Dingell, left, will be honored along with longtime colleague Levin. (Bill Clark/ CQ Roll Call)
Fifty years ago, Rep. John D. Dingell stood next to President Lyndon B. Johnson as he signed the Civil Rights Act. He had already clocked in nearly a decade in the House at that point.
On Tuesday, Dingell and his longtime Michigan colleague, Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, will be honored with the LBJ Liberty & Justice for All Award from the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation for years of public service in the name of the Texas POTUS’ legacy of civil rights.
Put together, the two Democratic lawmakers have more than nine decades of experience representing the Wolverine State in Washington.
Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in history, was elected in 1955 and is retiring at the end of this year. His wife, Rep.-elect Debbie Dingell, will take his seat in the new Congress.
Levin was elected in 1978 and will retire at the end of the 113th Congress as well.
“I consider my votes to advance the Civil Rights movement throughout the ’50s and ’60s among the most important votes I’ve cast in my 58 years in the House of Representatives,” Dingell said in a statement.
Levin, who said driving a taxi during law school helped introduce him to people from diverse backgrounds, served as general counsel for the Michigan Civil Rights Commission in the ’60s. The foundation cited his support of reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act and his stance on “don’t ask, don’t tell” military policies as modern-day civil rights achievements.
The award ceremony will be held Tuesday at the Newseum. Bob Schieffer of CBS will be the master of ceremonies. Proceeds will go toward the LBJ School of Public Affairs Washington Center.
Nineteen members of Congress and one representative-elect are expected to attend, including the two honorees. The list includes Debbie Dingell; Levin’s brother, Rep. Sander M. Levin, D-Mich.; Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; and Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Reps. John Lewis, D-Ga.; Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas; Joaquin Castro, D-Texas; Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y.; Corrine Brown, D-Fla.; Paul Tonko, D-N.Y.; Barbara Lee, D-Calif.; Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas; Steven Horsford, D-Nev.; Gene Green, D-Texas; Dan Kildee, D-Mich.; and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.
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