Alcee Hastings

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Alcee Hastings


Alcee L. Hastings is a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, representing the 23rd district of Florida.

Congressman Hastings was first elected in 1992 and is currently serving his 10th term in the Congress.

Early life

Born in Altamonte Springs, Hastings attended Florida’s public schools, and graduated from Fisk University in 1958. He earned his law degree from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.[1]

Career

Known to many as “Judge,” Alcee Hastings has distinguished himself as an attorney, civil rights activist, judge, and now Member of Congress. Appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, he became the first African-American Federal Judge in the State of Florida, and served in that position for 10 years. Since his election to Congress as the first African-American from Florida since the post-Civil War period, Congressman Hastings has been an "outspoken advocate for Floridians and our nation as a whole".[2]

Throughout his lifetime, Congressman Hastings has championed the rights of minorities, women, the elderly, children, and immigrants.

Congress

Congressman Hastings is Ranking Democratic Member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Commonly referred to as the Helsinki Commission, this independent U.S. government agency was created in 1976 to monitor and encourage compliance with the landmark human rights and democracy-building treaty signed in Finland the previous year. Members of the Commission are appointed by the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader of the Senate, and the President. In 2007, Congressman Hastings became the first African-American to chair the Commission and continues his work in the areas of human rights, economic development, and parliamentary diplomacy.

Congressman Hastings is a senior Member of the powerful House Rules Committee, which has broad jurisdiction over determining the terms and conditions, known as “special rules” or “rules,” under which legislation is considered. The Committee also considers “original jurisdiction” measures, which commonly represent changes to the standing rules of the House, or measures that contain special rules.

As a Senior Democratic Whip, Mr. Hastings continues to be a leading voice in the Democratic Caucus, underscoring his commitment to work closely on a bi-partisan basis with his colleagues in both the House and Senate. He also serves as Co-Chairman of the Democratic Caucus’ Jobs Task Force and is Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Caucus to End Homelessness, the Congressional Pollinator Protection Caucus, and the Tunisia Caucus. In addition, as the Democratic Chairman of the Florida Delegation, Mr. Hastings works closely with his Florida colleagues on issues of particular importance to the State.[3]

Intelligence responsibilities

With over 10 years of experience in the intelligence community, Mr. Hastings remains committed to ensuring our national security and protecting the American people. In the 111th Congress, Mr. Hastings served as Vice Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was a member of its Subcommittee on Terrorism, HUMINT (Human Intelligence), Analysis, and Counterintelligence, as well as the Subcommittee on Intelligence Community Management. [4]

Haiti/Aristide supporter

In October 1993, Sen. Bob Graham and Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida went to Haiti on a fact-finding mission.

Instead of basking in tropical sun and sand, they witnessed firsthand a people in agony and were treated with thinly disguised contempt by the military dictator who has run the country since overthrowing the government in 1991.

Both were strong advocates of military intervention to restore President Jean-Bertrand Aristide before they went to Port-au-Prince. They returned even more certain that armed force is the only way to help Haiti to achieve a stable society.

Hastings reported on his findings in Dec. at the Jewish Community Center in West Palm Beach. The first-term congressman and former federal judge couldn't contain his anger and passion as he described what he had seen.

"We Americans should be ashamed of what we have allowed to happen in Haiti," Hastings thundered. "Not only is the island itself in our own back yard, but its problems have come home to Florida in our schools, our hospitals and our roads."Hastings said the flight of Haitians has been a "megashock" for South Florida, with 19,000 refugees now living in Palm Beach County, 30,000 in Broward and 49,000 in Dade.

On his first day in Port-au-Prince, Hastings saw two bodies lying in the streets. "I don't know whether they had been shot or had starved to death, but people went about their business around the corpses as though it were an everyday occurrence. Then I visited the church where an Aristide supporter, Antoine Izmery, had recently been dragged into the street and shot like a dog. I had dinner with Justice Minister Guy Malary, who two days later was pulled from his car and murdered on the sidewalk."

Hastings and Graham were granted an interview with army chief Gen. Raoul Cedras, who runs the country along with police boss Michel Francois.

"Cedras was very patronizing and acted as if he was simply going through the motions of humoring these two fools from Washington for the sake of appearances," Hastings said.

Hastings is convinced Cedras and Francois are supported by the Haitian economic elite at home and abroad, as well as by certain elements in the U.S. government. The two seem confident the Clinton administration will not use force in Aristide's behalf.

"Aristide won't ask for intervention, Clinton won't volunteer it, and the bad guys know it," he said. "I'm a Bill Clinton supporter, but his policy is detrimental to both Haiti and South Florida. It's a morally incorrect policy and, I'm sorry to say, a racist policy. The mood in Congress has become neo-isolationist."

Hastings scoffs at the administration's reliance on an economic embargo and jawboning at the United Nations. "The embargo is only killing the people it's intended to help. Do you realize that anthrax is now an epidemic disease in Haiti and doctors are reusing hypodermic needles a dozen times? If Hastings had his way, he'd launch a multinational military force on all shores of Haiti and overland through the Dominican Republic to cut off the escape routes and disarm the thugs.

"If 20,000 troops moved against Haiti, Cedras, Francois and most of their mob would run like hell," he said. "Some of the 7,000-man army would fight, but the whole operation would only take two or three days. Of course, the next question is: when do you get out? My answer would be that back in the early part of this century when we sent the Marines to Haiti, we stayed 19 years. This time, it might take two or three.

"The way I see it, we have only two options. We can either try to stabilize Haiti in Haiti for the Haitians, or else we'll be forced to stabilize Haiti in Palm Beach, Broward and Dade counties."[5]

Haiti arrest

Three members of Congress were arrested May 1994, in front of the White House in a protest against the U.S. policy of forcibly returning Haitian refugees.

Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) and Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) were handcuffed and taken into custody for refusing a police order to move. They were later released.

The three were protesting the U.S. policy of forcibly returning Haitians who flee their homeland by sea, a policy that President Clinton earlier had said he wanted to change but ultimately embraced to stem the flow of refugees to Florida.

"Unfortunately, this Administration has dragged its feet," Waters said. "The people continue to die. They continue to take to the high seas, and we're here to say we're prepared . . . to go to jail in defiance of this Administration's policy."[6]

"Living Wage, Jobs for all Act"

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In 1995, Nancy Pelosi, Bernie Sanders, David Bonior, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Cynthia McKinney, Maurice Hinchey, Major Owens, Nydia Velasquez, John Conyers, Bob Filner, Alcee Hastings, Lane Evans, Edolphus Towns, Jim McDermott, supported Democratic Socialists of America member rep. Ron Dellums' "Living Wage, Jobs for all Act"

TranAfrica Nigeria letter

In an attempt to prod the military government of Nigeria toward a return to civilian rule, TransAfrica Forum's Randall Robinson enlisted the aid of politicians, educators and celebrities in order to focus the eyes of the world on human-rights abuses in Africa's most populous nation and return democracy to what many consider Africa's best hope. In a March 1995 letter to General Sani Abacha, who came to power in a 1993 military coup, Robinson accused Abacha of killing political opponents and shutting down the press. Robinson beseeched Abacha "to expedite the restoration of democracy" to Nigeria's 100 million people or face "incalculable damage" and "eventual economic and political isolation of your regime."

The letter was signed by a host of prominent Blacks: author Maya Angelou, actors Danny Glover, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee; the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Joseph Lowery; musician and composer Quincy Jones; TV personality Bryant Gumbel; acting NAACP head Earl T. Shinhoster; International Human Rights Group director Gay McDougall; Harvard Law Professor and former Judge Leon Higginbotham, Jr.; National Urban League president Hugh Price; and a majority of Congressional Black Caucus members, including Chairman Donald Payne (D-NJ) and Alcee Hastings (D-FL), both House Subcommittee on Africa members.[7]

DSA endorsement

In July 1996, the Democratic Socialists of America Political Action Committee endorsed Alcee Hastings, Florida, 23 in that year's Congressional elections.[8]

Congressional Progressive Caucus

In 1998 Alcee Hasting Democrat was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[9]

As of February 20 2009 Alcee Hastings was listed as a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[10]

Congressional Black Caucus

Alcee Hastings is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 113th Congress:[11]

Clinton/Pinochet letter

On October 21, 1998, many Members of Congress wrote a letter to President Bill Clinton, urging him to release information to a Spanish judge investigating former Chilean President Pinochet for alleged crimes committed during and after the overthrow of the Marxist Allende government.

Dear Mr. President:
The October 17 arrest of General Augusto Pinochet in London is a good example of how the goals you outlined in your anti-terrorism speech at the United Nations can be put into practice. Indeed, when the rule oflaw is applied to combat international lawlessness,humanity's agenda gains...we call upon you to ensure that the U.S. government provides Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon material related to Pinochet's role in international terrorism -- material and testimony that the U.S. government has thus far withheld.

Signatories included Rep. Alcee hastings.[12]

Health Care Access resolution

John Conyers promoted House Concurrent Resolution 99 (H. Con Res. 99) Directing Congress to enact legislation by October 2004 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES April 4, 2001.

Sponsors:John Conyers (for himself), Jan Schakowsky, John Tierney, Barbara Lee, Donna Christensen, David Bonior, Dennis Kucinich, Earl Hilliard, Maurice Hinchey, Jerry Nadler, Donald Payne Chaka Fattah, Peter DeFazio, John Lewis Tammy Baldwin, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Barney Frank, Henry Waxman, Cynthia McKinney, Jim Langevin, George Miller Alcee Hastings, Patsy Mink, John Olver , Bennie Thompson, Pete Stark, Julia Carson, and Mike Capuano submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce;[13]

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), that the Congress shall enact legislation by October 2004 to guarantee that every person in the United States, regardless of income, age, or employment or health status, has access to health care..

"One Florida" protest

The mood and the surroundings finally overwhelmed state Rep. Tony Hill of Jacksonville March 7, 2000.

As a breeze cooled the stifling heat and the smooth sounds of We Shall Overcome began to waft by, Hill walked arm in arm with two of his heroes as they led a civil rights march several thousand strong to the Capitol in Tallahassee.

With the Rev. Jesse Jackson on one side and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume on the other, the usually reticent Hill paused for a moment, looked to the heavens and smiled.

Hill's efforts to fight One Florida reached their intensity when he and state Sen. Kendrick Meek of Miami led the mile-long march and protest rally that attracted thousands from around the state, as well as top civil rights and labor leaders from across the country. Each time one of the three dozen speakers mentioned Hill or Meek, the crowd cheered wildly.

"Let's raise it up for those two," shouted U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, who praised their efforts in his brief but emotional speech.

Hastings said earlier that he respects Hill's approach to leadership, especially how he chooses his battles carefully and doesn't use bluster or banter to make his point.

"He's always been a person who's listened well and a man of his word," said Hastings, who has known Hill for almost 20 years. "He and Kendrick have added to what will ultimately be a much larger benefit than this march: They just might make a difference in the [presidential] vote in November."[14]

Hastings won't chair Intel panel

In Nov. 2006, incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she would not name Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) as the next chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, creating new uncertainty around one of the chamber's most important leadership positions.

In a written statement, Pelosi said she had met with Hastings and "advised him that I would select someone else as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee."

Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat who would become speaker when her party takes control of the House in January, did not explain why she was bypassing Hastings, the panel's second-ranking Democrat. Her office has previously indicated that the committee's top Democrat, Rep. Jane Harman of Venice, will not be reappointed.

The possibility that Hastings would get the post created a torrent of criticism, especially because Pelosi pledged to lead "the most honest, the most open and the most ethical Congress in history."[15]

Leading with Love

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Leading with Love was an event to celebrate 5 years of the Marxist led National Domestic Workers Alliance. It was held in Washington DC, DC, November 14, 2012.

Members of the Host Committee included Alcee Hastings.[16]

Peace Pledge Coalition

In 2007 90 Members of Congress, pledged in an open letter delivered to President Bush: "We will only support appropriating funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of all our troops out of Iraq before you leave office." The letter was initiated by the Peace Pledge Coalition. The Coalition was led by Tim Carpenter, Progressive Democrats of America, Bob Fertik, Democrats.com Medea Benjamin, CodePink, Bill Fletcher, co-founder of Center for Labor Renewal David Swanson, AfterDowningStreet.org, Democrats.com, Progressive Democrats of America, Kevin Zeese, Voters for Peace, Democracy Rising, Brad Friedman, co-founder of Velvet Revolution, Bill Moyer, Backbone Campaign.

Alcee Hastings signed the letter.[17][18]

TransAfrica Forum celebrates Year of People of African Descent

Sept. 20, 2011, TransAfrica Forum convened a series of conversations in Celebration of the United Nation's International Year for People of African Descent

Honorary Hosts were Representative Bobby Rush, and Alcee Hastings.[19]

ARA endorsement, 2012

Alliance for Retired Americans endorsed Alcee Hastings in 2012.[20]

PDA contact

In 2013 Progressive Democrats of America assigned activists to deliver their material to almost every US Congressman and Senator, Richard Schulze, was assigned as the contacts for Rep. Hastings.[21]

Anti-Fracking legislation endorser

On March 14, 2013, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) have introduced the Bringing Reductions to Energy’s Airborne Toxic Health Effect (BREATHE) Act, and the Focused Reduction of Effluence and Stormwater runoff through Hydraulic Environmental Regulation (FRESHER) Act, in order to ensure that the hydraulic fracking industry follows the same rules that other industries do in preserving our natural resources. This legislation is focused on ensuring the safety and the health of the communities where the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process is already taking place.

The BREATHE Act would ensure that we close the oil and gas industry’s loophole to the Clean Air Act’s aggregation provision, in addition to adding hydrogen sulfide—a chemical associated with nausea, vomiting, headaches, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat—to the Clean Air Act’s federal list of hazardous air pollutants.

The BREATHE Act has the following original co-sponsors including: Reps. Rush Holt, Jr., Raul Grijalva, John Sarbanes, James Moran, Michael Quigley, Earl Blumenauer, Gerald Connolly, Zoe Lofgren, Michael Honda, Paul Tonko, Barbara Lee, David Price, Carolyn Maloney, Michael Capuano, Mark Pocan, Jim McDermott, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Alcee Hastings, Keith Ellison, Niki Tsongas, William Keating, Adam Smith, Jim Langevin, Chellie Pingree, Judy Chu, Louise Slaughter, Jerrold Nadler, Grace Meng, Jan Schakowsky, Nita Lowey, Jared Huffman, Gary Peters and Alan Lowenthal.

The following organizations have endorsed this legislation and are actively working to garner support within Congress and throughout the country: Physicians for Social Responsibility, Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthjustice, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, Sierra Club, Earthworks, Breast Cancer Action, Clean Water Action, Environment America, Greenpeace, Nature Abounds, Oil Change International, Citizens for a Healthy Community, Citizens for Huerfano County, Clean Water Action Colorado, Erie Rising, Grassroots Energy Activist Network, Holy Terror Farm, San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, SOS Foundation, Western Colorado Congress of Mesa County, Western Slope Conservation Center and Wilderness Workshop.[22]

Condemning Criticism of Islam legislation

On December 17, 2015, Rep. Don Beyer, Jr. introduced legislation condemning "violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States." The legislation is based on unsourced claims that there is a "rise of hateful and anti-Muslim speech, violence, and cultural ignorance," and a "disproportionate targeting" of "Muslim women who wear hijabs, headscarves, or other religious articles of clothing...because of their religious clothing, articles, or observances." The resolution, H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States [23]

The legislation was cosponsored by Rep. Michael Honda, Rep. Keith Ellison, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Charles Rangel, Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Brad Ashford, Rep. Alan Grayson, Rep. Mark Takai, Rep. Brian Higgins, Rep. William Keating, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Rep. G.K. Butterfield, Rep. Gerald Connolly, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rep. John Delaney, Rep. Kathy Castor, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Rep. Michael Quigley, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Rep. Joseph Kennedy III, Rep. Robin Kelly, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Al Green, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Alcee Hastings, Rep. Sam Farr, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Jim McDermott, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Donna Edwards, Rep. Robert Brady, Rep. Frederica Wilson, Rep. Michael Doyle, Rep. Albio Sires, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. David Loebsack, Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, Rep. John Yarmuth, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. Jim Langevin, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Rep. Mark Takano, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Jose Serrano, Rep. Hank Johnson, Rep. Paul Tonko, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Rep. Lois Capps, Rep. David Price, Rep. Doris Matsui, Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. John Carney, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Rep. John B. Larson, Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Peter Welch, Rep. Lloyd Doggett, Rep. Jim Himes, Rep. Matt Cartwright.

Praising CAIR

“In particular, I thank CAIR for all the tremendous work that it has done in the State of Florida, and thank its members for bringing important issues to my attention. I truly appreciate our continued partnership.” -Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) (August 2014) . [24]

CAIR guests

In 2016, Reps. Zoe Lofgren (Calif.) and Alcee Hastings (Fla.) will both be hosting representatives from CAIR chapters in their respective states, the group announced

Lofgren will be bringing Sameena Usman, a government relations coordinator in the San Francisco office, while Hastings will host Nezar Hamze, the chief operating officer of the nonprofit’s Florida branch.[25]

Staff

The following is past and present staff:[26]

External links

References

  1. Official congressional bio, accessed August 4
  2. Official congressional bio, accessed August 4
  3. Official congressional bio, accessed August 4
  4. Official congressional bio, accessed August 4
  5. Sun-Sentinel, Hastings On Haiti: Send Troops In Now Or Pay Exorbitant Social Costs Later, December 24, 1993
  6. LA Times, Lawmakers Protesting Haitian Repatriation Arrested May 06, 1994
  7. By Shabazz, Malik, Robinson Begins Push for Democracy in Nigeria: TransAfrica Initiative Seeks a Return to Civilian Government Black Issues in Higher Education , Vol. 12, No. 4 , April 2, 1995
  8. Democratic Left, July/August 1996, page 21
  9. DSA website: Members of the Progressive Caucus (archived on the Web Archive website)
  10. Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
  11. Congressional Black Caucus: Members (accessed on Feb. 24, 2011)
  12. October 21, 1998, Members Of Congress Call On Clinton To Release Key Information On Gen. Pinochet To Spanish Judge
  13. Dem. Left, Summer 2002
  14. jacksonville.com, March 8, 2000 One Florida protest establishes Hill as a leaderBy Thomas B. Pfankuch Times-Union staff writer,
  15. LATimes, Hastings won't chair intel panel, Pelosi says, November 29, 2006|Greg Miller | Times Staff Writer
  16. LEL webpage, accessed Jan. 21st, 2012
  17. War Is A Crime .org, Peace Pledge Coalition
  18. [http://www.democrats.com/peace-pledge Democrats.com. Sign the Pledge for Peace petition. Bob Fertik August 19, 2007
  19. ct: Sept 20: TransAfrica Forum celebrates Year of People of African Descent Date Written: Thu, 15 Sep 2011 06:52:41 -0500
  20. ARA endorsements 2012
  21. PDA May 2013 Educate Congress Digest Letter drops (191 in total – 105 in April )
  22. Polis website. Polis, Cartwright Introduce Legislation to Hold Fracking Industry Accountable,
  23. H.Res.569 - Condemning violence, bigotry, and hateful rhetoric towards Muslims in the United States, accessed December 26, 2015
  24. [https://www.cair.com/images/pdf/What-They-Say-About-CAIR.pdf What They Say About CAIR (October 2014)
  25. Iranaware.com, ISLAMISTS KEITH ELLISON, ANDRE CARSON INVITE TERRORISTS #CAIR AKA #HAMAS TO #SOTU JANUARY 12, 2016
  26. http://www.legistorm.com/member/269/Rep_Alcee_Hastings_FL.html. Accessed12/07/2011