Longtime U.S. Representative Alcee Hastings announced on Monday that he’s been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer but has no immediate plans to step down from office.
The 82-year-old South Florida Democrat – currently the longest-serving member of the state’s Congressional delegation — said he’s undergoing treatment at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington D.C. and is hopeful about his chances for survival, according to a news release.
“I was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and in the midst of this traumatizing news, I found myself wondering not only if I would survive this disease, but also if it would impact my ability to perform my duties,” he said.
“Now that I have begun treatment, I feel hopeful about survival and about my ability to continue serving my constituents of Florida’s 20th Congressional district and the nation.”
Hastings went on to say that he is “convinced” that this is a battle worth fighting.
“Should it become clear that this cancer which has invaded my body cannot be defeated, I will tell you so,” Hastings said.
Hastings was first elected in 1992 and has represented his constituents in parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties for more than 26 years, He was selected earlier this month to serve as vice chair on the U.S. House Rules Committee.
Prior to his tenure in Congress, Hastings served as a federal judge in the Southern District of Florida after being nominated by President Jimmy Carter.
His time on the bench ended in rancor, after he was charged with accepting a bribe for $150,000 in exchange for a lenient sentence in a case.
As recounted from the U.S. Senate’s web page, he was later acquitted by a jury in the case, but in 1988 he was impeached by the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives, and then convicted by the U.S. Senate in 1989, becoming just the sixth federal judge in history to be removed from office by the Senate. However, the Senate did not vote to disqualify him from holding future office, and less than four years later, he was elected to the House of Representatives.
Hastings was later given a full pardon by President Bill Clinton in 2000.