United States Government, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Flint, MI—Former U.S. Representative, Flint native, and one of the longest serving members of Congress, Dale E. Kildee (D-Mich.) died on Oct. 13 at the age of 92.

“First and foremost, Dale was family,” said Congressman Dan Kildee, the former representative’s nephew and political successor, in a press release. “I have lost a wonderful member of my family, and the people of Michigan lost an incredible public servant. We mourn his loss while recognizing the great contributions that he made to Flint, the state of Michigan and our country.” 

Dale Kildee began his public service career in 1964, moving up the political ladder from state representative to state senator and eventually to the post of U.S. Representative from Michigan in 1976.

Kildee was then elected to that post 17 more times, spending 36 years in Congress before declining to run again in 2012. During that period he sponsored or co-sponsored over 7,000 bills, served on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, and was one of the founding members of the Native American Caucus.

“Dale was viewed as a champion for Native American people throughout the country,” said Dan Kildee, adding that his uncle “always helped educate others on the important obligations between the federal government and Tribal Nations.”

In a separate statement, Governor Gretchen Whitmer offered her condolences to the Kildee family while highlighting some of the former congressman’s achievements. 

“He advocated fiercely for the automotive industry and workers, led successful efforts to reform education, and expanded access to financial aid for college. … His passion for working people was clear in the work he did every day. He made our state and country a better place,” Whitmer said. “Dale, we miss you.”

Kildee is survived by his wife, Gayle—whom he met while they taught at Flint’s Central High School—their three children, Paul, Laura, and David, and his grandchildren.

Kate is Flint Beat's associate editor. She joined the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues....