Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, chairwoman of the Congressional of the Black Caucus, delivers remarks at ceremony honoring the late Rep. Alcee Hastings in Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo
April 21 (UPI) -- Members of Congress remembered the late Rep. Alcee Hastings on Wednesday during a memorial service on Capitol Hill, praising him as a "gifted legislator."
Democratic leadership, the Congressional Black Caucus, members of the Florida congressional delegation and Vice President Kamala Harris attended the event in Statuary Hall.
"Alcee was a gifted legislator, a talented jurist and an unwavering champion of the people of Florida," Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, chairwoman of the CBC, said of her colleague. "Even those who did not share his political views respected his passion and his candor. You never had to guess what Alcee was thinking. He made it clear."
Hastings died April 6 three years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was the longest-serving representative from Florida at the time of his death.
Before his election to Congress in 1992, Hastings was a federal judge appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.
"We lost a fearless, giant advocate for the place he so dearly loved," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., said. "Our folks back home will miss his on-his-mind, on-his-tongue firebrand voice in the halls of power."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said his colleagues "loved and admired him."
"He never gave up or backed down because he believed that America must live up to its promise of liberty and justice for all," she added.
The ceremony included a rendition of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" sung by a U.S. Air Force sergeant.