In Michigan’s 15th Congressional district, a district that includes all of Ann Arbor, the choice is between a seasoned statesman and an underwhelming challenger. As the second longest-serving U.S. representative in history, John Dingell has a proven track record of public service and leadership — a record that his Republican opponent Jack Lynch can hardly begin to challenge.

Realistically, state Republicans can’t expect to be able to knock Dingell out of his seat. Lynch’s political experience is largely limited to his membership on the Washtenaw County Republican Executive Committee. According to his website, most of his career has involved “making people and companies more productive through computer technology,” which is fine, but hardly an adequate qualification for a member of Congress. By squaring off against the solid, respected incumbent, he’s simply in way over his head.

It’s not that Lynch doesn’t have his own merits — his credentials just aren’t as impressive as Dingell’s. Lynch calls for “a new vision and a new voice,” but frankly, there’s nothing wrong with the old one. It’s no coincidence that Dingell has served in the House of Representatives for more than 50 years. He’s done a terrific job as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and has become a leader in the fight for environmental conservation and against climate change. And while he’s a fairly liberal Democrat, he has some conservative leanings (most notably, his opposition to gun control) that make him a more attractive option with conservative constituents.

Despite more than five decades of experience, Dingell doesn’t appear to be slowing down one bit. He has continued to work on legislation to protect our national resources, institute a universal health care program and improve federal financial aid programs like Pell Grants. And as one of the most powerful and respected representatives in the House, Dingell uses his high regard to benefit his constituents back home in Michigan.

That said, voters should still demand results from Dingell. Because of his committee companionship, he is in a prime position to prod Detroit automakers into doing what they should have done a decade ago: lead the world in fuel efficiency. But he can do it in a way that protects Michigan workers. Dingell can also take charge on higher education affordability, making sure that federal grants are emphasized over loans and that private lenders provide fair interest rates to students.

If re-elected, Dingell would become the longest-serving U.S. representative in history. Throughout the years, he has devoted himself to serving the people of his district and Michigan as a whole. With that commitment in mind, the Daily endorses JOHN DINGELL for U.S. representative from Michigan’s 15th Congressional district.

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