February 08, 2019

Statement of Richard Fiesta, Alliance for Retired Americans Executive Director on the Death of Congressman John Dingell

“Retirees today lost one of their most loyal friends and steadfast allies.

“John Dingell was not only the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history but also a uniquely effective legislator. Retirees are especially grateful for his work advancing the goal of high quality, affordable health care for all Americans, particularly seniors and people with disabilities.

“At the beginning of every Congress, Representative Dingell introduced a bill providing for a national health insurance system, the same bill that his father proposed while he was in Congress. He was instrumental in the creation of Medicare in 1965 and remained one of its biggest champions for his entire career. In recognition of his work to establish the Medicare program, Congressman Dingell was given the honor of presiding over the House of Representatives when the Medicare bill was passed. Later that year, he accompanied President Lyndon Johnson to the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library to witness the bill being signed into law. Fifty years later, Alliance members celebrated that transformational event with John Dingell.  He brought the gavel he used in 1965 to the event.

“Congressman Dingell also successfully fought multiple efforts to privatize both Social Security and Medicare over the years, ensuring older Americans’ earned retirement benefits were protected.

“The Alliance for Retired Americans was honored to have Representative Dingell address our members in 2006 and we presented him with our Leadership Award for his work on behalf of retirees. Whether in his home district in Michigan or in Washington, D.C., he was always gracious and welcoming to our members when they discussed retiree issues with him.

“On behalf of our 4.4 million members, the Alliance extends our deepest condolences to Representative Debbie Dingell and the entire Dingell family.”

Contact: Lisa Cutler, lcutler@retiredamericans.org

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