DEARBORN (AP) — President Barack Obama is awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to outgoing U.S. Rep. John Dingell.

The Dearborn Democrat is stepping down at year’s end after representing suburban Detroit in Congress for 59 years.

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The award was announced Monday, and Dingell describes it as “a wonderfull honor.”

The 88-year-old Dingell entered the U.S. House at age 29 when he won a special election after the death of his father, U.S. Rep. John Dingell Sr. The elder Dingell took the seat in 1933.

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The job stays in the family Jan. 1, when 60-year-old Debbie Dingell is sworn in to replace her husband.

Fellow Democratic U.S. Rep Sander Levin says in a statement that “few Americans have left a more lasting imprint” on Congress and the nation’s laws than Dingell.

 

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