WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Longtime Congressman Alcee Hastings has died. He was 84.
Hastings, a Florida Democrat, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2019. He served in the U.S. House since 1995.
Before serving in Congress, Hastings served as a federal judge. But in 1981, two years after he was appointed to the bench by President Jimmy Carter, Hastings was charged with bribery in a federal sting operation.
Hastings was acquitted, but in 1988 was impeached by the U.S. House and removed from the bench a year later by the U.S. Senate.
Hastings, a Democrat, then ran for Congress and consistently won re-election by wide margins, most recently last November.
Previously:Incumbent Democrat Alcee Hastings sails to easy win over Republican challenger Greg Musselwhite
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, called Hastings “a fierce fighter” and “great partner” in Congress.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I have learned about the passing of my colleague and friend, Alcee Hastings,” said Frankel in a statement. “I’ve known Alcee for many years. He was a fierce fighter for civil rights and racial justice, and a great partner in Congress when it came to serving south Florida. He will be deeply missed. My heart goes out to his family, friends, and staff as we mourn his loss.”
State Senator and Minority-Leader Designate Perry Thurston, D-Ft. Lauderdale, said in a statement: “He was a mentor, a friend, and a fraternity brother, and I extend my deepest condolences to his family.
“Our political dean for South Florida for the past three decades, Congressman Hastings served our community, our state and our nation, and we are all the better for his dedicated commitment to public service, and his impact on countless lives.
“His legacy will forever live on and live with us. Rest in peace, my brother.”
Others lauded his work on broadening rights and protections for all of Americans.
“Alcee Hastings was a champion for civil rights, and one of the most vocal leaders calling for equality for the LGBTQ+ community,” said a statement from the Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus. “We have lost a fighter for justice, and his voice will be missed.”
The U.S. Constitution requires the seats of House members who die, resign or leave office for other reasons be filled by a special election. No date has been set yet for the special election to fill Hastings’ seat.
Previously from the Palm Beach Post:Impeached judge makes political comeback