The longest-serving lawmaker in congressional history, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) announced Monday he is retiring at the end of the 113th Congress. He will have served 29 terms.
Dingell, an undisputed icon in the Democratic Party, chaired the powerful House Commerce Committee for 15 years, losing the chairmanship in 2008 to another stalwart, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who also recently announced his retirement—setting up the committee for political jockeying. On the Senate side, commerce committee chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is also leaving.
As chairman emeritus of the commerce committee, Dingell never disappointed in bringing a smile to everyone in the room with his trademark interviewing of witnesses who were directed to answer "yes" or "no" to Dingell's questions.
Last year, after giving the commerce committee hearing room a new paint job, chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) named the room after Dingell.
At the time, Upton called Dingell a "congressional giant … Now, when future generations arrive at 2123 Rayburn [one of three House buildings] to watch the people's business, they will immediately be reminded of the rich and historic legacy of the distinguished gentleman from Michigan."
Dingell, 87, is expected to formally announce his retirement at a luncheon in Dearborn, Mich.
"I'm not going to be carried out feet first. I don't want people to say I stayed too long," Dingell told the Detroit News, saying his health was "good enough" if he had wanted to continue.