(WXYZ) — Political leader across the county are responding to the death of the nation's longest-serving U.S. congressman, John Dingell. He was 92 years old.
On Wednesday, Rep. Debbie Dingell said that she was not in attendance at the State of the Union address Tuesday night because she chose to stay with her husband. John was placed in hospice care after receiving a cancer diagnosis.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer responded to the former congressman's passing with the below written statement:
Today the great State of Michigan said farewell to one of our greatest leaders. John Dingell will forever be remembered as ‘The Dean’ of Congress not simply for the length of his service, but for his unparalleled record of legislative accomplishments. The Congressman’s grit, humility and humor taught us all that we can disagree without being disagreeable, while still finding common ground and working together to get things done. The people of Michigan owe John Dingell so much, from his brave service in World War II, to his leadership as Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and his crucial role in passing some of the most monumental laws of the past century, including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act. We are a stronger, safer, healthier nation because of Congressman Dingell’s 59 years of service, and his work will continue to improve the lives of Michiganders for generations to come. I extend my deepest and most heartfelt condolences to Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and the entire Dingell family for their loss. In this divisive time, may we all draw wisdom and inspiration from the truly remarkable life of Congressman John Dingell, and may we all continue to learn from his example of selfless public service as we work to build a better future for our state.
Whitmer has also ordered flags across the nation to be lowered to half-staff Friday, Feb. 8 to honor Dingell.
Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow called Dingell a "dear friend," saying that he was not "merely a witness to history" but a "maker of it."
“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. His wife, Debbie, who has been his closest confidant for more than 40 years, is working hard to carry on his legacy. I know that all of us in Michigan are sending her and their family and many friends our love and support at this time.”
Congresswoman for Michigan's 8th District, Elissa Slotkin, addressed Dingell's passing in a tweet saying:
Michigan lost a truly great man today. John Dingell was an unparalleled public servant who dedicated his life to championing the needs of ordinary Americans.— Rep. Elissa Slotkin (@RepSlotkin) February 8, 2019
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan released a statement:
”I am deeply saddened at the death of John Dingell. 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. He presided over the House when Medicare passed in 1965, and he was there when President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010. More than 680,000 Michiganders have healthcare today thanks to John never giving up on his father’s dream. While it’s hard to imagine a world without John Dingell, his legacy of working to improve people’s lives will last forever. John was a great personal friend to me for more than 30 years. On behalf of the entire city of Detroit, our hearts and prayers go out to Debbie and the rest of the Dingell family during this difficult time.”
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel released the following statement on Congressman John Dingell's passing:
“Our hearts today are with Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and the entire Dingell family. Former Congressman John Dingell inspired generations of leaders and fought hard on behalf of the people of Michigan and our great nation. His legacy will live on in the work he has done to ensure Michigan and our nation remain vibrant for years to come. His presence, lifetime of service and remarkable wit will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.”
University of Michigan-Dearborn Chancellor Domenico Grasso released this statement on the passing of Congressman John Dingell:
"Our nation, state and region have lost a dedicated public servant, fearless leader and gentleman. The dean of the House of Representatives leaves behind an incredible legacy that is woven into the American fabric. University of Michigan-Dearborn students, faculty, staff and alumni have long benefitted from a close friendship and partnership with Congressman Dingell, his presence on campus will be greatly missed. Thank you, Congressman Dingell for daring to make a difference."
Additional condolences poured in:
My statement on the passing of former Congressman John Dingell: pic.twitter.com/gjBYHHImzB— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 8, 2019
I, our country, and Twitter will miss @JohnDingell’s quick wit, good heart, and profound sense of patriotism. My thoughts are with @RepDebDingell, the whole Dingell family, and the wide community of friends, constituents, and fellow Americans who admired and respected him.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) February 8, 2019
For nearly 60 years, John Dingell represented the people of Michigan with honor, integrity & great good humor. There are few major legislative triumphs since 1955 that he didn’t have a key hand in passing. Hillary & I are grateful to have worked with him & called him our friend.— Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) February 8, 2019
John Dingell was the Dean of the House. He earned that title — not just because he was there the longest — but because he led with great moral courage and vision. He was a friend and I will miss him terribly. Debbie is in my prayers.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) February 8, 2019
What a life. As the longest-serving member of Congress, John Dingell helped increase access to health care, defended the auto industry, and was always good for just the right tweet. Sending @RepDebDingell and the rest of her family all my love.— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 8, 2019
John was a true statesman: he embodied the values, spirit, & dedication that all public servants should aspire to have. He was a mentor to me & countless others who sought to give back to their communities. I will never forget his wise counsel as I learned my way around Congress. pic.twitter.com/DB0P3Up7x8— Senator Gary Peters (@SenGaryPeters) February 8, 2019
John Dingell served in Congress with immeasurable dedication and an earnest sense of duty to his constituents, his country and his solemn oath of office. His life, legacy and example of true patriotism will never fade. #ThankYou #RIPJohnDingell https://t.co/Ho7lhARvmH— Brenda Lawrence (@RepLawrence) February 8, 2019
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.— Rep Tim Walberg (@RepWalberg) February 8, 2019