‘We’ll All Owe Him Our Gratitude’: Barack Obama Remembers Former Congressman John Dingell

Barack Obama and John Dingell
REUTERS/Larry Downing/File Photo

Former Congressman John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in American history, died Thursday. Former President Barack Obama eulogized the late congressman that served alongside him during his presidency.

“John Dingell’s life reminds us that change does not always come with a flash, but instead with steady, determined effort,” Obama said in a statement he released Thursday night.

“Over the course of the longest congressional career in history, John led the change 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.”

Dingell served in Congress as a Michigan representative from 1955 to 2015. In his final years in office, he supported Obama through many of his endeavors, including the Affordable Care Act.

Barack Obama and John Dingell
WASHINGTON – MARCH 23: U.S. President Barack Obama (C) signs the Affordable Health Care for America Act during a ceremony with fellow Democrats in the East Room of the White House March 23, 2010 in Washington, DC. The historic bill was passed by the House of Representatives Sunday after a 14-month-long political battle that left the legislation without a single Republican vote. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“Ten years ago, in a moment of peril, he helped us rescue the American auto industry — saving the livelihoods of one million Americans,” Obama continued in his statement. “John sat beside me when I signed the Affordable Care Act — a law that nearly cut in half the uninsured rate in America.”

Obama stated that Dingell’s legacy will be his unending fight for universal healthcare.

“He had a long tradition of introducing legislation on the first day of each new Congress to guarantee health care for every single American. Because of him, we’ve come closer to that vision than ever before. And when we finally achieve it — and we will — we’ll all owe him our gratitude. Michelle and I send our warmest sympathies to Debbie, the entire Dingell family, and all the Michiganders and Americans whose lives are better because of his lifetime of service.”

The surprisingly Twitter-savvy 92-year-old took to the social media site himself one last time on Wednesday. “I want to thank you all for your incredibly kind words and prayer,” he wrote. “You’re not done with me yet.”

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