By Sharon Aron Baron
Congressman Alcee Hastings D-FL died at the age of 84 on Tuesday — 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 challenge for reelection since.
“I’m heartbroken at the passing of my dear friend, Alcee Hastings,” said U.S. Representative Ted Deutch FL-22 in a statement on Tuesday morning.
Rep. Deutch added that Alcee devoted his career to advancing civil rights for all Americans and human rights worldwide. His leadership on racial justice issues brought together everyone committed to a more just and equitable society.
“I had the honor of working side by side with Alcee for more than a decade, seeing first-hand his passion and drive for standing up to injustice and fighting for our community.”
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.
“Alcee was a leader in the South Florida community and did all he could to protect the vulnerable and those who knew he would champion their cause when others looked away,” said Rep Deutch, who added that he understood the obstacles faced by immigrant communities and worked hard to support them.
He 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. He was a voice for animals. And he stood with the Parkland community following the 2018 tragedy and tirelessly fought for tougher gun laws to protect our communities.
Alcee was fierce and tough, but he was also so compassionate. You could find no better friend, no one more caring. Alcee Hastings was my dear friend, my political ally, and a mentor whose experience proved invaluable to many of us in public service.
May his memory be a blessing to his family, his friends, his community, and every American who has benefited from the work of this public servant.”
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- Sharon Aron Baron is a Parkland resident and editor of Talk Media. She has been covering Parkland news since 2012. Parkland Talk was created to provide News, Views, and Entertainment for the residents of Parkland.
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