US: auto industry supporter to exit Congress image

John Dingell, a US representative considered one of the auto industry’s biggest defenders, but also the longest running member of Congress, has decided not to seek re-election in 2014.

Dingell, who represents the district in which the big three – Ford, GM and Chrysler – reside, was one of the advocates of the federal assistance that helped General Motors and Chrysler survive the 2009 bankruptcy.

“As a champion of the auto industry, John Dingell had no peer,” said GM spokesman Greg Martin. “He knew how much we meant to the country’s well-being. But he also prodded us when we needed it. It was just the right mix.”

“He will leave a huge hole,” said Ziad Ojakli, Ford group vice president of government relations. “He has lived through every crisis, every downturn, every upturn, every introduction of vehicle lines.”

Dingell, now 87, also made contributions in other areas, like playing an active role in passing the 1964 Voting Rights Act, the 1990 Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act and, more recently, the Affordable Care Act.