What I found most interesting about collecting signatures for Congressman John Dingell’s re-election was the surprise on people’s faces when they realized he needed to re-earn his spot on the ballot. “How can an established representative not have a permanent spot on the ballot?” I was repeatedly asked. I understood their confusion; Dingell has served under 11 U.S. presidents and has proven himself as a prolific legislator. However, it’s not just Congressman Dingell’s experience that reverberates with students, but the support he has shown, both of Michigan residents and students, that makes him the ideal representative for Michigan’s 15th District.
Students’ support of Congressman Dingell is unparalleled. He’s championed various bills that make access to higher education more readily available in addition to supporting bills like the 2010 Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which increases student’s financial aid through Pell Grants. Dingell proved instrumental in writing and passing the Affordable Care Act, which protects students by placing them under their parents’ health care plans until the age of 26. Dingell stands for students, both at the University of Michigan and across our country.
He not only fights for students, but for Michigan residents as well. Dingell’s strong support of Michigan’s auto industry is evident in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which brought over 100,000 jobs to Michigan. He’s also a proven advocate of unions, in a time when unions across the country are being threatened. And, lastly, Dingell’s environmental record, which includes his authorship of the Endangered Species Act and chairmanship of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, led the Detroit Free Press to name Congressman Dingell as a 2011 “Michigan Green Leader.”
Through conversations shared with local residents, I realized just how much respect and admiration our community has for him. As a senior Representative in the House, this admiration is certainly well deserved. Ann Arbor residents recognize the importance of having an experienced representative like Congressman Dingell serving them in Washington. This Aug. 7 primary, I encourage all Michigan students to consider the commitment that Congressman John Dingell has made to our community and to re-elect him this fall.