Friday, June 7, 2013

The Old Man of the Hill

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

A longevity record was shattered today when Congressman John Dingell, an 86-year-old Democrat from Michigan, became the longest serving Member in the history of Congress.  He took the title from the late Senator Robert Byrd.  Dingell has now served 57 years and 176 days - or a total of 20,997 days - in Congress.  All of his service has been in the House of Representatives.

But Congressman Dingell's connection to Congress even pre-dates his years of actual service.  Dingell was a House Page from 1938 until 1943 before leaving to serve in World War II.  He was in the chamber in 1941 when FDR made his famous "Day of Infamy" speech.  Dingell is one of only two World War II veterans currently serving in the House.  The Senate lost it's last World War II veteran earlier this week with the passing of Senator Frank Lautenberg.

Mr. Dingell was just a kid of twenty-nine in 1955 when his father, himself a congressman with over twenty years of service, died.  Young Mr. Dingell won a special election to fill his father's seat and has been in Congress ever since - through the administrations of eleven presidents.  (I read somewhere today that over eighty percent of living Americans have been born since John Dingell first came to Congress.)  Together the Dingells have now represented their corner of Michigan for over eighty years.

Congressman Dingell has won a total of thirty elections to Congress.  He has never lost a race, and his worst showing was in 2010 where he won with a mere 57% of the vote.

Congratulations Congressman John Dingell on your supreme staying power.   You have served with honor and distinction.

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