Hastings says he has carried the water for the cause
U.S. Congressman Alcee L. Hastings told a standing room only crowd of gay Democrats to increase their support of his efforts in the House of Representatives.
“Ya’ll don’t give me enough money,” he said during a speech at the Richardson House in Wilton Manors.
Hastings (D-Miramar) represents Florida’s 20th District in Washington, D.C. and is a longtime ally and advocate of the LGBT movement. His remarks came during the annual holiday party for the Dolphin Democrats, a LGBT caucus chartered by the Florida Democratic Party.
“If I know anything about the LGBT community, it is that you are not afraid to work,” said Hastings before highlighting a laundry list of accomplishments from the past year. “As you well know,” he said. “2013 has been a historic year.”
Hastings said there is still much more work to be done, discussing many issues of importance to LGBT Americans. He spoke of the rising number of young gay men of color living with HIV/AIDS, the on-going implementation of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia, Marriage Equality in Florida and the ENDA (Employment Non-discrimination Act) bill currently before the House.
“The LGBT community has known great pain and incredible loss, from day-to-day discrimination, rejection, and bullying to the devastation of losing loved ones to AIDS,” Hastings said. “But, as a community and with support of your friends and allies, you always emerge stronger than before – fierce and fabulous – and show the haters that you are not only proud to be who you are, but that you have so much to give the world.”
Dolphins Dems President Tim Ross said Hastings has always been there for the LGBT community.
“He’s the best friend we have in Congress,” Ross said. “And it’s important people realize that.”
Several elected officials, party activists and aspiring politicians squeezed into the Richardson House to hear Hastings speak. The 77-year-old lawmaker has a controversial career — impeached as a federal judge only to be later elected as a Congressman.
Hastings is up for re-election in 2014 – and two challengers have filed paperwork for his seat, but Ross dismissed the notion he could be defeated.
“He’s in a safe district,” Ross said. “But we do need to have a fundraiser for him.”
Hastings also used his platform at the holiday party to denounce certain stereotypes he deemed harmful.
“Black churches are not anti-gay,” Hastings said. “Black people have gay children, gay aunts and uncles. People need to stop saying black churches are all anti-gay because they are not.”