John Dingell's Long View
The occasion was Dingell's last annual "State of the District" speech in March. His recent announcement that he would not seek re-election made national news, because he has served for more than fifty-eight years--longer than any other member of Congress in history.
Dingell has represented Ann Arbor since 2002, when a GOP-orchestrated redistricting extended his suburban Detroit district westward. After winning a primary battle with popular Ann Arbor Democrat Lynn Rivers, Dingell quickly overcame any lingering ill will with sheer hard work. "I never talked to Congressman Dingell when he didn't say, 'John, are we doing everything we can do for you and Ann Arbor?'" recalls mayor John Hieftje, who enlisted his support on everything from funding the Stadium bridges to buying hybrid buses for the AAATA.
Though Dingell lives in Dearborn when not in D.C., this year alone "he's made dozens of appearances in Ann Arbor," says aide Chris Schuler. He's met with supporters of a higher minimum wage at Zingerman's, discussed the Detroit International Wildlife Refuge at the U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment, went to a Michigan Education Association legislative breakfast, attended the visitation for the late labor activist Fred Veigel, and spoke to the U-M College Democrats.
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