By: Sharon Aron Baron
Congressman Alcee Hastings D-FL has died at the age of 84, two years after announcing he had pancreatic cancer.
Hastings has represented Florida’s 20th Congressional District since 2013, covering Tamarac, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1992, first representing Florida’s 23rd district, and had not faced a serious challenger for reelection since.
“I was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and 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,” said Hastings. “Now that I have begun treatment, I feel hopeful about survival and about my ability to continue serving my constituents of Florida’s 20th Congressional district and the nation.”
Born in Altamonte Springs, Florida, Hastings was educated at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.
He earned his bachelor of arts degree in zoology and botany from Fisk in 1958, attended Howard University School of Law from 1958 to 1960, and received his Juris Doctor from Florida A&M University College of Law in 1963.
While in school, he became a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. He was admitted to the bar in 1963 and began to practice law.
His voting record supported women’s rights, animal rights, expanding Americans’ access to the ballot box, protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act, the Equality Act, impeaching Donald Trump, and decriminalizing cannabis, to name a few.
Speaking out regarding the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando during a meeting of the House Rules Committee on June 13, 2016, Congressman Hastings said he would no longer stand for moments of silence when gun violence is involved. Not out of disrespect for victims, but because there is absolutely too much silence.
But his career hasn’t been without some legal issues.
In 1981, while serving as a judge, he was acquitted after bribery charges. However, In 1988 Hastings was impeached for bribery and perjury by the House. He was then convicted on October 20, 1989, by the Senate, which, at the time, was also controlled by Democrats. Hastings became the sixth federal judge in the United States’ history to be removed from the Senate’s office.
On his diagnosis with cancer, he said, “I have been convinced that this is a battle worth fighting, and my life is defined by fighting battles worth fighting. Should it become clear that this cancer that has invaded my body cannot be defeated, I will tell you so.”
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- Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and Tamarac Talk, Coral Springs Talk, and Parkland Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2011 to provide News for the residents of Tamarac and is the #1 News Source for Residents.