[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/12/12/art.dingell.gi.jpg caption="Dingell has served in Congress for more than five decades."]
(CNN)–Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich) has made history by becoming the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, surpassing former Congressman Jamie Whitten (D-Miss). Rep. Dingell begins his 19,420th day in office on Wednesday.
At a reception in Rep. Dingell’s honor on Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton remarked, “we are not here for the length of his service, we are here for the quality of his service.” The 82-year-old Congressman has been representing Michigan’s 15th Congressional District since 1955 when he succeeded his late father. Some of his most notable moments in Congress include helping the House pass the legislation that created Medicare in 1965 and helping to write the 1973 Endangered Species Act. Rep. Dingell is known as a tireless backer of the auto industry.
But things have changed for the Michigan Congressman. After the election last fall, he lost his chairmanship of the influential House Committee on Energy and Commerce to California Rep. Henry Waxman.
Still, Rep. Dingell is receiving praise for his service. Today a flag will fly over the capitol in Dingell’s honor.