John Dingell (1926-2019), longest-serving Congressman in US history

Blanche Robertson
February 11, 2019

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who served in Congress on the other side of the aisle from Dingell, was among his Twitter followers. He spent 59 years representing MI in the U.S. House of Representatives before retiring in 2015.

"As I prepare to leave this all behind, I now leave you in control of the greatest nation of mankind and pray God gives you the wisdom to understand the responsibility you hold in your hands", Dingell's message concluded. She was absent during President Donald Trump's State of the Union address in Washington, DC, on Tuesday evening. Whitmer issued a statement in a news release Thursday night.

President Trump also shared his condolences with Dingell's wife in a touching tweet paying tribute to his service.

- September 19, 1955: Rep. John Dingell Sr. dies in office.

Dingell mastered legislative deal-making but was fiercely protective of the auto industry back home in Detroit, and he was a longtime supporter of universal health care.

And when the House passed what would become the Affordable Care Act in 2009, leaders named the legislation after him. Debbie, his wife, won the seat in the election following his retirement and is still serving.

Critics called him overpowering and intimidating, a reputation boosted by the head of a 500-pound wild boar that looked at visitors to his Washington office.

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"In my life and career I have often heard it said that so-and-so has real power - as in, 'the powerful Wile E. Coyote, chairman of the Capture the Road Runner Committee, ' " Dingell wrote.

"Deepest sympathies to Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and the entire family of John Dingell".

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.

Dingell dictated a tweet for his wife to write: "I want to thank you all for your incredibly kind words and prayers. He is my love and we have been a team for almost 40 years".

"John led the charge on so much of the progress we take for granted today", Obama said in a statement, adding that American lives are better for his lifetime of service.

Debbie Dingell, succeeded her husband in representing Michigan's 12th congressional district.

While Pelosi was anxious to legislate on climate, Dingell launched a lengthy series of hearings on the topic and collected reams of outside feedback for "white papers" meant to guide the drafting of the bill.

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