Veteran Detroit region Congressman John Dingell passes
America’s longest-serving Congressman John David Dingell Jr. died on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019.
Dingell,who was succeeded by his wife Debbie Dingell in the 12th Congressional District, was born on July 8, 1926. He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from December 13, 1955, until January 3, 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the longest-serving U.S. Congressperson, representing Michigan for over 59 years. He represented Michigan throughout his congressional tenure and most recently served as the representative for Michigan’s 12th congressional district.
The office of Congresswoman Debbie Dingell issued the following statement Thursday night:
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of John David Dingell, Jr., former Michigan Congressman and longest-serving member of the United States Congress. Congressman Dingell died peacefully today at his home in Dearborn, surrounded by his wife Deborah. He was a lion of the United States Congress and a loving son, father, husband, grandfather, and friend. He will be remembered for his decades of public service to the people of Southeast Michigan, his razor-sharp wit, and a lifetime of dedication to improving the lives of all who walk this earth.”
Dingell began his congressional career representing Michigan’s 16th district by succeeding his father, John Dingell Sr., who had held the seat for 22 years. Having served for over 59 years, he has the longest Congressional tenure in U.S. history. He was also the longest-serving Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives and Dean of the Michigan congressional delegation. Dingell was one of the final two World War II veterans to have served in Congress; the other is Texas Representative Ralph Hall, who also left Congress in 2015. Dingell was a longtime member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and chaired the committee for multiple terms.
Dingell announced on February 24, 2014, that he would not seek reelection to a 31st term in Congress. His wife, Debbie Dingell, ran to succeed her husband and defeated Republican Terry Bowman in the general election on November 4, 2014. He was the last member of Congress who had served in the 1950s and during the presidencies of Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy. President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014.
Ray Hanania, a veteran American political columnist and former journalist active in the Arab American community praised Dingell as a congressman sensitive to justice, human rights who had compassion for the suffering of Palestinian and Arab refugees and for peace.
“Congressman Dingell was a hero in the Arab American community who defended the rights of the oppressed, represented his district with fierce pride and courage, but stood for principles of human rights, the international rule of law, and for Middle East peace,” Hanania said.
“He will be missed although his spirit and his righteous stands live in the public service of his widow, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.”
Dingell told a gathering of J Street, the progressive Jewish American pro-peace lobby, that the two-state solution is not only a solution for the conflict in the Middle East, but it benefits both Israel and Palestine.
As a congressman, Dingell expressed his support in several ways, including being one of 74 members of Congress to sign a 2012 letter to President Barack Obama asking him to endorse a two-state solution. Later that year, he also visited campus to speak on the issue, according to J Street.