Deb­bie Din­gell


The Detroit News - - Front Page -

Since her elec­tion to Congress in 2014, U.S. Rep. Deb­bie Din­gell has beat the drum of bi­par­ti­san­ship, call­ing for more fre­quent meet­ings of the Michi­gan del­e­ga­tion’s Repub­li­cans and Democrats, and urg­ing mem­bers of both par­ties to talk and lis­ten to one an­other.

She of­ten says there is more that unites Repub­li­cans and Democrats than di­vides them.

But not ev­ery­one in Wash­ing­ton — or Michi­gan — wants to heed that ad­vice.

“Not ev­ery­body thinks bi­par­ti­san­ship is a good thing. I think it’s very im­por­tant that we find out where the com­mon ground is,” said Din­gell, a Dear­born Demo­crat.

“The Amer­i­can peo­ple are tired of the par­ti­san bick­er­ing, and they want to see us get things done. Our re­spon­si­bil­ity is to fig­ure out how to work to­gether.”

Af­ter the re­cent shoot­ing at a GOP prac­tice for the an­nual con­gres­sional base­ball game, Din­gell penned a com­men­tary with Repub­li­can Rep. Dave Trott of Birm­ing­ham. They said it should be a “wake-up call for all of us.”

“To­day our po­lit­i­cal rhetoric has be­come in­creas­ingly vit­ri­olic and di­vi­sive,” they wrote. “Too of­ten we re­treat to our fa­mil­iar cor­ners to talk to peo­ple who think like us, look like us, and con­sume only the news that fits our view.”

Din­gell said mem­bers shouldn’t “de­mo­nize” one an­other and need to pay more at­ten­tion to their tone when ad­dress­ing the other side of the aisle.

“I won’t de­mo­nize my col­leagues. They are my friends. I may not agree with them, and don’t on a num­ber of is­sues, but de­mo­niz­ing peo­ple doesn’t help any­body get any­thing ac­com­plished.”



Din­gell, 63, suc­ceeded her hus­band, John D. Din­gell, in the U.S. House in 2015 af­ter he re­tired.

She pre­vi­ously was a mem­ber of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee and chaired the Wayne State Univer­sity Board of Gov­er­nors. She worked for more than 30 years at Gen­eral Mo­tors, where she was pres­i­dent of the GM Foun­da­tion and a se­nior ex­ec­u­tive for pub­lic af­fairs. Din­gell, now a sopho­more in the House, is proud that when her class of fresh­men joined the Michi­gan del­e­ga­tion in 2015, the five of them pledged to work to­gether.

“We stayed close. We learn about is­sues to­gether. We en­cour­age the del­e­ga­tion to have reg­u­lar meet­ings. Hope­fully, that’s go­ing to con­tinue,” Din­gell said. “We’re a Michi­gan com­mu­nity, and we work to­gether to fight for Michi­gan is­sues.”

When she in­tro­duces leg­is­la­tion, Din­gell al­ways tries to find a Repub­li­can co-spon­sor, in part be­cause the GOP con­trols the cham­ber, but also be­cause, she said, “to win, you have to find enough peo­ple to build a coali­tion.”

She said Sen. John McCain, RAriz., was “dead on” in a re­cent speech when he de­nounced Wash­ing­ton’s par­ti­san games­man­ship and win-at-all-costs bills like the Se­nate’s health care over­haul leg­is­la­tion. McCain wants to see more com­pro­mise among his col­leagues.

“We need to have real and hon­est con­ver­sa­tions with each other — an ex­change of ideas,” Din­gell said.

“Be open to what one an­other is think­ing and find that com­mon ground.” Why hon­ored: For her com­mit­ment to bi­par­ti­san­ship

Melissa Nann Burke

Dale G. Young / The Detroit News

U.S. Rep. Deb­bie Din­gell, now a sopho­more in the House, says she al­ways tries to find a Repub­li­can co-spon­sor for her bills, in part be­cause the GOP con­trols the cham­ber but also “to build a coali­tion.”

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