Congress to honor John Dingell as longest-serving lawmaker

May 30, 2013

Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" was a top song on the radio and there were just 48 states in the Union.

The year was 1955 when Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) first came to Washington as a 29-year-old lawmaker, succeeding his father, John D. Dingell Sr., a New Deal Democrat, who had died.

As of June 7, Dingell will have served his constituents for 57 years, five months and 26 days, exceeding the previous record held by the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W. Va.).

Naturally, Congress plans to celebrate.

Top House and Senate leaders announced Thursday that Congress will mark Dingell's streak on June 13 in National Statuary Hall , the original House chamber and the ornate room used every four years to host the presidential inaugural luncheon.

You ever seen the front grill of the motorized scooter of Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.)? (Photo by Ed O'Keefe/instagram)
You ever seen the front grill of the motorized scooter of Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.)? (Photo by Ed O'Keefe/instagram)

The formal announcement was devoid of details, but the event is sure to draw a large crowd, especially since Dingell and his wife, Debbie, remain staples of the Washington social scene.

The 6'3" Dingell now buzzes around Capitol Hill in a scooter fitted with a tiny license plate that reads, "The Dean," an acknowledgement of his senior status. He was born on July 8, 1926, in Colorado Springs, Colo., and grew up in Detroit and Washington as his father served in Congress. In 1944, 18-year-old Dingell enlisted in the Army and would have taken part in the planned invasion of Japan in November 1945, but has said that President Harry S. Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb saved his life.

Dingell already holds the record as the longest-serving member of the House, which he achieved in Feb. 2009.

Follow Ed O'Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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