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Still on the Hill

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Politics & Government

On the same night that voters put Jimmy Carter into the White House as the 39th president, UW Law School grad Norm Dicks won election in Washington’s 6th congressional district. Their fates divided from there. While Carter lost his one chance at re-election, fellow Democrat Dicks (pictured at left) kept winning. Eighteen times! Dicks retires today after 36 years in Congress.  He leaves as the 10th most senior member of the current House of Representatives and the longest-serving congressman from Washington ever.  Three terms ago he surpassed the longevity record of Tom Foley, the former Speaker of the House from eastern Washington and a colleague during half of Norm Dicks’ tenure.

Despite Dicks’ long career, he’s not even close to the all-time most durable member of the House. That title is held by current Representative John Dingell (D-Michigan) who took office in December, 1955.  Dingell began his 58th year in Congress last month!

But we like to focus on the Evergreen State here, so today we list the longest-serving congressmen from Washington. Norm Dicks’ retirement leaves Seattle’s Jim McDermott (pictured at right) as the senior member of Washington’s current delegation. He and several other long-serving Congressmen are still on Capitol Hill.


Rank Representative Party Term Years
1. Norm D. Dicks Democrat 1977-2013 36
2. Thomas Foley Democrat 1965-1995 30
3. Jim McDermott Democrat 1989-present 24*
4. Walter F. Horan Republican 1943-1965 22
5. Thomas M. Pelly Republican 1953-1973 20
5. Albert Johnson Republican 1913-1933 20
7. Doc Hastings Republican 1995-present 18*
7. Lindley H. Hadley Republican 1915-1933 18
7. Thor C. Tollefson Republican 1947-1965 18
10. Adam Smith Democrat 1997-present 16*
10. Jay Inslee Democrat 1993-1995,
10. Otis H. Holmes Republican 1943-1959 16
10. Al Swift Democrat 1979-1995 16
14. Don Bonker Democrat 1975-1989 14
14. Lloyd Meeds Democrat 1965-1979 14
14. Julia Butler Hansen Democrat 1960-1974 14
14. John W. Summers Republican 1919-1933 14
14. John F. Miller Republican 1917-1931 14
14. William E. Humphrey Republican 1903-1917 14
20. Russell V. Mack Republican 1947-1960 13
20. Samuel B. Hill Democrat 1923-1936 13

* Currently in office and likely to add to their tenure.

Source: Names and dates were culled from the Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress, 1774-present.

PHOTOS courtesy of the Office of Rep. Norm Dicks and the Office of Rep. Jim McDermott.


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