John Dingell dies at 92
The longest-serving member in the history of the U.S. House died Thursday evening in hospice care.
Former Rep. John Dingell, Michigan Democrat, was 92.
Mr. Dingell’s death was confirmed to the Detroit News by his wife Debbie. That he was in hospice care with terminal prostate cancer was reported Wednesday.
In his last public message Wednesday evening, Mr. Dingell said his wife didn’t want him on social-media at such a time but “after long negotiations we’ve worked out a deal where she’ll keep up with Twitter for me as I dictate the messages.”
“I want to thank you all for your incredibly kind words and prayers. You’re not done with me just yet,” he wrote.
The Lovely Deborah is insisting I rest and stay off here, but after long negotiations we’ve worked out a deal where she’ll keep up with Twitter for me as I dictate the messages. I want to thank you all for your incredibly kind words and prayers. You’re not done with me just yet. John Dingell (@JohnDingell) February 6, 2019
Mrs. Dingell took over her husbands seat in 2014 when, at the age of 88, he retired rather than seek a 30th full term. The seat had been held by Mr. Dingell’s father John Sr., from the 1932 Democratic sweep led by President Franklin D. Roosevelt until his death in 1955, at which point the son won a special election and held the seat for almost 60 years.
The younger Mr. Dingell, who reached the rank of second lieutenant in the Army during World War II and was one of the last two veterans of that war serving in the Congress, was known for his advocacy for organized labor, for a national health-insurance system.
Mr. Dingell was also one of the last of a certain sort of lawmaker that was once the base of the Democratic Party a moderate representing a largely Catholic, working-class district. He would regularly get an A-rating from the National Rifle Association, opposed mandatory busing for racial integration, and had a moderate position on abortion and the public funding thereof.
But he also played a key role in the passage of Medicare under President Lyndon B. Johnson “It’s hard to believe that there was once noSocial SecurityorMedicare,” he said.
He jealously guarded Congressional power, regularly conducting vigorous oversight of the executive branch, especially on matters related to energy and the environment.
Despite his close ties with the automotive industry, his voting records were regularly graded highly by groups such as the League of Conservation Voters. Nevertheless, in 2009, he lost his chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce Committee to a different sort of Democrat Rep. Henry Waxman of California over his resistance to environmental regulations that would hurt the auto industry.
Mr. Dingell has four children from his first marriage to Helen Henebry.