Tributes pour in for Alcee Hastings, Florida’s longest serving member of Congress

Hastings passed away at 84.

Florida elected officials and politicians are remembering the life of Congressman Alcee Hastings. The South Florida icon passed away Tuesday at 84 years old.

Here is a compilation of reactions:

President Joe Biden

“I greatly admired him for his singular sense of humor, and for always speaking the truth bluntly and without reservation,” Biden said of Hastings late Tuesday. “A trailblazing lawyer who grew up in the Jim Crow South, Alcee was outspoken because he was passionate about helping our nation live up to its full promise for all Americans. It was a passion he forged as a pioneering civil rights lawyer in the 1960s, fighting tirelessly to desegregate hotels, restaurants, and public spaces in South Florida — a trailblazing spirit to advocate for what is right that guided him throughout his life.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

“Today, our Congressional community has been devastated by the passing of a cherished colleague, the Dean of the Florida Delegation: Congressman Alcee Hastings. Congressman Hastings was a beloved son of Florida, a respected leader in our Democratic Caucus and in the Congress. As an icon of the Congressional Black Caucus, he was an historic force in our nation’s politics. His passing is a great loss for America.

“All who knew Alcee knew him as a champion for the most vulnerable in our nation. As an attorney, civil rights activist and judge, and over his nearly thirty years in Congress, he fought tirelessly to create opportunities to lift up working families, communities of color, children and immigrants. From his position as vice chairman of the powerful Rules Committee, he was an effective force in ensuring that the voices of the American people were heard in the halls of the Congress.

“As he fought for American families at home, Congressman Hastings was a respected force for human rights, economic prosperity and security abroad. This commitment was recognized by his being named chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), the first Black American to hold this position. As Speaker of the House, it was my honor to join Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in recommending this appointment to President George W. Bush.

“Congressman Hastings was a trusted voice in the intelligence community, and as a former vice chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was a leader on countering terrorism and protecting the American people. Congressman Hastings leaves behind a powerful legacy of activism and action on behalf of Floridians and all Americans. His leadership and friendship will be missed by his many friends in Congress. May it be a comfort to his wife, Patricia, and his children — Alcee ‘Jody’ Jr., Chelsea and Leigh — that so many mourn their loss and are praying for them at this sad time.”

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried

“Representative Alcee Hastings was a longtime crusader for equality — he fought to pave the way for so many. I offer my deepest condolences to his loved ones. He will be greatly missed.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio

“With Alcee Hastings’s passing, Florida has lost one of its most preeminent and passionate public servants. As a congressman, Hastings was a tireless advocate for his constituents and for fighting against civil rights injustices, and the decades he spent representing our state in the House were an inspiration to all members of the Florida congressional delegation. Working alongside him on issues like Everglades restoration has been a personal highlight in my own work in the Senate. Jeanette and I mourn his passing. We unite in prayer and offer our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.”

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan

“Saddened to hear of the passing of my colleague, Congressman Alcee Hastings. Alcee and I became good friends over the years as co-chairs of the Florida congressional delegation. He was a man of generosity and tremendous dedication to serving his district and the people of Florida. Condolences to his family and staff. He will be greatly missed.”

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist

“The Sunshine State mourns the passing of her longest serving Congressman and native son, Alcee Hastings. Alcee was a civil rights champion who fought tirelessly for desegregation from his years as a young lawyer, and continued his fight in the People’s House as Florida’s fiercest defender. My heart goes out to Congressman Hastings’ family, friends, staff, and constituents during this painful time.

“As a public servant, I long admired Congressman Hastings’ advocacy for Florida’s Black communities during a time when such advocacy was ignored at best and actively suppressed or punished at worst. Congressman Hastings was never afraid to give voice to the voiceless and speak truth to power, and his legacy will live on as a testament to his work to remove the barriers that hold back underrepresented Floridians and make a more just and equitable Sunshine State.”

U.S. Rep. Val Demings

“U.S. Rep Alcee Hastings served his constituents as a civil rights attorney, judge, and Dean of our Congressional delegation. He changed the face of politics in Florida and brought passion and unwavering dedication to the fight for justice. We are forever grateful for a life well lived.”

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch

“I’m heartbroken at the passing of my dear friend, Alcee Hastings. 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. Alcee devoted his career to advancing civil rights for all Americans and human rights around the world. His leadership on racial justice issues brought together everyone committed to a more just and equitable society.

“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. 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 U.S.-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 spoke up for the quiet voices that would otherwise go unheard. He never backed down from a fight for the people he represented and anyone else who needed defending. 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 so 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.”

U.S. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart

“Congressman Alcee Hastings was more than a colleague; he was a dear friend of mine and my family. Along with Carrie Meek and Corrine Brown, he was the first African-American from Florida to serve in Congress after more than 100 years. As the Dean of the Florida Delegation, Alcee dedicated his life to helping others. His brilliance, perseverance and charisma allowed him to build a lasting and meaningful legacy. Even during his last battle, the one that took his life, he continued to serve with passion, heart and always with a smile of his face. I am truly heartbroken by his passing, and I offer my deepest condolences and prayers to his family and all those who knew and loved him. Florida lost a legend today. Goodbye, my dear friend.”

U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar

“I am saddened by the loss of our colleague, Rep. Alcee Hastings, who was a trailblazing civil rights lawyer, a champion for Human Rights and fundamental freedoms, and a tireless voice for South Florida in Congress. All of my prayers are with his family and loved ones.”

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto

“Today, we lost a fearless champion and leader of our Florida Congressional delegation. Congressman Alcee Hastings served his community with steadfast dedication and compassion for everyone he represented. He was a dear friend and mentor, a pioneer of civil rights and Everglades champion. He spoke truth to power every day in Congress, especially on the powerful U.S. House Rules Committee. Those who crossed paths with him knew his passion was fueled by the simple principles of truth, justice and equality.

“We are grateful for his decades of service to Floridians as a lawyer, judge and Member of Congress. He has finished the race, fought the good fight and has left Florida better than it was. May the memory of his legacy live on in our state and through the halls of Congress. Rest in peace, Mr. Hastings.”

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

“Florida has lost a brilliant, fearless, giant-hearted advocate for this state that he dearly loved, and Congress has lost a wise, patient and compassionate statesman. I have lost a treasured friend and true mentor, someone I constantly leaned on for sage counsel. Alcee Hastings’ life was devoted to righting wrongs and he wasn’t afraid to use a little shame to press for change. From the halls of Congress to Broward County and as far as the Parliamentary Assembly in Europe, Congressman Hastings leaves an immense political legacy. I mourn today with his family and all those communities across South Florida whom he helped and safeguarded. May his memory be a blessing.”

U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of my dear friend, colleague, and fellow Fiskite, Rep. Alcee Hastings. He leaves behind an enormous legacy for future generations to cherish and emulate.”

State Sen. Lauren Book

“Leading a life of public service, Congressman Alcee Hastings has left his beloved state of Florida better than he found it. Congressman Hastings broke barriers as he fought to advance civil rights as the first Black Federal Judge in the state of Florida and first Black Congressperson to represent Florida since the Civil War. I am grateful for the decades of advocacy Congressman Hastings provided for Floridians and offer my sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.”

State Sen. Shevrin Jones

“I am devastated to hear of Congressman Hastings’ passing. Even as he battled health issues, he continued to serve South Florida’s vibrant communities with the same grace and passion that defined his decades of service on behalf of our community. From his inimitable spirit to his empowerment of up-and-coming local leaders, this loss leaves a true void that can never be filled. For my entire life, he championed equity and civil rights for communities of color, women, seniors, and children, first on the bench and later in Congress. Over the last nine years, I had the pleasure to work with the Congressman as a partner on the state level, and I’m confident his impact will be felt for years to come.

“Above all else though, I was proud to call Alcee a friend and mentor. Alcee would often tell people he was my god dad, something that gave my family great delight. He was one of the only elected officials to endorse my first campaign for state house when others wouldn’t return my calls. That was the kind of person he was  — always rooting for and lifting up the underdog.

“I extend my deepest prayers to his family and loved ones, including his wife Patricia, and children Jody, Chelsea, and Leigh, during this difficult time. I urge everyone to give them much-needed space to grieve as now isn’t the time of politics. With multiple crises facing the people of Florida, each of us must recommit to upholding the servant-leader values that guided the Congressman throughout his life. Alcee Hastings was one of a kind, and I will miss him dearly.”

State Sen. Annette Taddeo

“May you Rest In Peace Congressman [Hastings]. My prayers are with his family during this time as well as the community he fought so hard to protect. Today South Florida lost an incredible mentor, leader [and] friend.”

State Sen. Perry Thurston Jr.

“Our community and state has lost a dedicated and steadfast leader this morning. It is with a heavy heart that I express my deepest condolences to the Hastings family for the passing of my friend, mentor, fraternity brother and our leader, Congressman Alcee Hastings. Congressman Hastings has been our political dean for South Florida for the last three decades. The lives he impacted are countless and our community, state and nation are better because of his long commitment to public service. We are indebted to his family and we will miss him and his leadership. Congressman Hastings’ legacy will forever live on in our community. Rest in Peace my Brother and Our Congressman, Alcee Hastings.”

State Rep. Tina Polsky

“I am so sorry to hear this news about my friend [Rep. Hastings]. He was always so kind and supportive to me and I am proud to have represented the Glades together. Rest in peace after this terrible struggle.”

Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management Jared Moskowitz

“There will never be another Alcee Hastings. He was honest, he was direct and he gave a shit about what mattered. If you want to be a public servant, he’s the perfect person to emulate. The Jewish community has lost one of their loudest voices and defenders. RIP.”

Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness

“Today I lost a great friend, a giant of a man and a fearless fighter for justice, equality and opportunity for all, Congressman Alcee Hastings. Congressman Hastings was a voice for those without a voice and his impact on our lives will be long lasting. I will honor and cherish the bond of friendship that we built over decades. Congressman Hastings has been an inspiration and a model as a public servant. His endorsement of my 2010 campaign for County Commission contributed greatly to my election as a County Commissioner. I extend my deepest sympathies to Congressman Hastings’ wife, Patricia, his entire family and staff. Congressman Hastings was a leader who fought to create jobs and provide greater economic opportunities for middle and working-class families. He was a true leader and a blessing in our community.”

Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison

Congressman Alcee Hastings was my friend. I’m heartbroken to hear this news! He was passionate, emotional, a straight and no chaser type of Member. He loved his constituents and he took time to teach young staffers from the bumps in life he experienced. RIP Alcee. You’ll be missed!”

Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny A. Diaz

“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Congressman Alcee Hastings. Our state lost a tremendous leader this morning. Congressman Hastings was a trailblazer and true giant of Florida politics.

“Forty years ago, fresh out of law school, I met Judge Hastings through a mutual friend, the late Jesse McCrary. Through our many conversations, I learned enduring lessons that govern my actions even today. As a mentor, he challenged me to be a pioneer –— to never be afraid, but rather to live a life forging new paths and paving new roads, so that others find it easier to follow.

“As a respected attorney, civil rights activist and judge, he taught me to use the power of the law to improve the cause of human dignity, to right wrongs, to give a voice to those who can not speak, and to give a chance to all who would take it. As a public servant, he led by example, championing the rights of minorities, women, the elderly, children, and immigrants while challenging the government to fulfill its constitutional promise of equality and opportunity for all. Today we pause to express our deepest sympathy to his family, colleagues and friends.”

Staff Reports


2 comments

  • Christy

    April 6, 2021 at 9:34 am

    What a crappy article. Spend some time doing a proper obit.

  • ron book

    April 6, 2021 at 11:30 am

    Congressman Hastings my friend taught me early to “leave this place better than he found it”, that my friend Alcee you did!! You did it with intelligence, with compassion, and with style and flair, as you have always been the definition of a “leader”. For all you have done and all you will continue to do from above, thank you. Thank you for being my friend for 40+ years. R.I.P my friend. We will finish on your behalf.

Comments are closed.


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