John Dingell

Opinion
10:34 am
Tue April 8, 2014

With Michigan members of Congress hitting the exit, replacements scramble for money

Jack Lessenberry talks about the challenges facing those who want to run for Congress.

Congressmen don’t stay on the job forever, though it sometimes seems like it.

This year will be the last for Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, first elected in 1978, and Rep. John Dingell, D-Michigan, the all-time longevity champ, who has represented a Detroit-area district since 1955.

Their retirements, while momentous, weren’t very surprising. Indeed, Carl Levin announced that he wouldn’t run for re-election more than a year ago. Far more shocking was the sudden decision by two mid-Michigan Republican Congressmen to bow out.

Both Rep. Dave Camp, R-Michigan, and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, had safe seats, a fair amount of seniority, and are youngish men by congressional standards. Yet within the last few days, both said they wouldn’t run for re-election.

That set off something of a mad scramble.

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Weekly Political Roundup
4:41 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Schauer selects Lisa Brown as running mate; Camp decides against seeking re-election

Credit user cedarbenddrive / Flickr

Each week we take a look at what’s happening in Michigan politics with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

Earlier today, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer announced that Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown will be his running mate for the upcoming 2014 election. Brown served two terms in the state House of Representatives and has served as the Oakland County Clerk since 2012, a position long held by Republicans.

Susan Demas indicates the selection of Brown will bolster the ticket because of her name recognition with voters in Southeast Michigan and she resonates well with female voters. 

“Lisa Brown...gained a lot of attention in 2012 with the debate over the controversial abortion legislation, and was known for the ‘vagina-gate’ scandal when she was not allowed to speak on the floor.”

Meanwhile, a fourth member of Michigan’s congressional delegation announced he will not seek re-election. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Midland), the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, will step down, along with Mike Rogers, Carl Levin and John Dingell.

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It's Just Politics
3:05 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Politicos must do some fast thinking if they want Rogers’ seat

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

It's Just Politics with Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta

A political stunner slapped all of our political cheeks awake this morning, just like that scene with Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone.

The news? Seven-term Republican Congressman Mike Rogers announced he is retiring from Congress. Retiring from Congress, but not the political circus. He is going to start a national radio show devoted to foreign policy and national defense, which is his bailiwick as the Chairman of the powerful House Intelligence Committee.

Rogers is also a well-known talking head. Last year, he appeared more than any other elected official on the Sunday morning news circuit. And he’s got the TV sound bites down, just last week on Meet the Press, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin, “goes to bed thinking of Peter the Great and wakes up thinking of Stalin.”

It’s not just how fond he seemed of Congress that is what makes Rogers’, who represents Lansing, Brighton, Howell and parts of Northern Oakland County, announcement so surprising, but his fondness in particular for the House of Representatives. In fact, there was speculation last year that the reason he didn’t jump into the race for Carl Levin’s open Senate seat was because he enjoyed his job in the House so much.

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Politics & Government
12:04 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

John Dingell to undergo treatment for abnormal heart rhythm

Dingell's office says the 87-year-old Democrat recently developed atrial fibrillation.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Michigan Congressman John Dingell is undergoing a “minimally invasive procedure” today.

The 87-year-old Democrat recently developed atrial fibrillation.

A press release from Dingell’s office says the procedure will seek to find the source of the abnormal heart rhythm, and correct it.

Dingell is expected to spend the night at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

The 29-term congressman recently announced he will not seek reelection to his southern Michigan seat.

Dingell has represented Michigan in Congress since the mid-1950’s.  

Politics & Government
9:13 am
Sat March 1, 2014

The week in review

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This Week in Review Rina Miller and Jack Lessenberry discuss John Dingell leaving congress and his wife being a front runner for the seat, the debate over same-sex marriage in Michigan, and a proposal to make sure Michiganders are taxes for internet sales.

Week in Review interview for 3/1/14

Politics & Government
4:10 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Debbie Dingell going after her husband's job

Debbie Dingell announced her run for Congress today.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

Debbie Dingell, wife of U.S. Congressman John Dingell, has made it official: She will run for her husband's 12th District seat. 

John Dingell is retiring after 58 years in Congress.

Debbie Dingell, 59, is a member of the Democratic National Committee, and is chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors.

She also worked for General Motors for 30 years.

Dingell made three appearances Friday, including one at Downtown Home and Garden in Ann Arbor.

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Weekly Political Roundup
5:23 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

A look at Michigan's same-sex marriage challenge, and will another Dingell take office?

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This week, a challenge to Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage began in federal court. Michigan voters approved the ban on same-sex marriage and civil unions in 2004. Plus, the longest-serving member of the House, John Dingell announces he will retire. Who will take his seat?

All Things Considered host Jennifer White spoke with Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, and Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and Senior Policy Fellow at Public Sector Consultants.

Weekly Political Roundup for February 27th, 2014.

*Correction - In an earlier version of the audio above, Susan Demas referred to April DeBoer or Jayne Rowse as a "biological" mother of their kid(s). Each is an "adoptive" parent to their kid(s). The audio has been corrected.

Opinion
10:34 am
Thu February 27, 2014

We need to learn how to talk about the mental health of our aging representatives

Earlier this week, the newspapers and airwaves were full of tributes to John Dingell, who announced this term would be his last.

Dingell, who turns 88 this summer, is the longest-serving Congressmen in history, and when I first met him, was one of the physically most powerful men in Congress.

Today, he is hard of hearing and frail, but nobody has ever said he wasn’t mentally able to do the job.

This hasn’t always been the case with long-serving congressmen. During his last campaign for the U.S. Senate at age 94, South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond spoke of the brave defenders of the Alamo, and added that they had held off “three thousand Russians.”

Thurmond’s handlers didn’t let him speak much in public after that. He won reelection, but spent most of his final term in Walter Reed Hospital, except when they brought him to the Senate to vote.

Nobody likes to talk about this, but there seems to have been a universal consensus that Dale Kildee, who decided not to run for reelection two years ago, needed to leave.

There’s a reason you haven’t seen him interviewed or commenting on issues since he left. He is, in fact, younger that John Dingell, but not all of us age at the same rate.

I know a woman in her 60s who no longer knows who her husband is.

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Politics & Government
8:41 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Same-sex marriage, the Dingells, and manufacturing hub make political headlines

Michigan Capitol Building, Lansing, Michigan
Thetoad Flickr

This Week in Michigan Politics, Jack Lessenberry and Christina Shockley talk about the same-sex marriage trial in Michigan, the new Dingell race for Congress and President Obama’s announcement of a new manufacturing hub in metro Detroit.

Week in Michigan Politics interview for 2/26/14

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Politics & Government
2:23 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Reports: Debbie Dingell to run for her husband's seat in Congress

Debbie Dingell.
Wayne State University

A day after Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan) announced that he will retire at the end of his term this year, it appears that Debbie Dingell will announce Friday that she will run for her husband's seat.

Both the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press say sources are telling them Debbie Dingell will announce her intent to run this Friday.

John Dingell hinted at her intentions during his retirement announcement yesterday.

"If she runs, I will vote for her,"  John Dingell said.

More from Kathleen Gray at the Detroit Free Press:

Debbie Dingell, 60, is the other half of one of Washington’s most powerful political couple. She has been a member of the Democratic National Committee for years, is a member of the Wayne State University Board of Trustees and has held high level positions with General Motors.

She will have about eight weeks to collect at least 1,000 valid signatures from voters in her district to qualify for the ballot.

Opinion
10:45 am
Tue February 25, 2014

John Dingell is leaving under his own terms

The broadcast version of Jack's commentary.

As most of the world knows by now, yesterday, the longest-serving congressman in our nation’s history announced his retirement.

I wasn’t the least surprised. After a long lunch with John Dingell last fall, I had become convinced this was going to happen.

Ten years ago, I would have bet that he would die in office. In fact, that’s what he told me he intended to do. Told me more than once, in fact.

“Do you know your history, young man? He asked me long ago. “Do you know about John Quincy Adams?”

Yes sir, said I, and I think that pleased him.

Adams was the only president who returned to the House of Representatives after the White House. He served there till he collapsed and died on the floor.

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Politics & Government
8:07 am
Tue February 25, 2014

In this morning's headlines: John Dingell retires, same-sex marriage trial, manufacturing hub

Morning News Roundup, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Longest-serving congressman from Michigan retires

John Dingell, the longest-serving congressman in American history has announced his retirement. "There may still be a Dingell in the race," Steve Carmody reports. "Debbie Dingell, the congressman’s wife, is seen as a favorite in a potential race."

Same-sex marriage trial starts today in Michigan

Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage will be debated in federal court starting today. The case involves a lesbian couple from Detroit who are raising three adopted children, but can't jointly adopt the children.

President Obama to announce manufacturing hub in Detroit

"President Barack Obama will announce today the creation of two Pentagon-led institutes that will bring together companies, federal agencies and universities to work on technologies that can boost manufacturing. The institutes in Chicago and near Detroit fulfill Obama's 2013 State of the Union promise to create three manufacturing hubs with a federal infusion of $200 million," the Associated Press reports.

Stateside
5:10 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Jack Lessenberry reflects on Rep. John Dingell's announced retirement

Rep. John Dingell announcing his retirement at a lucheon today.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

"I am not leaving Congress. I am coming home to Michigan."

With those words, Rep. John Dingell, D-Michigan, has announced he is leaving Congress after serving more than 58 years.

Dingell was first elected in 1955 to the House seat that had been held by his late father.

The 87-year-old Dearborn Democrat has gone on to carve out his own piece of American history: No one has ever served longer in Congress.

Michigan Radio political commentator Jack Lessenberry joined us to talk about Dingell's legacy.

You can listen to our conversation with him below:


Politics & Government
3:30 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

U.S. Rep. John Dingell's time in Congress to end, announces retirement

John and Debbie Dingell at today's luncheon.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Update 3:30 p.m.

President Obama issued this statement in response to Dingell's announcement:

Serving nearly six decades in the House of Representatives, John Dingell has earned the distinction of being both the longest-serving Member of Congress in U.S. history and one of the most influential legislators of all time.  After serving his country in the Army during World War II, John was first elected to Congress in 1955 – representing the people of southeastern Michigan in a seat previously held by his father.  In Washington, John risked his seat to support the Civil Rights Act of 1964, fought to pass Medicare in 1965, and penned legislation like the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act that have kept millions of Americans healthy and preserved our natural beauty for future generations.  

But of all John’s accomplishments, perhaps the most remarkable has been his tireless fight to guarantee quality, affordable health care for every American.  Decades after his father first introduced a bill for comprehensive health reform, John continued to introduce health care legislation at the beginning of every session.  And as an original author of the Affordable Care Act, he helped give millions of families the peace of mind of knowing they won’t lose everything if they get sick.  Today, the people of Michigan – and the American people – are better off because of John Dingell’s service to this country, and Michelle and I wish him, his wife Debbie, and their family the very best.

And Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak issued this statement:

"Congressman Dingell served with great dignity and respect. We wish him the best of health and blessings with his retirement.”

1:00 p.m.

Speaking at a luncheon today at the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Rep. John Dingell announced his retirement today.

"I'm not leaving the downriver. I'm not leaving Michigan," Dingell said.

From Dingell's speech:

Around this time every two years, my wife Deborah and I confer on the question of whether I will seek reelection.  My standards are high for this job.  I put myself to the test and have always known that when the time came that I felt I could not live up to my own personal standard for a Member of Congress, it would be time to step aside for someone else to represent this district. 

That time has come.

During a Q&A after his speech Dingell said the single most important vote he cast during his time in Congress was his vote in favor of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

"It was a hard fight, but it solved a problem that was eating at the heart and soul and liver of this country ... [if it hadn't passed] it would have left us with undivided anger and bitterness. We have not solved that problem and there is much to be done."

There's a lot of speculation that Dingell's wife Deborah will run for his seat. Dingell said she has not decided yet whether she will run.

"If she runs, I will vote for her,"  he said.

After his Q&A, the room sang "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow."

11:55 a.m.

You can watch Dingell announce his retirement live below (courtesy of the Detroit Free Press):

*The luncheon has ended.

Watch live streaming video from freeplive at livestream.com

9:38 a.m.

Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress, made his announcement to the Detroit papers this morning. From the Detroit Free Press:

U.S. Rep. John Dingell, a Dearborn Democrat who replaced his father in the House some 58 years ago and became one of the most powerful members of Congress ever, will step down after this year, capping a career umatched in its longevity and singular in its influence and sweep.

Dingell, 87, told the Free Press that he’d reached the decision to retire at the end of his current term — his 29th full one — rather than run for re-electon because it was time, given a list of achievements that any other member of Congress would envy, and his continued frustration over partisan gridlock.

Dingell said "I'm not going to be carried out feet first." From Detroit News' Nolan Finely:

“I don’t want people to say I stayed too long.”

Dingell says his health “is good enough that I could have done it again. My doctor says I’m OK. And I’m still as smart and capable as anyone on the Hill.

“But I’m not certain I would have been able to serve out the two-year term.”

More than health concerns, Dingell says a disillusionment with the institution drove his decision to retire.

“I find serving in the House to be obnoxious,” he says. “It’s become very hard because of the acrimony and bitterness, both in Congress and in the streets.”

So the question turns to who will run for his seat. And being the longest serving member in Congress, you can expect to see many posts around the web highlighting his career.  Here's one we did last year.

*This post is being updated.

Opinion
10:52 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Congressman John Dingell reflects on his decades of service

Lessenberry commentary for 08/13/2013

(Editor's note, this commentary was first published on August 13, 2013. We shared it again today in light of Rep. Dingell's announcement that he will retire.)  

You probably know that this year, John Dingell became the longest-serving member of Congress in history. Legendary Speaker Tip O’Neill’s autobiography was called “Man of the House.” But Dingell deserves that title more.

80 years ago, shortly after his father was elected to Congress, the first John Dingell took his six-year-old son to work.

Yesterday, the congressman told me, “We walked through the biggest doors I had ever seen into the biggest room I had ever seen.” For young John, it was the beginning of one of the longest love affairs in history.

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Politics & Government
6:24 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Michigan congressmen split on the 'State of the Union' speech

President Barack Obama
Official White house Portrait

Michigan’s congressional delegation had a mixed reaction to the president’s State of the Union address last night.

Democrat John Dingell says Congress is capable of acting on the president’s call for a higher minimum wage and restoring federal jobless benefits.

“Whether they will or not I don’t know because as you know, the Republicans run Congress,” Dingell said after the president’s speech.

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Transportation
2:27 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Willow Run Airport receives additional $12 million for runway renovations

Planes on the tarmac at the Willow Run Airport
Wikipedia

The U.S. Department of Transportation is giving the Wayne County Airport Authority a $12 million federal grant to renovate a runway at the Willow Run Airport, according to Congressmen John Dingell and John Conyers, Jr. and Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow.

This is on top of the $9 million in federal funding awarded to the airport in July. This additional $12 million will go towards the repaving of runway 05R/23L.

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Politics & Government
4:48 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

One of the oldest members of Congress using the newest technology, Rep. Dingell and Google Glass

Dingell being sworn into Congress in 1955 by Speaker of the House Rayburn
John Dingell's website

Nowhere on Rep. John Dingell's timeline in Congress could you find him ordering Chinese food using Google Glass.

Until now.

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Politics & Government
5:33 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

A timeline of Representative John Dingell's 57 years in Congress

John D. Dingell being sworn in by Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn in 1955.
John Dingell's website

Representative John D. Dingell began serving in the United States Congress in 1955. He's served 30 terms, and can talk about the 11 presidents he has served  under. 

He is the longest serving member of Congress after 57 years, five months, and 26 days. 

Here's a timeline of his lengthy career, courtesy of Representative Dingell:

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Stateside
5:24 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

John Dingell becomes the longest-serving member of Congress

user Tqycolumbia Wikimedia Commons

An interview with John Dingell.

A piece of history is being written in the United States Congress.

Tomorrow is the day that John Dingell becomes the longest-serving member of Congress ever, surpassing the late Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

He began representing the people of southeast Michigan on December 13, 1955. And 57-and-a-half years later, he is still there.

He joined us today to talk about his experiences.

Listen to the full interview above.

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