It was a ceremony of laughter and tears. Dozens of colleagues of the late Congressman Alcee Hastings honored his life at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
The South Florida Democrat passed away on April 6, 2021 at 84 years old after battling pancreatic cancer.
Vice President Kamala Harris was present in the front row at the memorial service in Statuary Hall. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi then paid tribute to Hastings with a speech.
“Alcee’s electrifying spirit, boundless compassion, and great and often devastating wit… sometimes funny, sometimes sharp… will be greatly missed, as will his leadership and friendship by all blessed to have known him and all of us privileged to call him colleague,” shared Pelosi.
Pelosi co-hosted the ceremony with chair Joyce Beatty and members of the Florida congressional delegation. Some, like Cedric Richmond, had uplifting eulogies to share during the ceremony.
“Like he is, you know, I’m from the south. So, when you get real passionate, you say something — you say, no offense intended. Alcee said it, and then he said offense intended. And I said, oh, he’s a different type of person.”
Hastings was also known for being a pioneering civil rights activist. In Congress, he represented most of the African American and Caribbean American communities in Broward/Palm Beach counties.
“These last 10 months, I spoke to him almost every day, honored by the privilege to be his proxy, good days or bad. He made sure that he personally told me his vote preferences.”
Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz concluded by sharing the passion and impact Hastings had for his position. He was the longest-serving representative from Florida, making him dean of the state’s Congressional delegation.