• Jakhira Cooper

Longest serving Congressman passes away at 92 years old

Former Michigan congressman John Dingell passed away on Thursday, Feb 7, 2019, at the age of 92. Dingell was the longest serving member of congress, with a tenure of almost 60-years as a lawmaker.

Dingell had been diagnosed earlier with prostate cancer that had spread, and he decided not to seek treatment. He accomplished much during his many years of service in the House of Representatives as a Democrat from 1955 until his retirement in 2015.

When Dingell first joined Congress, Dwight D Eisenhower was the president. Barack Obama was actually in the Oval Office when he retired. He served with 11 presidents and 11 speakers of the House.

Dingell's father also served on congress. Dingell was elected to the 84th Congress in a special election to succeed his late father and was the youngest member serving at the time, at 29 years of age. In all, the Dingell family, including Debbie, John Dingell's wife, has represented Michigan in congress for 85 years. John took the title of longest-serving congressman from Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia in 2013.

John Dingell fought for landmark pieces of legislation, from civil rights legislation in the 1960s, to environmental legislation in the 1970s, as well as healthcare throughout this career, from Medicare to the Affordable Care Act. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama in 2014.

He also joined the Energy of Commerce Committee in 1957, serving for 57 years in this group until he left in 2015 because of his retirement. Dingell Jr. chaired this committee from 1981 to 1995 and from 2007 to 2009.

He oversaw legislation dealing with the environment, telecommunications, and the auto industry during his time on the committee. Dingell had great success in politics, winning 30 elections by an average of 73 percent of the vote, The House Historian reports.