Dingell becomes No. 2 on House longevity list

For someone who had just become the second-longest-serving member in the history of the House, and has a good shot at becoming the longest-serving member, Rep. John Dingell didn’t sound very impressed.

“Nobody is going to remember what I did,” the 79-year-old Michigan Democrat told The Hill on Tuesday as he surpassed the longevity mark set by the late Rep. Carl Vinson (D-Ga.), who served 50 years, two months and 13 days. “But I will have the satisfaction of knowing what I did,” he added.

If Dingell wins two more terms and is still in office on Valentine’s Day 2009, he’ll break the all-time House longevity mark set by the late Jamie Whitten (D-Miss.).

Dingell, who was elected in 1955 at the age of 29, had already set a family House longevity record. He succeeded his late father, also named John, who served in the House from 1933 until his death in 1955. That means Michigan has had a Dingell sitting in Congress for the past 73 years.

Looking back on his five decades in Congress, Dingell said, “You’d be astounded at the loyalty and decency and goodness of people, and you would be amazed at how they remember even the smallest favors.

Asked if he has any regrets, Dingell said, “Yeah, Republicans control the House and the Senate and the presidency.” But he said he is preparing to run again, with the help of his wife of the past 25 years, Debbie, the vice chairwoman of the General Motors Foundation and Michigan’s Democratic National Committee woman.