Alcee Hastings, Longtime South Florida Congressman, Has Died

Longtime South Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings has died.

Hastings died on Tuesday morning, according to multiple reports. He was 84 years old.

Back in 2018, the Democrat was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and underwent medical procedures during public appearances.

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Alcee Hastings, the first Black federal judge in Florida, was also the longest-serving US representative in Florida. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter named him to the federal bench.

In 1981, Hastings, along with Washington lawyer William Borders Jr., was accused of soliciting a $150,000 bribe from two convicted racketeers seeking to shorten their sentences. In his 1983 trial, Hastings was acquitted by a jury. In 1988, the Democratic-controlled United States House of Representatives took up the case, and Hastings was impeached for bribery and perjury by a vote of 413–3. He was then convicted on October 20, 1989, by the United States Senate.

Though his career was marred by few ethical controversies, for over 20 years, Hastings represented the interests of the Caribbean-American and African-American community in South Florida, first for the 23rd district (1992) and then the 20th district (2013), which includes parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties.

He also served as the vice-chairman of the House Rules Committee and was the co-chairman of the Florida delegation.

Back in February, Jamaican-American Broward Commissioner Dale Holness had put forward a proposal to honor Hastings.

Commissioner Holness wanted to rename a portion of Northwest Sixth Court, from Northwest 27th Avenue to Northwest 31st Avenue, between Lauderhill and Fort Lauderdale, as Alcee Hastings Street.

“It is very important that we honor those who have served us, like Congressman Hastings. He has the first Black person elected to serve in the US Congress from the state of Florida and he’s on his 15th term,” Commissioner Holness said.

But the proposal was never passed. County rules prohibit the renaming of streets after people were still alive.

According to the Associated Press, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will call a special election in the coming months to fill the vacancy. Hastings received 80% of the vote in November.

This is a developing story.

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