The House Democratic caucus received upsetting news this week when U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) died at the age of 84.
According to reports, Hastings had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2019 and died as a result of the disease on Tuesday. Colleagues on both sides of the aisle remembered him fondly in statements following the announcement.
“Feared no man”
“It shows with perseverance and high self-esteem you can do anything,” said Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL).
She remembered her fellow Florida Democrat as “a role model and a trailblazer for other people who have gone through adversity in their lives because he proved you can really pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”
As Wilson continued in her depiction of the late congressman, she asserted that Hastings “feared no man” and “feared no institution,” adding that he “was not shy about voice his dissent about any issue.”
Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a Republican, offered kind words of remembrance for his “incredible dedication to his duties” and demeanor throughout a period of declining health.
The GOP lawmaker said Hastings retained “personal courage” and “good humor” during his “heroic battle against cancer.”
“Eloquence and passion”
Acknowledging that the two legislators frequently butted heads on partisan issues, Cole said he nevertheless “marveled” at his Democratic colleague’s “eloquence and passion and enjoyed his wry wit, civility and personal decency.”
Of course, Hastings’ career was not without controversy. He was appointed as a federal judge by President Jimmy Carter but was impeached and convicted for bribery less than 10 years later.
As The Guardian noted, he was charged — along with attorney William Borders Jr. — for allegedly soliciting bribes from two defendants seeking more lenient sentences.
Although he was ultimately acquitted, Hastings was removed from the bench in 1989. Three years later, he was a seat in the same legislative body that voted to impeach him.
As of this writing, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had not announced a schedule for the special election to fill the seat vacated by the lawmaker’s death. While the district is considered to be reliably Democratic, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will have to contend with an even slimmer majority until the seat is filled.
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Author: Adam Peters
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