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Third Way Co-Chair

John Dingell

Member of Congress

Congressman John D. Dingell represents Michigan’s 15th Congressional District and is the Chairman Emeritus of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, one of five ‘exclusive’ committees in the U.S. House. During the 111th Congress, he has the lead role in crafting national health insurance legislation that goes before this Committee and the House. On the Committee, he also works on energy and climate change issues, telecommunications and consumer protection policy, and conducts oversight and investigations. Dingell serves the people of Monroe County and parts of Wayne and Washtenaw Counties. His work includes fighting for the working families that keep America’s economy going, including making health care more affordable and accessible to all families and protecting our nation’s natural heritage. On February 11, 2009, Congressman Dingell became the longest serving Member in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Over the last five decades, Congressman Dingell has written some of the best known laws protecting our health and our environment, as well as the rights of workers and consumers. One notable example is the 1990 Clean Air Act which is credited with cleaning up the air we breathe, while preserving American competitiveness. He fought for the passage of revolutionary legislation such as the Endangered Species Act; as well as laws that address America’s most pressing needs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Mammography Quality Standards Act.

Congressman Dingell also took a leading role in creating the “Do Not Call” list in 2003 to help families stop unwanted telemarketing and remains vigilant in his pursuit of a “Patients Bill of Rights” which will ensure patients’ care is in the hands of doctors, not HMO’s and insurance companies.

An avid conservationist and outdoorsman, and senior member on the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, Congressman Dingell successfully passed legislation to create North America’s first international wildlife refuge, protecting thousands of acres of natural habitat in Southeast Michigan and Canada. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Nature Conservancy of Michigan.

Congressman Dingell worked to protect federal road funds for our communities and he led efforts in Congress to get hundreds of millions more in vital road dollars for Michigan. He worked with officials in Wayne County to save local taxpayers more than $350 million of the cost to stop pollution of the Rouge River and has been relentless in his efforts to limit the importation of Canadian waste into Michigan. Dingell also wrote the bill that created Michigan’s Automobile National Heritage Area to conserve the story of America’s auto industry.

In addition, few legislators can demonstrate a record of fighting government waste and corporate corruption like Congressman Dingell. A leader in the effort to toughen corporate accountability both before and after the Enron and WorldCom accounting scandals, Dingell has also taken the lead in exposing government waste and abuses of tax dollars, including the investigation of no-bid defense contracts in Iraq.

In the past, Dingell led successful efforts to stop the Bush Administration from allowing higher arsenic levels in drinking water and from cutting funds to investigate and prosecute environmental crimes.

John D. Dingell was born July 8, 1926 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He split much of his childhood between Detroit and Washington, DC, while his father, also named John, served as Congressman from Michigan’s 15th district.

In 1944, at the age of 18, the younger Dingell joined the US Army and prepared to fight the Axis powers in World War II. He rose to the rank of Second Lieutenant and received orders to take part in the first wave of a planned invasion of Japan in November of 1945. The Congressman has said President Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb to end the war ‘saved’ his life.

Dingell finished his military service in the fall of 1946, and then attended Georgetown University in Washington, DC where he studied chemistry. He continued his studies at Georgetown Law School, graduating in 1952. He then worked as a forest ranger, a prosecuting attorney for Wayne County and ran his own private law office. When his father passed away while still a Member of the US House of Representatives in 1955, the younger Dingell stepped up to fill the void, beginning his career on Capitol Hill at the age of 29.

At the beginning of every session of Congress, Congressman Dingell introduces the national health insurance bill his father sponsored when he was a Member.

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