Democratic U.S. congressman Hastings of Florida dies

Rodiano Bonacci
Апреля 6, 2021

Hastings, a civil rights activist, was known for breaking down barriers.

Hastings announced he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2019, but continued to work until his death.

"In the midst of this traumatizing news, I found myself wondering not only if I would survive this disease, but also if it would impact my ability to perform my duties", Hastings said.

He was elected to the House in 1992, winning a total of 15 races. U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch also said Hastings "knew the importance of bringing together the Black and Jewish communities to achieve shared goals. He was a staunch supporter of the US-Israel relationship and valued the important bilateral partnership".

Tributes quickly came in Tuesday morning for Hastings. "It is with a heavy heart that I express my deepest condolences to the Hastings family for the passing of my friend, mentor, fraternity brother and our leader, Congressman Alcee Hastings", Thurston said.

He spoke about how his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were not allowed to vote, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

President Bill Clinton (2nd R) meets with members of the Congressional Black Caucus 26 May 1993 at the White House in Washington, DC.

"Today, our Congressional community has been devastated by the passing of a cherished colleague, the Dean of the Florida Delegation: Congressman Alcee Hastings", said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a statement. It spans several majority-Black areas near major cities such as Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.

There will be five vacancies - four of which were Democrat-held seats. In 1988, the U.S. House impeached Hastings following bribery and perjury allegations. He was the dean of the Florida congressional delegation as the longest-serving member from the Sunshine State.

Hastings served on the powerful Rules Committee, which determines the conditions under which legislation in the House is considered, and was a commissioner on the Commission of Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitors and encourages compliance of human rights. The U.S. Senate voted to convict and remove him from the position after just under 10 years on the District Court. Once Rep. -elect Julia Letlow, R-La., is sworn into office to serve out the remainder of her late husband's seat, Republicans will hold 212 seats compared to Democrats' 218 seats.

Hastings made a political comeback in 1992, when he defeated current U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., in a runoff and went on to easily win the general election in the heavily Democratic district.

Born in Altamonte Springs on September 5, 1936, Hastings attended Fisk University and Howard University before graduating from Florida A&M University's law school in 1963. Democratic candidates Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick and Barbara Sharief have both filed paperwork. Cherfilus-McCormick unsuccessfully challenged Hastings last cycle, while Sharief is seeking a transition from the Broward County Commission, as she faces term limits on that body.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this post.

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