Dean vs. dean, or Dingell vs. Mushinsky

If you read political sites like this one, then you’ve probably heard or read stories this week about U.S. Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Michigan, the dean of Congress.

On June 8, he will pass the late Sen. Robert Byrd as the longest-serving member in the history of Congress. He took office in 1955, the same year that Connecticut’s soon-to-be 58-year-old governor, Dannel P. Malloy, was born.

In the case you’re wondering, the current dean of the Connecticut House is Rep. Mary M. Mushinsky, D-Wallingford. Elected in 1980, she recently completed her 33rd annual session at midnight Wednesday. (State Sen. Martin Looney, D-New Haven, also was elected to the House in 1980.)

If Dingell quit tomorrow, Mushsinsky would have to stick around Hartford until 2038 to match his longevity.

How do they match up?

Dingell has served under 11 presidents. Mushinsky has served under five governors.

Dingell’s biggest campaign contributors come from the auto industry. Mushinsky’s last campaign was publicly financed, and she is a former organizer and lobbyist for Connecticut CItizen Action Group, whose creation was inspired by auto-industry critic Ralph Nader.

Both are endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters.

Dingell succeeded his father in a special election. Mushinsky won an open seat, prevailing against a Republican tide led by Ronald Reagan.

Both met their spouses through work. Dingell married a GM lobbyist. Mushinsky married a wire-service reporter.