Today we learned of the passing of a great man with an even greater talent: Former Congressman John Dingell.The outpouring of condolences will be a tsunami; the cascade of tributes awash with references to his
unparalleled tenure. But, what cannot–and probably will not–be stressed enough is the man’s integrity. Johnnever struggled with the choice between “politics” and “policy.” His commitment to doing what was “right”
was pure instinct.
Congressman Dingell–regardless of one’s lifestyle, priorities or politics–was a man that you could counton. EVERY day, in EVERY way. If he shared your view, there simply was no better ally. If he opposed yourposition, you could not find a more respectful–or well-informed–adversary. Regardless, he’d leave you with
I did not know John well. But the times we discussed this issue or that, I will never forget. Not because
of who he was or the staggering list of accomplishments he would never trumpet, but because of his kindness, his
wisdom and his devotion to what was clearly his mission in life. His sheer commitment–both professional and
personal–no matter the issue. I didn’t just hear it, I could feel it. I’ve no doubt that was the key to his success.
I can’t imagine a more natural “fit” than John Dingell in the role he so skillfully played in Congress.
Every time we spoke, John would close with these words: “Mr. Speaker, if there’s ever anything I can do for you, please call me.” And you know what? I believed him. And that is why his loss of a Chairmanship–collateral damage attributable to nothing more than internal “politics”–upsets me to the core to this very day.John Dingell deserved better than that. John Dingell EARNED more than that. And to those that continue tofollow the path to Capitol Hill, I would say only this: “Learn all you can about Congressman Dingell. He knewhow to get things done…in a way that all could be proud of.”
John Dingell has been–and will be–missed. And, my heartfelt condolences to the love of his life, his wife and successor, Debbie. Sometimes it is appropriate to question the wisdom of a spouse succeeding a public servant. But not here. To know John was to understand that his devotion to service meant that there could not have been any other choice: He would never have stood for anything less than the person he trusted most, and believed was the best equipped to serve. Obviously, there was no one more qualified to make that call than he was.
And, to the surprise of no one, Debbie continues to be a major force in her own right. This despite all that she’shad to manage both personally and professionally since assuming the office she now holds. I wish her many
Blessings for the support and comfort she has provided John. But, most importantly–and I think John would agree with me: As amazing as his life’s journey was, it is the love story he shared with Debbie that is truly
God Bless you, John. It was my privilege to know you.
served as the first Speaker of the House under term limits. After leaving office, he launched the Perricone Group of companies, including Capitol Strategies, LLC. To better connect the public with the private sector, he then acquired DomeMagazine.com, an award-winning, virtual publication featuring Pulitzer and Emmy-winning columnists. You can reach former Speaker Perricone via e-mail: [email protected]