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John Dingell (1926–2019), longest-serving Congressman in U.S. history

Getty Images / Brendan Smialowski

Michigan Democrat was a legislative icon.

John Dingell was the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history. He represented his Michigan district for nearly 60 years, from 1955 to 2015. A member of the Democratic party, he supported comprehensive healthcare legislation, supported Civil Rights, and fought against government fraud. Generally a strong advocate for environmental protection, he was also an unwavering supporter of the auto industry and argued against environmental regulations for car makers.  

Regarded highly for his legislative abilities, he also had a keen sense of humor. After his retirement from Congress he became active on twitter and amassed a following for his biting critiques of politics and commentary on pop culture.  

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Died: Thursday, February 7, 2019 (Who else died on February 7?)  

Details of death: Died in Dearborn, Mich. of complications from prostate cancer at the age of 92.  


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Dingell political dynasty: Dingell was first elected to Congress in a 1955 special election to replace his father, John Dingell Sr., a New Deal Democrat, who had died of tuberculosis while in office. After Dingell announced his retirement, his wife, Debbie Dingell, ran for his seat and won, replacing him in 2015.  

Notable quote: “Do you know what would have happened to my constituents if those companies had gone under? I went through the Depression as a boy. My mother had to put paper into her shoes and walk around in the snow… We had people starving to death. Do you think I’m silly enough to let that happen again?” he told the Washington Post in response to the controversial auto industry bailouts following the 2008 financial crisis.  

What people said about him: “I know he was an icon, a legislative giant. I know he leaves behind a meaningful legacy. I know his loss is heartbreaking for Debbie and their loved ones. But man, I am really going to miss @JohnDingell’s tweets.” —Ana Navarro, CNN political contributor  

Full obituary: Washington Post  

Related lives:  

 - Daniel Akaka (1924–2018), first Native Hawaiian elected to Congress  

 - Louise Slaughter (1929–2018), longtime Congresswoman from New York  

 - John Anderson (1922–2017), Former longtime Illinois Congressman