John Conyers is a staple of Detroit area politics, having represented his Congressional District for over 50 years. Now, Conyers is gone, resigning from office after a sexual harassment settlement paid for by taxpayers was revealed last month.
Conyers was the longest serving member of the House from either party, having been in Congress since the mid 60’s.
According to The New York Times:
“Mr. Conyers, the longest-serving current member of the House and the longest-serving African-American in history, called into a local radio show on Tuesday to break the news.
“I am retiring today,” Mr. Conyers said from a hospital in Michigan. “I am in the process of putting together my retirement plans. I will have more about that very soon.”
He continued to deny that he had harassed any of his former employees and said he did not know where the allegations came from.
“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we are going through now,” Mr. Conyers said. “This too shall pass. My legacy will continue through my children.”
Conyers, a Veteran of the Korean War, has been referred to as a “civil rights icon” for his work in Congress, as well as his activism before coming to DC.
According to his Congressional bio:
“In Congressman Conyers’ 50 years of public service, he has been a major proponent of more than 100 pieces of critical legislation including the original Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Violence Against Women Act of 1994, the Motor Voter Bill of 1993, the Alcohol Warning Label Act of 1988, and the Jazz Preservation Act of 1987. Congressman Conyers was also the driving force behind the Help America Vote Act of 2002.
On April 8, 1968, four days after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. passed away, Congressman Conyers introduced the original Martin Luther King Holiday Act of 1983. After 15 years, the bill would eventually pass into law, making the third Monday of January as an official Federal holiday. ”
The race to replace Conyers is already full of family members. His son John Conyers III, who is new to politics, is the Congressman’s choice to take his seat. Conyers nephew Ian, a State Senator, is also joining the race.