Dingell, 87, told the Free Press that he'd reached the decision to retire at the end of his current term — his 29th full one — rather than run for re-election because it was time, given a list of achievements that any other member of Congress would envy, and his continued frustration over partisan gridlock. Dingell replaced his father in Congress and, like him, made health care his overriding passion.
For weeks, rumors had circulated that Dingell — who last June surpassed the late Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia as the longest-serving member of Congress — might be considering retirement. While clearly sharp mentally — he could be seen in recent months peppering witnesses with questions before his beloved Energy and Commerce Committee — time has had taken its toll on his body, forcing him to use crutches or a wheelchair to get around
|Debbie Dingell with her husband John Dingell.|
But less than two weeks ago, his office seemed to put those rumors to rest with an e-mail to constituents in which Dingell vowed to fight on for extended unemployment benefits and "to protect the many workers and industries important to southeast Michigan." In the e-mail, he said he would "continue to reiterate to my colleagues that the words 'compromise' and 'conciliation' should not be considered dirty words in Washington."
Dingell, who will be 88 in July, was expected to let his staff know about the decision on Monday morning and then announce it publicly at a noon luncheon at the Southern Wayne County Chamber of Commerce in Southgate.
Dingell's 28 years young wife, Deborah, (60) who with her husband makes up one of Washington's and southeastern Michigan's most prominent power couples, is widely considered a possible candidate. The 12th Congressional District is considered a relatively safe Democratic district.
Hopefully voters will keep an open mind when voting for that congressional seat later this year. We do not have royalty in this county and no seat is reserved.