Former U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee dies at age 92

(WWJ) Former U.S. Representative Dale Kildee, who served as the Flint area’s congressman for more than three decades, has died at the age of 92.

The Democrat was first elected to Congress in 1976 and went on to be re-elected 17 straight times. He had the sixth-highest seniority in the U.S. House of Representatives when he announced he would not be running for re-election in 2013.

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His nephew, current Chief Deputy of the Democratic Caucus Dan Kildee, said in a statement Wednesday his uncle :will be remembered for his many  accomplishments in Congress, but especially his work to support early childhood education through Head Start and reform the No Child Left Behind initiative.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, calling Kildee a “tireless public servant and proud Michigander,” said the longtime Congressman will be remembered for his community service.

“He advocated fiercely for the automotive industry and workers, led successful efforts to reform education, and expanded access to financial aid for college,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Dale started the Native American Caucus in Congress and admirably represented Mid-Michigan during his time in office, uplifting local families, communities, and small businesses. He served students in the classroom, his community in the state capitol, and constituents in DC—where he rarely missed a vote in 35 years.”

Kildee was well-known amongst members of Congress for carrying a worn copy of the U.S. Constitution in his suit pocket, according to a story by the Detroit News.

Kildee is survived by his wife, Gayle, and three children.