High-Flying Tribute to Congressman Dingell

Republican Rep. Billy Long of Missouri and Democrat Anna Eshoo of California were brought together recently by more than their somewhat unusual bipartisan support for the T-Mobile-Sprint merger.

John Dingell

John Dingell

According to Long — who took some time out of a Feb. 13 merger oversight hearing on that deal to recount the story — the pair were among those on a plane bound for Detroit and the Dearborn, Mich., funeral of Rep. John Dingell, the Michigan Democrat who was the longest-serving member of Congress (1955-2015) and former longtime chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, on which they both sit.

The plane they were in, one of two that flew from Joint Base Andrews with legislators headed to the service, had to circle Detroit for an hour after a one-hour delay back in Washington. (Could that be a metaphor for Congress these days, The Wire wonders?) Shortening a Long story, they missed the official service.

But with Reps. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.), both former chairs of the Energy & Commerce Committee (Upton was scheduled to speak at the funeral), as well as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the plane, along with Eshoo and Long, they did their best for “Big John.”

“[Rep.] John Lewis [D-Ga.] led us in a tribute [he had also been scheduled to speak] and we had our own service for John Dingell at 30,000 feet,” Long revealed. “It was quite moving.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.