Dem Congressman John Dingell To Retire

Dingell, 87, has served in the House for more than 58 years, under 11 presidents and is the Longest-Serving Member in Congressional History

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the longest-serving House member in history, will retire at the end of his term, he told the Detriot News in an interview.

"I'm not going to be carried out feet first," Dingell told the paper. "I don't want people to say I stayed too long." Dingell, 88, has been in Congress since 1955 and is the longest-serving member in congressional history.

The former chairman of the powerful House Energy & Commerce committee cited both health concerns and a frustration with Congress in his decision to retire. "My doctor says I'm OK. And I'm still as smart and capable as anyone on the Hill. … But I'm not certain I would have been able to serve out the two-year term," he said.

"I find serving in the House to be obnoxious," he continued. "It's become very hard because of the acrimony and bitterness, both in Congress and in the streets." The longtime congressman, known for his forceful personality, has for decades been a fierce ally of Michigan's auto industry. He has often worked across the aisle with Republicans on legislation, creating friction with liberal House Democrats on environmental issues.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) supported another House member, the more liberal Rep. Lynn Rivers (D), when Rivers and Dingell were forced into a primary against one another more than a decade ago.

Although Dingell won that race, he was forced out of the top position on the House Energy & Commerce Committee by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) a few years later. He served as chairman of the committee from 1981-1995 and again from 2007-2009.