The Dingell dynasty will continue. In the 12th U.S. House District, the Detroit Free Press has called the race for Debbie Dingell, wife of current U.S. House Rep. John Dingell (D).
She is the third Dingell to hold a Michigan Congressional seat, following current Rep. John Dingell and his father, John Dingell, Sr.
In a victory speech at the state Democrat watch party Tuesday night in Detroit, Dingell thanked her staff, family and campaign, and said there were two people she wanted to thank specifically by name: her husband, outgoing Rep. Dingell, and outgoing U.S Senator Carl Levin.
“These Democrats, two giants of men…have served this state a very very long time,” she said. “And what we have to remember is that they’ve been the voice of Michigan’s values, of respecting working men and women and standing firm for what’s right.”
Dingell faced off against Republican candidate Terry Bowman, a Ford employee and key player in the 2012 right-to-work battle in the state. She made higher education, namely reducing student debt, a key focus, hosting higher education roundtables at universities across the state to discuss issues facing students and universities.
Dingell, who serves as a trustee at Wayne State University recently voted against a tuition increase at that institution.
“I’ve been on the Wayne State board for eight years,” Dingell said in a June interview with The Michigan Daily. “Every single year, it seems like it’s becoming more challenging and more difficult and harder to afford a higher education. And every single day, I am meeting young people who are graduating with staggering debt.”
A founder of the National Women’s Health Resource Center, Dingell also championed affordable health care and investing in health research that includes women, and advocated for policies that extend rights to same-sex couples.
“If two people love each other, why should we keep them from being with each other?” Dingell said in an October interview with The Michigan Daily.
In her victory speech Tuesday night, Dingell touched on all those areas, also emphasizing job creation in the state.
“We’re going to keep fighting ahead for the values we all care about- to protect manufacturing, that if you are sick you don’t worry about whether you need to go to a doctor, “ she said. “And that our children, 25 percent of our population and 100 percent of our future, they deserve quality, affordable education. That’s what I’m fighting for. That’s what I stand here for tonight.”
In a October interview with the Daily, she said the 2008 financial crash heavily impacted the job market, which, unlike the auto industry, has not recovered. Dingell has highlighted the importance of job creation especially for young college graduates and those forced into early retirement.
In an October interview with The Michigan Daily, Bowman emphasized his distance from Washington as one benefit of him taking the congressional seat.
“It’s no fault of the individual, but I think that if you’re in Congress for a long time you completely lose the ability to connect with what goes on each and every day,” he said.
Bowman’s other policy interests include right-to-work and healthcare. He opposes the Affordable Care Act.
In her victory speech, Dingell indirectly addressed those concerns, stressing the representative power of the 12th district.
“The solutions aren’t going to come from Washington,” she said. “They’re going to come from us.”
This story has been updated to included details from the Statewide Democrats’ watch party.