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Dingell, longest-serving US congressman, to retire

February 24, 2014 GMT
FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2013 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. According to AP source: Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress, to retire. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2013 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. According to AP source: Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress, to retire. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
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FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2013 file photo, Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. According to AP source: Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress, to retire. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

SOUTHGATE, Michigan (AP) — Rep. John Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress in U.S. history and a champion of Detroit’s auto industry, has announced his retirement.

The 87-year-old Michigan Democrat made the announcement Monday before a speech to a Detroit-area Chamber of Commerce.

Dingell has served in the U.S. House since winning his late father’s seat in 1955. He became the longest-serving member of Congress ever in June when he broke the record held by the late Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

Dingell has played a role in many major pieces of legislation, including President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. As a congressional page, he watched President Franklin Roosevelt ask Congress to declare war on Japan.

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There is speculation that Dingell’s wife, Debbie Dingell, may run to replace him.