House E&C Committee Room Named After John Dingell

The Energy & Commerce Committee hearing room will be named after Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), former chairman of the committee and, as of last week, the longest-serving member of Congress in history.

Dingell has been a long-time supporter of broadcasters.

Responding to the announcement, in association with a Hill celebration Thursday (June 14) of that milestone, current Energy & Commerce Committee chairman and fellow Michigander Fred Upton said:

"John Dingell is a congressional giant, and he wielded the gavel as Energy and Commerce chairman with a strong, determined hand, always with the interests of the nation first. John Dingell will forever be synonymous with Michigan, Congress and his beloved Energy and Commerce Committee. I can think of a no more fitting recognition than to have the name of my friend and colleague gracing our proud and storied committee room."

The House also had a copy made of Dingell's portrait, which hangs in the Rayburn building, for him to take home.

At the Hill salute to Dingell, House speaker John Boehner ticked off Dingell's records: 25,000 votes, 21,000 days, 30 elections, 11 presidents. But he said no number could be put on the admiration of his peers.

Vice president Joe Biden said he had come to the salute to thank Dingell for what he said would only be a "pause" in his career. He said he admired Dingell the most for his dignity, the way he carrried himself and the way he treated others.

"I am probably the luckiest man in shoe leather," said Dingell. "I was given the greatest of all honors. I was born a citizen of the greatest, freest and grandest nation in the history of mankind."

He made a plea for Congress to live upto the meeting of its name, which is "coming together." He said he thought his colleagues had forgotten that but would again remember that meaning and how important it was to "pull together for the common good." He also recounted the words of his father--also a member of Congress--who had said he could not look at one of his neighbors and say: "Pardon me, but your end of the boat is sinking."

Dingell said there should be limits on the fights they engage in: mutual respect, love of country, understanding of  their duties. "We're not masters of this nation, we are public servants."

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.