The announcement that Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), member of the House Communications Subcommittee and former chair of the parent Energy & Commerce Committee would be retiring after almost 60 -- yes, 60 -- years in Congress was greeted with a mix of sadness and celebration Monday, the first for his departure, the latter for all he had brought to that body.
“John Dingell has had a legendary career in the House and left an enormous mark on the institution and the nation," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). Waxman, who is the ranking member of Energy & Commerce and also announced that this session that it will be his last. "His legislative and oversight record is extraordinary. He has been an exceptional leader on health care and energy policy and has made America a healthier and more prosperous nation. He has been a role model for me and generations of members, for which I will always be grateful. I wish him and his family the best in the years to come.”
Current House Energy & Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) last year renamed the main hearing room after Dingell.
“It has been a real pleasure working closely with ‘Big John’ through the years on a number of issues facing our country," said Upton.... "And, on the occasion we may disagree, we've never been disagreeable. The term ‘legendary’ will always be associated with the name ‘John Dingell.’ Following in his father’s footsteps, John always put his beloved Michigan constituents first throughout his nearly six decades of public service....By any standard, he will not only be viewed as the ‘Dean of the House,’ but also one with an incredible record of getting the job done."
Dingell may have been a friend to broadcasters, but American Cable Association president Matthew Polka said he would be "missed by all....This ‘Man of the House’ is simply irreplaceable, he said, adding: “Venerated for his mastery of parliamentary process and second to none on the issues, Rep. Dingell was instrumental in enacting some of the most significant laws since World War II, and he was without peer in terms of carrying out Congress’ responsibility of overseeing the other branches and independent agencies. Rep. Dingell is a legislative giant who defined what it means to serve the public interest."
"In a lifetime of public service, Rep. Dingell has made an indelible mark working to advance the cause of his constituents and our nation," said National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Michael Powell. "His leadership in the House will be missed, and his “Dingell-grams” will remain legendary. As the longest serving Member of Congress, he has approached each and every challenge with his trademark determination and wit, and has been a true guiding force in advancing major communications legislation for decades. I have personally had the priviledge of working with and learning from Mr. Dingell. He is a shining example of leadership and public service, worthy of emulation. We wish him the best during the rest of his term and when he returns home to Michigan."
“John Dingell is a legend in the Congress and a national treasure. His body of legislative achievements will continue to be seen and experienced by every American for generations to come," said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Communications Subcommittee. "From protecting the environment, to promoting civil and worker rights, Congressman Dingell's legislative hand has shaped it. He famously introduced health care legislation in 1955, and in every Congress since then to provide affordable, accessible care for every American.
“Congressman Dingell's service and legislation is unmatched in the history of our country, and it has been a great honor to serve with him. I wish him and Debbie my full wishes for every blessing.”
Comptel CEO Chip Pickering said Dingell had set "the highest standard for public service." Pickering, who served in the House with Dingell, said he had [worked] as a fierce advocate for the principles in which he believes," and "leaves a legacy of legislative success on behalf of his constituents... His love of and respect for the institution of Congress and of the Energy and Commerce Committee are irreplaceable. He will always be known as one of the true giants in Congressional history.”