Michigan’s John Dingell has spent more time in the U.S. House of Representatives than anyone in history and, if he remains in office until next June, will break the record for longest-serving member of Congress ever (he’s currently in third place behind Robert Byrd and Carl Hayden).
The Democratic Congressman, who will celebrate his 86th birthday in July, is the current Dean of the House. Dingell’s father, John Dingell, Sr., served in the House from 1933 until his death in September 1955. The 29-year-old John Jr. succeeded his father in December 1955 and is currently seeking his 30th term in the House. Let me repeat that: if (or, most likely, when) Dingell is re-elected in November, it will be his THIRTIETH term in Congress! Between John Dingell, Jr., and his father, the Dingell family has represented Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives for almost 80 years.
Due to Dingell’s longevity in Washington, it is likely that no living American has met as many Presidents as the Michigan Congressman. During his nearly 57 years in the House of Representatives, Dingell has met and worked with 11 Presidents in an official capacity: Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. In addition to the Presidents that he has worked, Dingell also had the opportunity to meet several Presidents during his father’s two decades in the House: Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry Truman.
While there are probably a handful of people in history who met more Presidents than Dingell — John Quincy Adams, for example, is believed to have met every President from George Washington to Andrew Johnson (17 in all) — I would venture to bet that no American alive in 2012 has met 14 Presidents like the Dean of the House of Representatives, John Dingell of Michigan.