April 21, 2021

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Alcee Hastings: Florida Democratic congressman dies at 84

2 min read

In January 2019, he announced that he was being treated for pancreatic cancer and planned to remain in Congress during the treatment, calling it “a battle worth fighting.” His death was first reported Tuesday by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Hastings first began serving in the US House of Representatives in 1993 and has been a member of the House Rules Committee and the Congressional Black Caucus.

The caucus paid tribute to the late congressman in a statement on Twitter calling him “a fearless fighter for his District and a leading voice in the fight for civil and voting rights.”

Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, the head of the House Democratic campaign arm, recalled the congressman’s legacy in a statement saying, “Congressman Alcee Hastings was a trailblazer who selflessly dedicated his life to serving the people of South Florida. A champion in the movement for civil rights, he led the fight to desegregate schools in South Florida.”

Hastings was appointed to the Florida federal bench by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 and became the state’s first African American federal judge.

His career was also marked at times by moments of intense controversy.

Hastings was impeached by the House and removed from office as a federal judge by the Senate in 1989. The House adopted a number of articles of impeachment against Hastings that included charges of conspiracy and perjury — of which the Senate voted by the necessary two-thirds vote to convict him on eight articles.

According to the biography on his congressional website, Hastings had served as the dean and co-chairman of the Florida congressional delegation. He was born in Altamonte Springs, Florida and received a law degree from Florida A&M University in the city of Tallahassee.

Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, another member of the Florida congressional delegation, said in a statement, “Florida has lost a brilliant, fearless, giant-hearted advocate for this state that he dearly loved, and Congress has lost a wise, patient and compassionate statesman.”

This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

2021-04-06 12:12:27

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