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After 58 Years Of Service, John Dingell To Vacate House Seat

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After 58 Years Of Service, John Dingell To Vacate House Seat

Politics

After 58 Years Of Service, John Dingell To Vacate House Seat

After 58 Years Of Service, John Dingell To Vacate House Seat

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/282359508/282359509" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Democratic Rep. John Dingell of Michigan is the longest-serving member in the history of Congress. The 87-year-old announced on Monday that he will step down at the end of this term.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

I n 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus. "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and his Comets was a top hit on the music charts, and John Dingell became a member of Congress. Nearly six decades later, the Michigan Democrat, the longest-serving member of Congress is leaving. He announced his retirement yesterday.

Here's NPR's David Welna.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: For more than 82 years, there's been a Democratic congressman named John Dingell from Michigan occupying the same seat - first, the father who died in office in 1955 and then his son by the same name, who's held it ever since. Yesterday, the dean of the House told a Detroit-area Chamber of Commerce this will be his final term.

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN DINGELL: Like many of you, I have found great disappointment in this Congress. I want you to know this is not the reason that Debbie and I are leaving the Congress.

WELNA: Dingell said he and his wife, Debbie, simply wanted to enjoy some peace and contentment with those they loved. It may have been a signal that Debbie Dingell would not seek to succeed her husband, as some had expected. But Dingell did lament what he called the bad politics of a Congress that got just 57 bills signed into law last year.

A driving force behind the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, Medicare and aid for Michigan's auto industry, Dingell did have some qualified praise for the new health care law.

DINGELL: I would have had it be rather different and much more sweeping. But it is progress.

WELNA: Dingell also made clear he intends to serve out his final term in office.

DINGELL: I want to give the last that I can assuredly give and the last that I can proudly give.

WELNA: David Welna, NPR News, the Capitol.

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