John Dingell Remembered As ‘True Statesman,’ ‘Twitter Ninja’

February 8, 2019

By Ryan Stanton

DEARBORN, MI – The death of former U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Dearborn, is being met with sadness and warm reflections on the towering legacy he leaves behind.

Here’s how the nation is reacting to the passing of the longest-serving member of Congress in history:

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan:

“Congressman John Dingell—the Dean of the House and my dear friend—was not merely a witness to history. He was a maker of it. His original family name, translated into Polish, meant ‘blacksmith.’ Nothing could be more fitting for a man who hammered out our nation’s laws, forging a stronger union that could weather the challenges of the future. John Dingell loved Michigan. He understood the connection our people have to manufacturing, to agriculture, and to the land and the Great Lakes that support our Michigan way of life.”

Progress Michigan Executive Director Lonnie Scott:

“John Dingell has long been one of my political role models from the time I was old enough to understand the political process. He is and always will be one of the true statesmen of our state and country. The United States is a better place because of his unbridled dedication to public service.”

Michigan Democratic Party Chairwoman Lavora Barnes:

“John Dingell was The Dean and more. He was and will remain the embodiment of what it means to be a Michigan Democrat: hard-working, selfless, and relentless in his pursuit to improve the lives of the everyday people who built our state and make it great.”

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan:

“He will be remembered as of the greatest legislators in American history who never forgot about the people he served and the city of Detroit. When our workers or automakers needed help, John always answered their call. No one fought harder for working people in Congress than John did. When the Rouge and Detroit Rivers festered with pollution, John led the effort in Congress to clean them up.

“Perhaps most importantly, when his father died, John carried on his legacy of fighting for universal healthcare coverage. … While it’s hard to imagine a world without John Dingell, his legacy of working to improve people’s lives will last forever.”

Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor:

“We have lost a dear friend, strong and true, a leader who has served with dignity and grit to make the world a better place. Thank you, John Dingell, for everything you have done over the decades, for us here in Ann Arbor and throughout our great land.”

Former U.S. Rep Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township:

“John Dingell has had one of the most impactful lives of any public figure in the history of our great state. From his service in the Army during World War II to his advocacy on so many issues that helped shape modern America – civil rights, endangered species and the environment, health care, support of U.S. manufacturing and the auto industry – John Dingell was a true giant.”

Office of U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn:

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of John David Dingell, Jr., former Michigan Congressman and longest-serving member of the United States Congress. Congressman Dingell died peacefully today at his home in Dearborn, surrounded by his wife Deborah. He was a lion of the United States Congress and a loving son, father, husband, grandfather, and friend. 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.”

Daniel J. Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan:

“John Dingell was a Michigan icon and champion for our state and nation. From the time he took office until the time he retired, Congressman Dingell fought tirelessly on behalf of Michigan residents and all Americans. He was a respected policymaker, a champion for honesty and ethics and a history maker who led through compromise and collaboration.”

Michigan Republican Party Chairman Ron Weiser:

“John Dingell was an incredible public servant who will be greatly missed. While we didn’t always agree on issues, I enjoyed Congressman Dingell’s company and admired his patriotism, his love for our state, and our shared love for the University of Michigan.”

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Flint Township:

“John Dingell will forever be recognized as one of the most impactful and consequential leaders of our time. John lived every day of his life with clear moral purpose, incredible humor, a strong work ethic and an unwavering devotion to both Michigan and his family. John’s passing is an enormous loss to the nation.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton:

“I count it a privilege to have served with John Dingell in the House and to represent a part of his former district. He was a towering figure in this institution and left a mark that few can match. Throughout his lifetime of public service, John was a fierce advocate for the people of Michigan and was guided by a love of country.”

Bill Ford, Ford Motor Co. executive chairman:

“For my 20 years as Chairman of Ford Motor Company, I considered John Dingell a friend and advisor. John was a larger-than-life legend whose presence will be deeply missed at Ford. Even on the most divisive issues at the most difficult of times, he was unwavering in his efforts to find common ground. He constantly reminded us as a company and as an industry that we either work together or we fail separately.”

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan:

“Chairman Dingell was a true statesman: he embodied the values, spirit and dedication that all public servants should aspire to have. He was a mentor to me and countless others who sought to give back to their communities. I will never forget his wise counsel as I learned my way around Congress. Chairman Dingell will always be with us because his legacy will be forever woven into the history of Michigan and our country.”

Leigh Greden, Dingell’s former chief of staff:

“John Dingell set the gold standard for serving constituents. He always strived to do more for the people he served, even when he was already far exceeding their expectations. He was a mentor to countless people. He presided over the passage of Medicare and wrote the Clean Air Act. He was kind, humble, funny and smart. His legacy is immeasurable.”

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit:

“You will be missed, John Dingell. Thank you for always being so kind to us younger activists and never trying to reduce our voice. Your humor, intelligence and drive for a better world will never be forgotten.”

Washtenaw County Commissioner Andy LaBarre, Dingell’s former district administrator:

“John Dingell was a tremendous man, an unmatched legislator, the best example of a public servant. He lived an amazing and remarkable life. I’m lucky to have known him and learned from him. Our nation is fortunate to have had his service.”

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph:

“John was enormous in stature, integrity, and accomplishments. When he put his hand on your shoulder and spoke, you listened. Representing the great state of Michigan was truly a labor of love and John Dingell fiercely fought to support and rescue our auto industry in the toughest of times. There is a reason why a Dingell has represented Southeast Michigan for some 86 years. Their constituents know they always put country over everything else. They have all been chiseled from the same block of gold.”

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez:

“Life is a little dimmer without John Dingell. Over six decades of public service, John did it all. Whether it was fighting for civil rights or expanding access to health care for millions, he fought tirelessly to improve the lives of the American people and move our country closer to fulfilling its founding promise of justice and equality for all. Even after John left office, our nation relied on his grace, courage, and sharp wit to get us through. No matter the subject of the day, John always seemed to know the right thing to say.”


©2019 The Ann Arbor News, Mich.

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