- John Dingell
John D. Dingell, Jr. Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 15th district
Incumbent Assumed office
January 3, 2003
Preceded by Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick In office
December 13, 1955 – January 3, 1965
Preceded by John D. Dingell, Sr. Succeeded by William Ford Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan's 16th district In office
January 3, 1965 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by John Lesinski Succeeded by District Eliminated 43rd Dean of the United States House of Representatives Incumbent Assumed office
January 3, 1995
Preceded by Jamie L. Whitten Chairman Emeritus of the House Energy and Commerce Committee In office
January 5, 2009 – January 5, 2011
Preceded by Position created Succeeded by Joe Barton Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee In office
January 5, 2007 – January 5, 2009
Preceded by Joe Barton Succeeded by Henry Waxman In office
January 5, 1981 – January 5, 1995
Preceded by Harley Orrin Staggers Succeeded by Thomas J. Bliley, Jr. Personal details Born July 8, 1926
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Political party Democratic Spouse(s) Deborah Dingell Residence Dearborn, Michigan Alma mater Georgetown University Occupation Attorney Religion Roman Catholic Signature Website The Honorable John D. Dingell Military service Service/branch United States Army Years of service 1944–1946 Rank Second Lieutenant
John David Dingell, Jr. (born July 8, 1926) is the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 15th congressional district, serving since 1955 (his district was first in western Detroit but has successively moved further into that city's western suburbs). He is a member of the Democratic Party. His district includes most of Detroit's western suburbs such as the western portion of Dearborn, Romulus, Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area and all of the Monroe/Dundee area. He is married to Deborah Insley Dingell.
He is currently the Dean of the U.S. House of Representatives. He is also the longest-currently-serving member of Congress, the longest to serve exclusively in the House ever, and the third longest-serving member of Congress ever.
Early life, education, and early career
Dingell was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is of Polish and Scots-Irish descent. His father's original surname had been Dzieglewicz, meaning, roughly, 'blacksmith.' John D. Dingell, Sr. changed his name for his campaign for office with the slogan 'Ring (in) with Dingell.' Dingell's mother was Grace Bigler Dingell. His father, John D. Dingell, Sr. (1894–1955), represented Michigan's 15th district from 1933 to 1955.
In Washington, D.C., John, Jr. attended Georgetown Preparatory School and then the House Page School when he served as a page for the U.S. House of Representatives from 1938 to 1943. In 1944, at the age of 18, Dingell joined the United States Army. He rose to the rank of Second Lieutenant and received orders to take part in the first wave of a planned invasion of Japan in November 1945; the Congressman has said President Truman's decision to use the atomic bomb to end the war saved his life.
He then attended Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where he graduated with a law degree in 1952. He was a lawyer in private practice, a research assistant to U.S. Circuit Court judge Theodore Levin, a Congressional employee, a forest ranger, and assistant prosecuting attorney for Wayne County until 1955.
U.S. House of Representatives
In 1955, John, Sr. died and John, Jr. won a special election to succeed him. He won a full term in 1956 and has been reelected 26 times, including a run in 2006 with no major opponent. Between them, he and his father have represented the southeastern Michigan area for more than 75 years.
His district was numbered as the 15th District from 1955 to 1965, when redistricting merged it into the Dearborn-based 16th District; in the primary that year, he defeated 16th District incumbent John Lesinski, Jr.
In 2002, redistricting merged Dingell's 16th District with the Washtenaw County and western Wayne County-based 13th District, represented by fellow Democrat Lynn Rivers, whom Dingell also bested in the Democratic primary. The current 15th District () includes Wayne County suburbs generally southwest of Detroit, the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti areas in Washtenaw County, and all of Monroe County. For many years, Dingell represented much of western Detroit itself, though Detroit's declining population and the growth of its suburbs has pushed all of Detroit into the districts of fellow Democrats including John Conyers. Dingell has always won re-election by double-digit margins, although the increasing conservatism of the white suburbs of Detroit since the 1970s led to several serious Republican challenges in the 1990s. He has won his last two elections, however, with over 70 percent of the vote. With the retirement of Jamie L. Whitten, the death of William Natcher, and the defeat of Texas congressman Jack Brooks at the start of a new Congress in January 1995, he became the Dean of the United States House of Representatives even though fellow congressman Sidney Yates had served non-consecutive terms earlier than Dingell. He is one of three people to serve in the House for 50 years, the others being Whitten and Carl Vinson.
On February 20, 2010, Dingell announced that he would seek a 29th term in the November 2010 election, and won re-election.
Dingell was honored at the White House with a Presidential lunch for his 50th anniversary in Congress on December 13, 2005.
Along with John Conyers, in April 2006 Dingell brought an action against George W. Bush and others alleging violations of the Constitution in the passing of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. The case (Conyers v. Bush) was ultimately dismissed due to lack of standing.
After winning re-election in 2008 for his 28th consecutive term, Dingell surpassed Whitten's record for having the longest tenure in the House on February 11, 2009. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm declared February 11, 2009, to be John Dingell Day in honor of the record.
- Energy and Commerce chairman
During his first stint as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Dingell was regarded by analysts as one of the four or five most powerful members of the House.
Dingell is well known, and often feared, for his vigorous approach to oversight. He has subpoenaed numerous high government officials to testify before the committee and grilled them for hours. Insisting that all who testify before his committee do so under oath, thus exposing them to perjury charges if they didn't tell the truth, he and his committee have uncovered numerous instances of corruption and waste, such as the use of $600 toilet seats at the Pentagon. He also claims that committee's work led to resignations of many Environmental Protection Agency officials, and for uncovering information that led to legal proceedings that sent many Food and Drug Administration officials to jail.
After serving as the committee's ranking Democrat for 12 years, Dingell regained the chairmanship in 2007. According to Newsweek, he had wanted to investigate the Bush Administration's handling of port security, the Medicare prescription drug program and Dick Cheney's energy task force. Time magazine has stated that he had intended to oversee legislation that addresses global warming and climate change caused by carbon emissions from automobiles, energy companies and industry (citation: June 2007 issue, Time magazine).
Dingell lost the chairmanship for the 111th Congress to Congressman Henry Waxman of California in a Democratic Caucus meeting on November 20, 2008. Waxman mounted a challenge against Dingell on grounds that Dingell was stalling certain environmental legislation, which would have tightened vehicle emissions standards—something which could be detrimental to the Big Three automobile manufacturers that constitute a major source of employment in Dingell's district. Dingell was given the title of Chairman Emeritus in a token of appreciation of his years of service on the committee.
- Baltimore case
In the 1980s Dingell led a series of congressional hearings to pursue alleged scientific fraud by Thereza Imanishi-Kari and Nobel Prize-winner David Baltimore. Although the scientists were later exonerated, the hearings and negative publicity surrounding them forced David Baltimore to resign as president of Rockefeller University and caused Imanishi-Kari to lose a tenure-track position.
The story of the case is described in Daniel Kevles' 1998 book The Baltimore Case, in a chapter of Horace Freeland Judson's 2004 book The Great Betrayal: Fraud In Science, and in a 1993 study by Serge Lang, updated and reprinted in his book Challenges (New York: Springer-Verlag; 1997).
- Robert Gallo and the controversy on who discovered the AIDS virus
In 1991–1995 Dingell's staff investigated claims that Robert Gallo had used samples supplied to him by Luc Montagnier to fraudulently claim to have discovered the AIDS virus. The report concluded that Gallo had engaged in fraud and that the NIH covered up his misappropriation of work by the French team at the Institut Pasteur. The report contended that:
“ The real inventors of the HIV blood test... were the (Pasteur) scientists. Even more important, the CDC data, together with the extensive data already accumulated by the (Pasteur) scientists, showed that the (Pasteur) virus-discovered long before the putative LTCB virus-was the cause of AIDS. ”
The report was never formally published as a subcommittee report due to the 1995 change in control of the House from Democrats to Republicans. Other accusations against Gallo were dropped, and while Montagnier's group is considered to be the first to isolate the virus, Gallo's has been recognized as first to prove that this virus was the cause of AIDS.
- Other membership
- Board of Trustees for the Nature Conservancy of Michigan
- Committee on Energy and Commerce
Dingell is generally classified as a liberal Democrat, and throughout his career he has been a leading congressional supporter of organized labor, social welfare measures and traditional progressive policies. At the beginning of every Congress, Dingell introduces a bill providing for a national health insurance system, the same bill that his father proposed while he was in Congress. Dingell also strongly supported Bill Clinton's managed-care proposal early in his administration.
On some issues, though, he reflects the conservative values of his largely Catholic and working-class district. He supported the Vietnam War until 1971. Although he backed the Johnson Administration's civil rights bills, he opposed expanding school desegregation to Detroit suburbs via mandatory busing. He takes a fairly moderate position on abortion. He has worked to balance clean air legislation with the need to protect manufacturing jobs.
An avid sportsman and hunter, he strongly opposes gun control, and is a former board member of the National Rifle Association. For many years, Dingell has received an A+ rating from the NRA.
The political analyst Michael Barone wrote of Dingell in 2002:
“ There is something grand about the range of Dingell's experience and about his adherence to his philosophy over a very long career...He is an old-fashioned social Democrat who knows that most voters don't agree with his goals of a single-payer national health insurance plan but presses forward toward that goal as far as he can." 'It's hard to believe that there was once no Social Security or Medicare', he says. 'The Dingell family helped change that. My father worked on Social Security and for national health insurance, and I sat in the chair and presided over the House as Medicare passed (in 1965). I went with Lyndon Johnson for the signing of Medicare at the Harry S. Truman Library, and I have successfully fought efforts to privatize Social Security and Medicare'. Whether you agree or disagree, the social democratic tradition is one of the great traditions in our history, and John Dingell has fought for it for a very long time. ”
On March 23, 2010, Dingell was interviewed by WJR-AM Detroit radio host Paul W.Smith about the newly signed federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. That conversation included this excerpt:
HOST: Are we ready to let 72,000 more people die in our country, if 18,000 died or whatever the number is, the figure that anyone comes up with, per year because of a lack of health insurance or health care, when this bill doesn't basically take effect until 2014?
DINGELL: Paul W., we're not ready to be doing it. But let me remind you, this has been going on for years. We are bringing it to a halt. The harsh fact of the matter is, when you're going to pass legislation that will cover 300 [million] American people in different ways, it takes a long time to do the necessary administrative steps that have to be taken to put the legislation together to control the people.
Responding to subsequent controversy over his use of the phrase "control the people", Rep. Dingell stated, "I was referring to the insurance companies who (sic) we must do a better job of overseeing."
For his conduct regarding environmental issues during the 109th Congress the lobby group League of Conservation Voters has awarded Dingell its highest rating, 100%. According to the LCV, Dingell voted "pro-environment" on twelve out of twelve issues the group deemed critical; they also praised him for introducing, along with representatives James Oberstar and Jim Leach, an amendment compelling the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rescind a directive issued in 2003 by the Bush Administration "requiring EPA staff to get permission from headquarters before protecting 'isolated' water bodies like vernal pools, prairie potholes, playa lakes and bogs," which provide "critical wildlife habitat, store flood water, and protect drinking water supplies." Dingell is also a member of the Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus.
Dingell has opposed raising mandatory automobile fuel efficiency standards, which he helped to write in the 1970s. Instead he has indicated that he intends to pursue a regulatory structure that takes greenhouse gas emissions and oil consumption into account. In a July, 2007 interview with thehill.com, he said “I have made it very plain that I intend to see to it that CAFE is increased” and pointed out that his plan would have CAFE increases tantamount to those in the Senate bill recently passed. In November 2007, working with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Dingell helped draft an energy bill that would mandate 40% increase in fuel efficiency standards.
In July 2007, Dingell indicated he planned to introduce a new tax on carbon usage in order to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. The policy has been criticized by some, as polling numbers show voters may be unwilling to pay for the changes. A Wall Street Journal editorial claimed that vehicle emissions standards that he supports will not yield any substantial greenhouse gas emissions savings.
Private sector ties
Dingell has drawn criticism for his ties to the automotive industry. The three largest contributors to his campaign for the 2006 election cycle are political action committees, employees, or other affiliates of General Motors, Ford Motor Company and DaimlerChrysler; since 1989, intermediaries for these corporations have contributed more than $US 600,000 to his campaigns. Dingell also holds an unknown quantity, once more than $US 1 million, in assets through General Motors stock options and savings-stock purchase programs; his wife, Debbie Dingell, worked as a lobbyist for the corporation until they married, whereupon she moved to an administrative position there. As of June 2007, Mrs. Dingell was executive director of Global Community Relations and Government Relation at GM and vice chair of the General Motors Foundation.
- ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=66853
- ^ "About Debbie", Debbie Dingell for Wayne State Board of Governors. Retrieved 2009-05-22.
- ^ [dead link]
- ^ Congressional website bio
- ^ "Longest-serving U.S. Rep Dingell to run again", "Washington Post," February 20, 2010.
- ^ "Retrieve Pages". Frwebgate.access.gpo.gov. http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getpage.cgi?dbname=2005_record&page=H11598&position=all. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- ^ [dead link]
- ^ Todd Spangler, "Dingell goes for record by running for 28th term", Detroit Free Press, March 26, 2008.
- ^ Henry I. Miller, M.D. (The Hoover Institution), ["Dingell's Grand Inquisitor Politics," Wall Street Journal, 25 November 2008]: accessed 25 November 2008.
- ^ a b What Would Victorious Democrats Do? - Newsweek Politics - MSNBC.com
- ^ The Baltimore Case — ISBN 0-393-04103-4.
- ^ Horace Freeland Judson, The Great Betrayal : Fraud in Science, 1st. Ed., 2004
- ^ "Science subverted in AIDS dispute" Chicago Tribune 1 Jan 1995
- ^ Prusiner SB (November 2002). "Historical essay. Discovering the cause of AIDS". Science 298 (5599): 1726. doi:10.1126/science.1079874. PMID 12459574.
- ^ Barone, Michael (August 9, 2002). "The victory of an old-fashioned social Democrat". US News & World Report. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/baroneweb/mb_020809.htm. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
- ^ a b League of Conservation Voters 2006 Scorecard
- ^ "The Democrats Lag on Warming" New York Times 10 June 2007
- ^ " Auto Chiefs Make Headway Against a Mileage Increase" New York Times 7 June 2007
- ^ grist.org
- ^ "An Auto Insider Takes on Climate Change", Time Magazine, May 31, 2007.
- ^ "Dems Reach Deal on Energy Bill" Associated Press 1 Dec 2007
- ^ "Truth in Global Warming". The Wall Street Journal. July 10, 2007. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118403408397861751.html?mod=opinion_main_review_and_outlooks.
- ^ michiganliberal.com
- ^ Center for Responsive Politics
- ^ Center for Responsive Politics
- ^ http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/pfd2005/N00001783_2005.pdf
- ^ “Ethics When Spouses Earn Paychecks,” ‘’Time’’, March 30 1992.. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
- ^ Wayne State University. Retrieved 22 June 2007.
- Dean of the House of Representatives John D. Dingell official U.S. House site
- John D. Dingell for U.S. Congress official campaign site
- Biography at WhoRunsGov.com at The Washington Post
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Voting record maintained by The Washington Post
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Congressional profile at GovTrack
- Congressional profile at OpenCongress
- Issue positions and quotes at On The Issues
- Financial information at OpenSecrets.org
- Staff salaries, trips and personal finance at LegiStorm.com
- Campaign finance reports and data at the Federal Election Commission
- Appearances on C-SPAN programs
- Collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Profile at SourceWatch
- CD15 at Michigan Liberal
- Dingell's account of his civil rights record
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