John Dingell, longest-serving Congress member ever, dead at 92

John Dingell, longest-serving Congress member ever, dead at 92

Dingell Jr., a Democratic lawmaker from MI and the longest-serving member of Congress, died Thursday, his wife said.

Dingell announced in 2014 he would retire from the House after representing Michigan's 12th District for almost 60 years, surpassing Sen.

As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee from 1981 to 1995, and again in 2007-08, Dingell shaped policy on a variety of topics, including two particularly important to him and his suburban Detroit district: health care and the auto industry.

The Dearborn Democrat had been battling prostate cancer that metastasized. He became the longest-serving member of Congress on June 7, 2013, when he surpassed the former record holder, the late West Virginia Sen. He retired in 2015.

Another probe led to the resignation of former Stanford University President Donald Kennedy after the school misused hundreds of millions of dollars in federal research funds. Forewords were written by former President George H.W. Bush, who died only a few days before its publication, and former Vice-President Joe Biden.

"I thanked him for his service to our country and being an example to those who have followed him into the public arena", Bush said in a statement.

Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America's Public Television Stations, said in a statement that Dingell "set a standard of public service that will be hard to match".

Dingell's combination of seniority, broad jurisdiction and willingness to twist arms made him one of the most powerful and feared members of Congress. When asked to describe the scope of his panel's authority, Dingell was known to point to a NASA photo of Earth, taken from space.

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He also played a key role in the creation of Medicare, the government-sponsored health programme for the elderly and disabled and was an early supporter of universal healthcare legislation, including President Obama's 2010 healthcare law. He eventually co-sponsored the Clean Air Act of 1990, which clamped down further on tailpipe emissions from cars.

Dingell was first elected in 1955 to fill the House seat vacated by his father, John Dingell Sr. They met on a flight between Detroit and Washington. "I remember he said shooting a rifle is a lot like legislating". "My people live and die by the success of the auto industry and manufacturing".

"That's how it was", said Dingell, adding that "'coming together' is the meaning of the word Congress" and that "Congress has not been doing much coming together lately". "He will be incredibly missed, but John Dingell will never be forgotten".

John Dingell worked as a House page from 1938 to 1943 and then served in the military for two years. After a brief stint in the Army near the end of World War II, the younger Dingell earned his bachelor's and law degrees from Georgetown University.

His first marriage, in 1952, to former airline stewardess Helen Henebry, produced four children: John, Chris, Jennifer and Jeanne, who died in 2015. "My heart and prayers go out to Debbie and the entire Dingell family". In his final years in office, he supported Obama through many of his endeavors, including the Affordable Care Act. Michael Deaver, Reagan's Deputy Chief of Staff, was later convicted for lying under oath. "The message is: The powerful can get away with things most people can't", he said. Dingell had introduced a universal health care coverage bill in each of his terms.

Dingell and his health subcommittee chairman, California Democrat Henry Waxman, fought endlessly over energy and environmental issues.

"Hillary and I mourn the passing of John Dingell, one of the finest public servants in American history", Clinton, a Democrat, said in a statement. "It was simply not possible to do". During his tenure, Dingell served with every president from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama.