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Michigan's John Dingell to retire after nearly six decades in House


From the February 25, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published February 25, 2014

By Jeannine Anderson
Editor
Democratic Rep. John Dingell of Michigan announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election in 2014.  Last June, Dingell eclipsed the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., as the longest-serving member of Congress.

"I'm not going to be carried out feet first," the 87-year-old congressman told theDetroit News. "I don't want people to say I stayed too long."

Dingell has been a member of the House of Representatives since he was 29 years old. He was first elected to the House in 1955 after the death of his father, John Dingell Sr., who had been a member of the House for 22 years.

Dingell was chairman of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee from the early 1980s until the mid-1990s, and then again from 2007 until late 2008, when Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., successfully challenged him for the chairmanship.

"The term 'legendary' will always be associated with the name 'John Dingell,'" said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., the current chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

As he announced his decision to retire from Congress after this year, Dingell was critical of that institution.

"I find serving in the House to be obnoxious," he said in an interview with the Detroit News. "It's become very hard because of the acrimony and bitterness, both in Congress and in the streets."

"Public service is undervalued in our modern times, and I can understand that when I look at what our Congress has become," he said in remarks for delivery to the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber of Commerce in Michigan. "But it doesn't have to be that," he said. "I am hopeful that this fever breaks at some point, and Congress goes back to what it should be: the House of the people, standing up for the average man and woman."

The Wall Street Journal reported that Dingell's wife, Debbie, 60, is said to be contemplating a possible run for her husband's seat.
 

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