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Rep. Dingell, Longest Serving Member Of Congress, To Retire

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., was first elected in 1955 at the age of 29.
Posted at 12:19 PM, Feb 24, 2014

U.S. Representative John Dingell — the longest serving member of Congress — announced he's retiring. 

The 87-year-old Michigan Democrat has spent 58 years in the House. In 1955, when he was just 29, replaced his father John Dingle Sr. in Congress. (Via Office of Rep. John Dingell, Library of Congress

 “My old daddy told me something very important… He said son, it’s not how long, but how well.” (Via USA Today

Dingell told The Detroit News his health isn't the reason for his departure. "I’m not going to be carried out feet first ... I don’t want people to say I stayed too long."

Dingell says he found serving in the House in recent years challenging because of all the partisan bitterness. He’s not alone — he joins a growing list of lawmakers leaving Capitol Hill for the same reason.

Politico drew up a list of all the House members retiring at the end of this year, and found among them they leave behind well over 300 years of congressional experience.”

With nearly six decades of experience, Dingell was involved in the passage of several landmark bills, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the creation of Medicare in 1965.  

His seat will in all likelihood go to a Democrat this fall. President Obama won the district by 66 percent in 2012. 

As for who could fill that seat, The Washington Post names Dingell’s wife, Debbie Dingell, as a possible contender — noting the former General Motors exec considered a possible Senate run last year.

If re-elected, fellow Michigan Congressman John Conyers would replace Dingell as Congress's most senior member.