John Dingell, Longest-Serving Congressman, Publishes Posthumous Op-ed

“In democratic government, elected officials do not have power. They hold power," the Michigan Democrat wrote.

In a Washington Post op-ed published the day after his death, former Congressman John Dingell Jr. reflected on Congress’ progressive accomplishments and reminded readers that lawmakers serve at the pleasure of the American people. 

The Michigan Democrat, who was the longest-serving member of Congress and held office in the House from 1955 to 2015, died Thursday at age 92.

“[M]uch as I have found Twitter to be a useful means of expression, some occasions merit more than 280 characters,” he said, a sly nod to his penchant for burning President Donald Trump on the social media network. 

In the op-ed, he recalled how legislation like the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act ― all laws he helped pass ― transformed the U.S. during his time in office. 

He dedicated the op-ed to his wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell, who succeeded him in office after his retirement. 

It “is a source of great satisfaction to know that she is among the largest group of women to have ever served in the Congress (as she busily recruits more),” he wrote. 

Dingell ended the piece with a call for Americans to maintain high standards for those they elect into office.

“In democratic government, elected officials do not have power,” he said. “They hold power — in trust for the people who elected them. If they misuse or abuse that public trust, it is quite properly revoked (the quicker the better).”

A public funeral mass will be held Tuesday in Dearborn, Michigan. Dingell, a World War II-era Army veteran, will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

The White House has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff through Saturday. 

Read the full op-ed at The Washington Post.