Updated, 11:00 p.m.
The passing Thursday of former U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Dearborn), the former Dean of the House, was marked by many political leaders in Michigan and beyond.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called him “one of our greatest leaders” and ordered Michigan’s flags to be lowered in his honor.
“John Dingell will forever be remembered as ‘The Dean’ of Congress not simply for the length of his service, but for his unparalleled record of legislative accomplishments. The Congressman’s grit, humility and humor taught us all that we can disagree without being disagreeable, while still finding common ground and working together to get things done,” she said. The people of Michigan owe John Dingell so much. … We are a stronger, safer, healthier nation because of Congressman Dingell’s 59 years of service, and his work will continue to improve the lives of Michiganders for generations to come.”
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) called Dingell “true Michigan and American legend, the Dean of the House and my longtime friend. We have been incredibly lucky to have you and will miss you dearly.”
Former President Barack Obama remembered Dingell’s role in the 2008 auto bailout that was critical for Michigan.
“Over the course of the longest congressional career in history, John led the charge on so much of the progress we take for granted today. He presided over the vote for Medicare — changing the lives of America’s seniors. He helped lead the fight for the Civil Rights Act — opening new doors for countless citizens. Ten years ago, in a moment of peril, he helped us rescue the American auto industry — saving the livelihoods of one million Americans,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint) noted Dingell’s record, as well as his personal relationship with him.
“I have known John my entire life. He has been someone I looked up to, a dear colleague and a guiding voice for good. John will forever be a role model for those who seek a life of public service and helping others,” he said. “… John Dingell will forever be recognized as one of the most impactful and consequential leaders of our time. John lived every day of his life with clear moral purpose, incredible humor, a strong work ethic and an unwavering devotion to both Michigan and his family. John’s passing is an enormous loss to the nation.”
Former President Bill Clinton said on Twitter that he and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are “grateful to have worked with him & called him our friend.
“For nearly 60 years, John Dingell represented the people of Michigan with honor, integrity & great good humor. There are few major legislative triumphs since 1955 that he didn’t have a key hand in passing,” he added.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) called him “one of the greatest legislators in history.
“Today, we have lost a beloved pillar of the Congress and one of the greatest legislators in American history,” she said. “Every chapter of Chairman John Dingell’s life has been lived in service to our country, from his time as a House Page, to his service in the Army during World War II, to his almost six decades serving the people of Michigan in the U.S. Congress. John Dingell leaves a towering legacy of unshakable strength, boundless energy and transformative leadership.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden praised Dingell’s “moral courage and vision.
“John Dingell was the Dean of the House. He earned that title — not just because he was there the longest — but because he led with great moral courage and vision. He was a friend and I will miss him terribly. Debbie is in my prayers,” he said.
U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that “Americans will long remember John for his humor, his wit, his keen intellect, his fearlessness, and his searing questioning of those he believed were jeopardizing the safety, health, and welfare of our people.”
U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.) called Dingell a mentor.
“John was a true statesman: he embodied the values, spirit, & dedication that all public servants should aspire to have. He was a mentor to me & countless others who sought to give back to their communities. I will never forget his wise counsel as I learned my way around Congress,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Rochester Hills) called Dingell her “dear friend.
“The world has lost a giant: for justice, for healthcare, and for the advancement of American innovation,” she said on Twitter.
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) recalled what Dingell told him when he arrived on Capitol Hill.
“When I got to Congress, John sat me down to give me advice: ‘You’re not important. It’s what you can now do to help others that’s important. If you never forget that, you’ll do fine,'” Deutch said on Twitter. “John never forgot, and he helped millions. A very fine life indeed.”