HONORING JOHN DINGELL
(House of Representatives - June 27, 2013)

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[Pages H4136-H4140]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                         HONORING JOHN DINGELL

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2013, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Barrow) is recognized 
for the remainder of the hour as the designee of the minority leader.
  Mr. BARROW of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor my friend, 
Representative John Dingell, who, this month became the longest-serving 
Member of Congress in our Nation's history.
  Representative Dingell has taught literally thousands of Members of 
Congress how to do good things for the people we represent, a legacy he 
continues to build in his 30th term in the people's House.
  I've had the honor to serve with Mr. Dingell on the House Energy and 
Commerce Committee. As we all know, oftentimes our schedules don't 
allow us to stick around for an entire committee meeting, but I always 
make it a point to stay until Mr. Dingell is finished. He is such a 
skilled cross-examiner that, by the time he's finished, we've heard the 
only questions that are worth asking, and we've got the only answers 
we're ever likely to get.
  John Dingell's ability to reach across the aisle and find compromise 
is the cure for what ails this place, and I only hope that thousands 
more will get the opportunity to learn from the master.
  I congratulate Mr. Dingell on this historic milestone and for his 
over 57 years of service to our country.
  At this time, Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased to yield to the gentleman from 
Michigan (Mr. Levin).
  Mr. LEVIN. Well, Mr. Dingell, there are many aspects of life that I 
could comment on, for example, friendship.
  Our families have known each other well over 75 years, going back to 
the relationship between your father and some of my relatives. It's 
been a long time. And I could talk about the friendship between 
yourself and your wife, Debbie, and our family for part of that time.
  I could also talk about your accomplishments, and there have been so 
many. I remember when I first came, how we worked to clean up the Rouge 
River; and without your efforts, I think today it would be more like it 
was than it now is.
  We could talk about health care and your historical role. We could 
talk about broader issues of clean water and clean air. We could talk 
about your devotion to the auto industry of this country and what would 
have happened all these years except for your dedication. And there are 
more accomplishments that I could talk about.
  But instead, let me just say a few words about what struck me as you 
spoke a few weeks ago--was it?--as we were celebrating your tenure. And 
you spoke at some length. The rumor is that Debbie, a few times, said, 
cut it a bit shorter, but you went on; and the reason I think you did 
is what I want to speak about.
  You began to talk about your years here, not in terms of the number 
of years, but what you have seen about this institution. And I think 
all of us who were there were glad that you continued to talk, because 
you've been here 55 years as a Member, and you've seen the changes, 
you've seen how there was a greater sense of working together in this 
place.
  You saw and were a key part of sure differences and, with you, 
sometimes sharp questioning, but there was a greater feel of common 
purpose in this unparalleled institution, and you spoke how we have 
lost some of it.
  So that's really what I wanted to focus on, because if anybody can 
speak about the need for all of us who work here and all of us who are 
Members here, if there's anybody who can remind us of how the 
importance of this institution should determine how we relate to each 
other, it's John Dingell.
  And I must confess, as I listened to your words, I felt that there 
had been something lost and that you reminded us it was vital that we 
regain. And it was interesting, you didn't really want to talk about 
anything else except your love for Debbie and this institution.
  So you, in a sense, are Mr. Institution. And your belief in it, your 
belief in our need to remind ourselves as to how we must try to work 
together, how we must try to relate, how we must try to take our basic 
principles--and you really have them--to use them not as a wall, but as 
an opportunity to proceed.
  So we owe you a lot. Your constituents owe you a lot, though you'll 
deny it. But all of us, I think, owe you immensely for the years you 
have served here, for your dedication, for your honesty, and for your 
reminding people in this institution why it was founded.
  In that sense, I think you are the exemplar of what sparked this 
creation in its first place. Keep going, keep reminding, and I hope 
we'll begin to follow better than we have.
  Mr. BARROW of Georgia. I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Speaker, at this time I am pleased to yield to the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. Gene Green).
  Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, Members, I rise tonight to 
honor a man that I'm proud to call a good friend and a mentor, John 
Dingell. Recently, John became the longest-serving Member of the 
Congress, serving for 57 years, 5 months, and 26 days, surpassing the 
service record of the late Senator Robert C. Byrd.
  John has a storied career in the House of Representatives, and you'll 
hear a lot about that tonight and already have. He has served with 11 
Presidents, congressional icons like Speaker Sam Rayburn from Texas, 
and had the opportunity to vote on landmark legislation like the 1964 
Civil Rights Act.
  He is the ultimate legislator for both Michigan and for America. He's 
also played an integral part in groundbreaking legislation, like the 
creation of the Medicare program, the National Environmental Policy 
Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Air Act, just to name a 
few.
  I always think of him as chairman, though. Since 1996 I've been 
fortunate to serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, with 
John as our committee leader for much of that time. While most 
associate John's leadership on the committee with his tenacious 
government watchdog activities, I saw a leader that did not fall victim 
to the partisan politics that define

[[Page H4137]]

the current House, but instead epitomized what we are here to do--the 
people's business.

                              {time}  1930

  He's a true legislator. It has truly been an honor to serve with him 
and learn from him, and, most importantly, to call him friend. He has a 
partner in his wonderful wife, Deborah, and a friend who, like my wife, 
Helen, allows us to serve our respective districts.
  John, I look forward to continuing our friendship and our work 
together.
  Mr. BARROW of Georgia. I thank the gentleman.
  Mr. Speaker, at this time I yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts 
(Mr. Markey).
  Mr. MARKEY. I thank the gentleman from Georgia for holding this 
Special Order. It is truly right and fitting that we honor this 
legislative giant, this man who represents everything that this 
institution is all about. I have served with Mr. Dingell for 37 years 
on the Energy and Commerce Committee. It has been an honor every day to 
serve with him.
  I want to tell you two stories about Mr. Dingell. A few years ago, 
the Energy and Commerce Committee was made a part of a conference 
committee that was going to create something called Farmer Mac, which 
was a new security that was going to be issued. Mr. Dingell and I were 
not happy that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae had been exempted from the 
Securities and Exchange Commission jurisdiction. We were not happy.
  And so I arrived a little bit late to this conference, which was an 
Agriculture Committee conference with the Senate. I arrived and I sat 
next to Mr. Dingell. At the time, I was the chairman of the Securities 
Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Mr. Dingell had been 
doing all the negotiating. He turned to me about a half hour into the 
conference and just wrote out a note and passed it over to me. I read 
the note, and Mr. Dingell got up and left the room. So I continued to 
negotiate on behalf of Mr. Dingell and the Commerce Committee.
  At the end of the day, we won everything that we were looking for. 
Farmer Mac securities were going to be regulated by the Securities and 
Exchange Commission. It wasn't going to be like Freddie Mac. It wasn't 
going to be like Fannie Mae. And so at the end of the conference, I 
just took the piece of paper and crumbled it up and threw it into the 
wastepaper basket and I walked out of the conference room.
  About an hour later, we were out on the House floor and Kika de le 
Garza, chairman of the Agriculture Committee, came over to me and he 
had the piece of paper that was crumbled. He had actually gone into the 
wastepaper basket to see what was on the note that Mr. Dingell had 
passed to me. And here is what the note says, as Kika de le Garza is 
reading it to me. It said:

       Mr. Markey, we have just won the first two out of three 
     issues with the Agriculture Committee. Do not give an inch to 
     them on the third issue.

  And we did not. Chairman de le Garza looked at me and said, You 
Commerce Committee guys, you're not like the other people here in the 
House.
  And that was John Dingell. It was an important issue. It was ensuring 
that the Securities Exchange Commission would in fact monitor these 
securities.
  By the way, would we have not been better off all along than allowing 
these agencies to escape the scrutiny which they deserved?
  And so that then brings me to the second little story. The seven most 
feared words ever uttered in Congress are words uttered by John Dingell 
as a witness is sitting at the table waiting for questioning, and those 
seven feared words are, ``I am just a poor Polish lawyer.'' Because 
that's the beginning of a very bad day for a witness as Mr. Dingell 
asks for explanations on detailed questions without any mercy shown to 
an unprepared witness.
  For me, it's an honor to be here to honor John Dingell, who is still 
at the top of his game, still able to perform those same type of cross-
examinations of witnesses as they tremble, knowing that this 
legislative giant is about to cross-examine.
  I thank him for his service. I thank the wonderful Debbie for giving 
him to us for his service here. I thank him for the honor of being able 
to serve on that committee for 37 years with a legislative legend who 
will go down in history.
  One of the first things he wants you to know when you got on that 
committee was that there was a map of the entire world--the globe--over 
his head; and he just wanted us to know, as we got on the committee, 
that that was the jurisdiction of the committee--the entire planet. And 
that is how he acted as that giant over all those years.
  It was an honor to have served with you.
  Mr. BARROW of Georgia. I want to thank the gentleman from 
Massachusetts and congratulate him on the beatification he's received 
by the voters of his State as he's about to join the other body. I wish 
him every success in the Senate, to which I can add that the next most 
feared seven words uttered to any witness is, ``Please answer the 
question 'yes' or `no.' ''
  At this time, I am pleased to yield to the gentleman from New York 
(Mr. Tonko).
  Mr. TONKO. Thank you to the gentleman from the great State of 
Georgia.
  It's an honor to lend my voice to that of several of my colleagues as 
we pay tribute to Representative John Dingell from the great State of 
Michigan. I am only in my third term in the House of Representatives so 
I can't profess to have known John Dingell as long as most of my 
colleagues who have known this great gentleman for quite some time. But 
as anyone serving in this House soon learns, it doesn't take very much 
time to know John Dingell and to assess the greatness of this 
individual, one who carries himself with great humility, which I 
believe is his hallmark of representation.
  His identity with common folks through our many conversations about 
the richness of the Polish culture and the embarking upon the American 
Dream of immigrants of that persuasion and of all persuasions who have 
tethered that dream for the betterment of individual and family 
opportunities is, I think, what drives this individual. His motivation 
to be a public servant is obvious. It's well-documented by his many 
years of service--57 years in this House and dating back to 1938 as a 
page.
  His service to this Nation through the military, all of that driven, 
I believe, by the great, deep-rooted sense of opportunity that is borne 
by this Nation to many of those immigrants who traveled here and then 
developed that dream through generations to follow.
  John Dingell is a person of greatness and a person whose 
institutional memory of so many issues in this House is called upon 
time and time again.

                              {time}  1940

  As a recently appointed member to the Energy and Commerce Committee, 
I marvel at the sense of involvement that he has had and his recall on 
the development of so many bills, bills that speak to the protection of 
our environment, making certain that the air we breathe, the water we 
drink, the soil that we cultivate is there for us for a better future. 
That resulted from John Dingell's passion.
  His involvement in making certain that the auto industry was not only 
saved, but made stronger, a great commitment by John Dingell. His 
incorporation of the many acts of concern and compassion for those who 
require access and affordability to quality health care, well 
documented again; driven by the roots established by his dad that 
enabled him to bang that gavel when we were passing the Affordable Care 
Act in 2010.
  So many, many stories in just a short time that I learned from this 
gentleman that empower me. His direction, his instruction, his concern, 
his guidance, his encouragement and his praise of any of us, routinely 
done by this very, very generous man, strengthens us and gives us that 
motivation to go forward. And what he has always taught us, what he has 
said to me repeatedly: your word is your honor in this business.
  I can't help but think what the House would be like if it were filled 
with John Dingells, where there was respect for your colleagues, where 
there was drive and passion to make a difference for America's great 
many working families, where there was a sense of honor and respect for 
this work, and where there was this attachment to the

[[Page H4138]]

American Dream that ennobles and empowers this arena. He has taught us 
the nobility--with a small ``n''--of the art and science of politics. 
He will forever be the measuring stick of quality service and 
representation, the consummate Representative, John Dingell.
  John, it's an honor to serve with you. I wish you well as you 
continue to build upon your legacy. And thank you and Debbie for being 
such a well-respected, much-loved couple in this town, our Nation's 
Capital, Washington, D.C. God bless you, my friend.
  Mr. BARROW of Georgia. I thank the gentleman for participating in 
this evening's Special Order.
  At this time, Mr. Speaker, I'm very pleased to yield to the gentleman 
from Michigan (Mr. Kildee).
  Mr. KILDEE. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Let me just say that, while we are obviously here to give honor and 
recognize the service of Mr. Dingell, the honor, at least from where I 
stand, the honor is really all mine to be able to participate in this 
moment, Mr. Speaker.
  I grew up in Michigan. I was born in 1958, 3 years after Mr. Dingell 
began his service in this body. I grew up in Michigan politics. And if 
you come from Michigan and if you're interested in politics or 
government, you know a lot about John Dingell. His name is really 
synonymous not only with politics and government, but is synonymous 
with all the good that comes with service in government.
  We hear so much these days, of course, about the public's opinion of 
the work that we do and the often cynical nature of public opinion when 
it comes to government. Well, John really represents all the best in 
public service and has been a role model for so many people like me, 
who have had a chance to observe him and watch and learn from the great 
example that he sets.
  He, after 21 years in this body, was joined by my uncle, Dale Kildee, 
my predecessor, who was elected to serve in the Congress in 1976. For 
36 years, the two served together. So while I knew of Mr. Dingell as an 
observer of politics as a young man as he and my uncle serving together 
so closely and so well, I felt like in many ways John became a part, 
and we became a part, of his extended family. I have often felt that 
John and Debbie are so close that I can always rely and count on them 
for counsel and advice and for friendship because it does feel very 
much like family.
  For the whole time during that period that I knew John, I didn't call 
him John; I always called him Mr. Chairman or Mr. Dingell. I will never 
forget the first day on January 3, just 6 months ago, when I was sworn 
in Congress. I came over to shake his hand and I called him Mr. 
Chairman, and he said, No, call me John; we are friends.
  We represent an amazing and beautiful State. I always look at John as 
a role model, as an example of somebody who, in a position of 
tremendous authority within this institution, understood how to advance 
the interests of the State of Michigan by balancing the very important 
need to be a great and protective steward of the natural beauty and 
natural assets that make Michigan such a unique place that we both love 
so much, but to also be able to keep and breathe life into the great 
capacity of the workforce, particularly of our great industry--and 
particularly the automotive industry, which was born in our State, and 
which John has been such a careful advocate for and steward on behalf 
of. He has seen some difficult times and has helped to steer that 
industry through tough times, and now seeing it obviously have new life 
and new vitality. Much of that--a great deal of that--is attributable 
directly to his perseverance and his willingness to take on a fight and 
see it through to the very end.

  There's no other issue more than health care that I think makes it 
clear the value of perseverance and the perseverance that he had 
demonstrated for so many years, term in and term out, reintroducing in 
this body something that his father first brought to the Congress, and 
that is the basic right of every American citizen to not ever have to 
go to bed at night worrying about whether their own health would stand 
between them and the long-term viability of their own family. John was 
here not only to see that battle fought, but actually see it brought to 
a successful conclusion.
  So 6 months ago, when I walked onto this floor and realized a dream 
that I had been contemplating for a very long time--to serve in what I 
think is still and always will be the greatest democratic body in the 
history of this planet--it was a great honor to become a Member of 
Congress; but perhaps an even greater honor, to be able to call John 
Dingell a colleague--not just a friend, not just a mentor, not just 
somebody that I had looked up to, but a person with whom I now serve.
  I was elected to succeed my own uncle. I would like to think that we 
have some things in common, Mr. Dingell. And one of the things is you 
were elected to represent your district to succeed your very own 
father. I think that what you've demonstrated is that you obviously 
have your first obligation to serve your Nation, to serve the interests 
of the people that you represent, but also to do great service to the 
legacy of your predecessor. I can only imagine what your father must 
think, looking here and now seeing that not only have you taken up the 
mantle from him, but have served so long, but more importantly so ably 
in advancing the goals and the values that he embodied when he came 
here, and that you were able to see them through to fruition.
  So thank you so much for allowing me just a few minutes as a 
freshman--with not a lot of old stories about the House, but with great 
admiration for the man who has been here for so long.
  Mr. BARROW of Georgia. I thank the gentleman for his participation. I 
would note that he, like our honoree, exemplifies the truth that is 
written in Proverbs: A good name is rather to be chosen than great 
riches, and loving favor rather than silver or gold.
  At this time, I am pleased to recognize the gentlelady from Maryland 
(Ms. Edwards).
  Ms. EDWARDS. I want to thank my colleague, Mr. Barrow, for leading 
this Special Order.
  I am just so honored really to be here to celebrate and honor 
somebody I call a friend, John Dingell.
  I notice, as we're talking here today and as so many have approached 
the podium, that everyone who approaches says: John Dingell, my friend, 
my colleague, my mentor, someone I look up to, someone I respect. I 
would just like to say to my good friend from Michigan that I can't 
really change those words because they echo my own sentiments.

                              {time}  1950

  I want to share with you--and so many of us have talked about the 
long legislative legacy of John Dingell. As I sat here, Mr. Dingell, I 
thought, well, I too, when you came into Congress, I had not been born 
yet. It was about 3 years before I entered the world. When you took 
that courageous vote in support of the Voting Rights Act and civil 
rights, I was 6-years-old. I recall at the time living here in the 
Washington metropolitan area that my father and mother used to bring us 
to this Capitol almost every Sunday after church. They would bring us 
and we would run up and down the east front of the Capitol. We would 
picnic on the west front of the Capitol.
  I am thinking today how wonderful it is to know that there was 
someone who was in this institution who so valued this institution and 
who, even when I was a 6-year old, John Dingell was working to protect 
my rights. When I think about that, Mr. Dingell, I think of all of the 
Members who lined up even before we began this Special Order and talked 
about the need to work in a bipartisan way to make sure that we create 
a formula for the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court would 
support, that institutes and puts into place the formula for the way 
that we protect our voting rights in section 5 of the Voting Rights 
Act, and almost to one, including John Lewis, none of us would be here 
had you not had the courage to take that vote in 1964.
  So it's such an honor to serve with you and to know that while that 
may have been the battle in 1964, that you are fully prepared to engage 
in the battle here in 2013, and what an honor that we all have the 
great privilege of being able to serve with John Dingell.
  I almost think, and Mr. Kildee mentioned this, but I almost think 
there is hardly anything that impacts our modern day laws that we can't 
attribute to

[[Page H4139]]

the great hard work and public service of John Dingell. The fact that I 
got up this morning and turned on a faucet and ran a glass of water and 
was able to drink it and know that it was clean, was about John 
Dingell. That I walked outside today, and even on a stuffy day like 
this, knew that I could breathe air that was okay--we still have work 
to do, Mr. Dingell--but to know that that clean air, and the cleaner we 
make our air, is attributed to John Dingell.
  I think back to my grandmother who came to live with us at a point as 
she was aging--and it was actually just prior to the passage of 
Medicare--and how different families' lives are now because of the 
protections that they have for health care as they age and are 
disabled. Those things are attributable to the great work, the 
legislative legacy and the service of John Dingell.
  So here we are today, and when I first came into Congress, I came in 
a different kind of way. One day John Dingell pulled me aside in the 
cloak room and he said, ``Come sit down, I want to talk to you, I want 
to get to know you.'' And I was, frankly, afraid of him. I knew his 
history, I had watched several Energy and Commerce hearings, and I knew 
that he was a great friend of my predecessor--a great friend of my 
predecessor.
  I sat down and I talked to him, and what I gained from John Dingell 
was the kind of honor and dedication that he has, and reverence that he 
has, for this institution. It is unlike any that we see, and we learn 
from that. So we talked, and we became friends.
  Then a funny thing happened. Barack Obama was elected President of 
the United States, and an inauguration was coming forward, and again 
another reminder that John Dingell's 50 years of service are about this 
amazing legislative work, but it is also about the people of his 
district--the children, women, men, families, of his district.
  There was a high school in his district--actually, I'm not quite sure 
it was still in his district, but at one time he represented that high 
school--and they had gotten the great gift of being able to play in the 
inaugural parade for President Obama. Somehow or other things got 
confused and they were staying in a hotel that was many, many miles, a 
couple of hours away, from Washington, D.C., and they would have had to 
get up at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning to get to the staging area on 
time. I represent a district just outside of Washington, D.C., in 
Maryland. John Dingell reached out to me and he told me this story, and 
I said, Well, maybe we can figure out something.
  We found a high school out in Prince George's County, Maryland, and a 
parent-teacher organization and the students. They welcomed these 
students from Michigan that they didn't know at all into their high 
school. They fed them pizzas and sodas and everything. So the students 
were able to actually get to the inaugural parade on time.
  John Dingell and I have been locked at the hand and the hip ever 
since. Those students were so grateful to him. What I saw in this great 
legislator is that the people of his district really did come first and 
he looked out for them, and they knew that he looked out for them. Like 
I said, I don't know whether he still represented them or not. I 
suppose over that 57 years, the way lines get drawn, at some point or 
other he did and he didn't, and he did and he didn't.
  But whatever, he thought of them as his constituents and they thought 
of him as their Member of Congress. I thought that that is the kind of 
Member of Congress that I want to be. I think there are so many of us 
who serve in this institution who really do value it and who listen, 
who really listen to the message that John Dingell gave us about the 
need to work together and to preserve and protect our democracy by 
working in a kind of way that gives value and service to all of our 
communities and to this great Nation. So for that, I want to thank John 
Dingell for being such an important part of this institution and 
important part of the way I have learned to become a Member of 
Congress.
  I want to say, just finally, on health care, when I came to the 
Congress, I had had an experience of not having had health care and 
getting very sick and going to an emergency room and having a lot of 
bills that I couldn't pay because I didn't have health insurance. When 
we gaveled in that health care bill, the Affordable Care Act, it was 
John Dingell sitting as speaker pro tempore who gaveled in the 
Affordable Care Act with the gavel that he used for Medicare.
  Then during the course of that debate, I helped to gavel in the 
debate on health care. There was one moment that John Dingell was 
speaking on the floor about his father's experience and about his 
experience working on health care. I was sitting in as speaker pro 
tempore. Mr. Dingell, I will never forget that picture because for me 
it was what we do as legislators, but it also felt very personal, and 
it felt so wonderful to know that in your service you never stopped not 
a single day of the 57 years to make sure that millions of Americans 
like me could have health care that was quality and that was affordable 
and that was accessible. So I thank you so much for your service, and I 
am so honored to serve with you.

                              {time}  2000

  Mr. BARROW of Georgia. I thank the gentlelady.
  At this time, I am pleased to recognize the gentlelady from New 
Hampshire (Ms. Shea-Porter).
  Ms. SHEA-PORTER. Thank you very much.
  I would like to add my voice to the others here in speaking about 
this wonderful man, John Dingell, who, I'm sure, is quite embarrassed 
as we talk about him because he has a great deal of humility, which is 
rather unusual here, so he stands out for that.
  When I first won election in 2006 and came in in early 2007, I knew 
about John Dingell. I had taught politics and history. I knew his great 
reputation as a legislator--I knew a lot about him--but what I didn't 
know about him is what I want to talk about.
  When I first arrived, you heard a lot of people call him ``friend'' 
because he has a gift for friendship. He uses the words ``my friend'' 
all the time, and you believe him. He really has a gift for friendship.
  So he said, Sit down here, my friend.
  And I sat and I talked to the great John Dingell, and he asked me 
about me instead of telling me about him. I, too, was pretty 
overwhelmed at the idea that I was going to be this wonderful man's 
colleague. He has taught me a lot through the years, but any time you 
want a little bit of wisdom, we know you can just go sit with John 
Dingell. He sits there very quietly, and people come to him. If you 
just want to have a quiet chat, John Dingell is available. If you want 
to remind yourself that civility exists here in this Chamber, sit next 
to John Dingell because he is always civil; he is polite; he is 
intelligent; he is warm; and he cares about the people.
  Now, he has done a wonderful job in representing Michigan, but he has 
always done a wonderful job in representing New Hampshire and every 
other State in the country. Through his legislation, we are so much 
better, but through his presence here, we as Members of Congress look 
better, too.
  So I want to thank you, John Dingell, for all that you've done for me 
and for all of our colleagues and for this country. I wish you the best 
of health and many more years in serving America.
  Mr. BARROW of Georgia. I thank the gentlelady.
  Mr. Speaker, I recall the words of Thomas Carlyle. He was an advocate 
of the Great Man theory of history.
  Carlyle wrote: ``History is but the biography of great men.'' If 
that's true, then the legislative history of this country for over half 
a century has been but the biography of John Dingell.
  With gratitude for the service, for the example, and for the 
friendship of our honoree and with the greatest of affection for our 
honoree, I yield to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Dingell), who 
would like an opportunity at rebuttal.
  Mr. DINGELL. I don't know whether to rebut or to agree.
  I want to begin by thanking Mr. Hoyer, our leader and our whip, and 
my dear friend Mr. Barrow, a wonderful, courageous gentleman from 
Georgia, who has to fight very hard to remain here.
  I am proud that you are my friend. Thank you.
  You, Dan Kildee, bear a great family name. Your uncle was my dear 
friend.

[[Page H4140]]

I am satisfied that he is going to be very, very proud of you, and I am 
grateful for your friendship.
  I want to thank my old friend Gene Green from Texas for his kind 
words about me. He is a wonderful man. He has a wonderful wife. He is 
concerned with and cares about people.
  And I want to say how much the remarks of my colleague from Maryland, 
Donna Edwards, meant to me.
  Donna, you are a wonderful lady.
  There is a story about her. I worked awfully hard to see to it that 
her predecessor was able to stay here, but, by golly, she was so good 
that he never stood a chance despite everything I could do to save him. 
She has made me proud that she is here. She is a great lady and full of 
goodness. The story she told about the kids was just a story about her 
goodness, because she saw to it that these wonderful young people had a 
place to stay here during the President's inauguration when they were 
going to play and march in the parade.
  I want to say to my old friend Sander Levin how grateful I am to him. 
Our families have been friends and have a history that's interwoven 
with affection and friendship going back into the 1920s when I was just 
a glint in my dad's eye.
  I want to also say to Mr. Markey, our colleague who is going to be 
leaving us, how much we have cherished his friendship and his valuable 
service on the Commerce Committee and how proud I am of his service. He 
and I have had the opportunity of engaging in some fights over the 
jurisdiction of the committee when they were trying to raid the 
Commerce Committee, and we found--guess what?--when the fight was over, 
every time that he and I were involved in it, we had more jurisdiction 
than we'd had when we went into the fight.
  To you, my wonderful friend Carol Shea-Porter, what a wonderful lady 
you are, and how proud we are that we have a friend like you here who 
cares about people and who works so hard for them, and I am proud of 
the words that you have said.
  To my Polish colleague, Paul Tonko from New York, we Polacks--and I 
am very proud to be a Pole--are very, very concerned about loyalty and 
friendship and about homes, and he certainly exemplifies that and the 
goodness.
  I am proud of the little things I've been able to do while I've been 
here. I am prouder even still more of the people I've been able to 
serve and help, and I am very grateful for the friendship of the people 
of southeast Michigan. The legislature has redistricted me so many 
times that they can't find a place now that they can put me that I 
haven't served before. So I have a great deal to be grateful for.
  My father was a wonderful public servant, and he taught me that we 
here are public servants. We are not masters of the people--we are 
their servants. This is reason for us to be particularly proud because 
that is the highest calling of all.
  So to you, my colleagues, who have so graciously and kindly made this 
rather embarrassing evening possible for me, I express to you my thanks 
and my gratitude for your friendship and for reminding me that there 
still is the wonderful warmth of friendship and goodness in this 
institution. The lovely Deborah, my wife, and I thank you for your 
friendship and kindness.
  To all of the other colleagues whom we are serving with now and those 
with whom we have served before who are no longer with us, we are 
grateful to them, and we are proud.
  This is the greatest Nation in the world. We are part of the greatest 
experience and the greatest experiment in the history of mankind--an 
experiment in government, which gives equality and opportunity to all 
of us. We are reminded that serving and saving and protecting those 
people whom we serve and the values that they hold dear is a 
tremendously important concern, one which we are going to have to go to 
bat about again to see to it that the Voting Rights Act is extended 
because the protections of the rights of our people--the greatest of 
all in the right to vote--are not yet fully assured.
  So, to all of my colleagues tonight who have been so gracious and 
kind to me, I express to you my thanks and gratitude. It's a privilege 
to serve with you. It's even a greater privilege to have you for 
friends and to have you be people up to whom I can look for your 
goodness and decency and concern and for the service which you so 
gladly and generously give to the people of the United States and to 
the people you represent in your different districts.
  Mr. Speaker, with that, I yield back with great gratitude to my dear 
friend from Georgia and with my thanks to all of my colleagues who have 
spoken excessively kindly about me tonight.
  Mr. BARROW of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my 
time.

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