump on the social media network. "I am home with John and we have entered a new phase". But it wasn't his first time on the House floor - as a teen, the Democrat had served as a congressional page.

Dingell's combination of seniority, broad jurisdiction and willingness to twist arms made him one of the most powerful and feared members of Congress.

"I had never been in a place like this". Debbie Dingell succeeded him, winning an election in 2014. I know he leaves behind a meaningful legacy.

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In a joint statement, Bill and Hillary Clinton said that they "are grateful to have had the chance to work with him, to celebrate his becoming the longest-serving member of Congress in history, and most of all, to call him our friend". Dingell represented the powerful auto industry in southeastern MI and opposed many efforts to require safety equipment and fuel and emission standards. His 57 years, five months and 26 days broke by one day the record set by the West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd, who had died in office in 2010. "It's what I have done with that time".

He was first elected in 1955 and announced in 2014 that he would not be seeking a 30th term in the House. Debbie Dingell posted a message after her husband, John Dingell, died Thursday night at the age of 92.

"I don't want people to be sorry for me". And I would tell the industry folks, 'You've got to go along. He was hospitalized, but was soon "cracking jokes as usual", his wife said at the time.

An autobiography, "The Dean: The Best Seat in the House", was written with David Bender and published in December. Forewords were written by former President George H.W. Bush, who had died only a few days before its publication, and former Vice President Joe Biden.

John's humor became well-known once he took up Twitter. In January, he noted the negative 7-degree temperature in Hell, Michigan, and retweeted a tweet from the Detroit Free Press that said the "Detroit Lions are going to win the Super Bowl" now that Hell had frozen over.

John had a heart attack in September, according to ABC News, and was suffering from complications of prostate cancer, the Washington Post reported.

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