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Dingell claims victory for 30th term in U.S. House

Paul Sherman/Daily
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By Steve Zoski, Daily Staff Reporter
Published November 7, 2012

TAYLOR, Mich. — Members of the United Auto Workers cheered out in jubilation as results of the national election flashed across a screen, indicating a historic win for U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D–Mich.), the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

At the event, 86-year-old Dingell claimed a victory over Republican candidate Cynthia Kallgren in the state’s newly drawn 12th district — which includes parts of Ann Arbor, Taylor and Dearborn — with a 75 percent lead with 79 percent of precincts reported as of 2:35 a.m. Wednesday.

In an address to the UAW workers, Dingell said the crowd reflected a diverse group of people that he hoped the election would allow himself and fellow Democrats to continue to fight for.

"(We're here) because we believe in something that's important," Dingell said at the event. "We care about the future, and that's what this election is about, about seeing through it that our kids get a decent education, that they get health care. About seeing through it that they can expect to live just a little better than their parents did."

In an interview with The Michigan Daily, Dingell said the Democrats ran a stronger campaign this year than during the midterm election in 2010, and their efforts show in the election results.

“Frankly, the Republicans outspent us (in 2010), quite frankly they out-lied us, and quite frankly they won at a time when things were bad.” Dingell said. “Folks didn't realize that it was their handling of the economy and their governing of the country that made things such a mess, and we didn't get out and reflect that thought to people. This time we did a better job of getting our story out and the people responded.”

Dingell said he will continue to pursue bipartisan policies in Congress, noting his former success among both parties on legislation regarding food safety, pharmaceutical protection, and oil and gas drilling regulation.

“If I can get the ideologues on that side to retreat just a little, we're going to try to see to it that we do things that are necessary to implement the health care bill, to implement a lot of other legislation that is necessary,” Dingell said.

He said that while Obama’s groundbreaking status as the first African-American president is indicative of the vast advancements toward racial tolerance in the nation since he first took office in 1955, more must be done.

“The country has matured, we're much wiser,” Dingell said. “That doesn't tell me though, from some of the things that I've heard, that we have yet ridden all of the racial evils from this nation, but I do see that first of all the country is prepared to accept a minority president, and that's good.”

He added that Obama is worthy of his re-election because of his achievements in helping save the auto industry, working to end the War in Iraq, killing Osama bin Laden and passing health care reform.

“The harsh fact of the matter is that we've made huge progress. It is also a fact that the president has had a good program, a fine record of accomplishments,” Dingell said.

While Dingell visited Taylor, Kallgren met with supporters and awaited results at an Old Fire House owned by the Downriver and Detroit Business Association in Wyandotte, Mich.

Laughter filled the room as volunteers and campaign enthusiasts noshed on a dinner of pizza and lasagna while waiting to see if their efforts paid off.

Kallgren said that despite the outcome, she was proud of her campaign's efforts.

"I think this is the calm after the storm," Kallgren said.