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Longest-Serving Lawmaker in US History Dies

John Dingell served with presidents from Eisenhower to Obama
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 8, 2019 12:07 AM CST
In this July 29, 2015 photo, former Rep. John Dingell speaks at an event marking the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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(Newser) – Former US Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history, has died. The Michigan Democrat, who mastered legislative deal-making and was fiercely protective of Detroit's auto industry, was 92. Dingell, who served in the US House for 59 years before retiring in 2014, died Thursday at his home in Dearborn, said his wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell, who succeeded him in Congress. "He was a lion of the United States Congress and a loving son, father, husband, grandfather, and friend," her office said in a statement. "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."

Dubbed "Big John" for his imposing 6-foot-3 frame and sometimes intimidating manner, Dingell served with every president from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Barack Obama, the AP reports. He was a longtime supporter of universal health care, a cause he adopted from his late father, whom he replaced in Congress in 1955. He also was known as a dogged pursuer of government waste and fraud, and even helped take down two of Ronald Reagan's top presidential aides while leading the investigative arm of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, which he chaired for 14 years. "Presidents come and presidents go," former President Bill Clinton said in 2005, when Dingell celebrated 50 years in Congress. "John Dingell goes on forever." (When he retired, Dingell said partisan gridlock had made serving in the House "obnoxious.")

(Read more John Dingell stories.)

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