Mar 13, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Who’s been in Congress the longest

Longest-serving members of Congress
Data: Quorum; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) has spent more time in Congress than anyone else currently in office, with 48 years in the House of Representatives, according to Quorum data.

By the numbers: The average American is 20 years younger than the average representative in the House and Senate. Forty percent of current senators and 26% of representatives are 65 years or older — and many have strolled the Capitol's marble halls for decades.

  • Less than 5% of members are from the ages of 25 to 40, compared to 33% of the U.S. population, Quorum notes.
  • Four of the top 10 longest-serving members of Congress — Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Ron Wyden (R-Ore.), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — have served in both chambers.

The big picture: The longest-serving member of Congress ever was the late Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich).

  • He spent 59 years not just in office but in the House alone — winning re-election 29 times.
  • Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) spent the most years in the Senate, at 51 years, 5 months and 26 days.
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